Balance Martial Arts Terms

Balance Martial Arts Terminology & Basic Facts

The study of karate is about developing a strong body, and strong mind.  We work diligently everyday to teach students the importance of respect, fitness, discipline, strength.  Our goal is to build physical technique, develop positive character traits, and enrich our students through learning about the culture from which our style originates.  We often use Japanese words and customs throughout our classes. By the time students reach black belt, they should have a basic understanding of Japanese words, phrases, and the mindset of a warrior in any challenge they may face in life. 

Here is a glossary of the many terms we use in class for easy reference:

Our style is called Shorin-Ryu, which means Pine Forest Style. Find out more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sh%C5%8Drin-ry%C5%AB

Ankle – Ashi-Kubi

Attention – Kiotsuke (sounds like Key-oh-zoo-kay)

Attention Stance – Musubi dachi (Moo-su-bee-dach) – toes pointed 45 degrees, heels touching, making the letter V.

Attention Stance – Heisoku dachi (He- see-ko-dachi) – Heels, and toes touching.

Back – Ushiro (sounds like Oo-she-row)

Basic Techniques – Kihon (sounds like Key-hon)

Begin/Start – Hajime (sounds like Ha-gee-may)

Belt – Obi (sounds like Oh-bee)

Block – Uke (sounds like Oo-kay)

Body Movement – Tai Sabaki

Bow – Rei (sounds like Ray)

Breathing Exercises – Kokyu Ho

Cat – Neko (i.e. Neko Ashi Dachi = Cat Foot Stance or Cat Stance)

Cat Stance – Neko Ashi Dachi

Elbow – Empi or Enpi (sounds like En-pee or Em-pee)

Elbow Strike – Empi-Uchi (sounds like Em-pee Oo-chee)

Focus – Kime

Foot – Ashi (sounds like Ah-she)

Form or Pattern – Kata (sounds like Ka-ta)

Form (Kata) Technique Application – Bunkai (sounds like Boon-kay)

Forward Stance – Zenkutsu dachi (sounds like Zen-koots- oo- dach)

Front – Mae

Front Kick – Mae Geri

Goodbye – Sayonara (sounds like Sa-yoh-na-rah)

Hand – Te (sound like Tay)

Head – Atama (sounds like Ah-ta-ma)

Heel – Kakato (sounds like Ka-ka-toe

Horse Stance – Kiba dachi (Key -bah – dach) Toes facing forward.

I (Me) – Watashi (sounds like Wa-ta-she)

Kata Starting Point – Embusen or Enbusen

Karate – Empty Hand

Kick – Geri or Keri (sounds like Geh-ree or Keh-ree)

Knee – Hiza (sounds like He-zah)

Kneel – Seiza

Kneeling Techniques – Seiza Waza

Knife Hand – Shuto (sounds like Shoe-toe)

Left – Hidari (sounds like Hee-da-ree)

Low (Level) – Gedan (sounds like Geh-dan)

Mat (Practice/Training Mat) – Tatami (sounds like Ta-ta-me)

Meditate – Mokuso

Middle (Level) – Chudan (sounds like Choo-dan)

One More Time – Mo Ichi Do (sounds like Moe E-chee Doe)

Natural Stance – Shizentai (She-zen-tie)

No – Iie (sounds like E-ay)

No Mind (State of “No Mind”) – Mushin

Please – Dozo (sounds like Doe-zoh)

Practitioner of Karate – Karateka

Pulling Hand (brining hand back to ready position) – Hikite

Punch – Tsuki or Zuki (sounds like Zoo-key)

Push On Through Difficulties – Oss or Osu. Nevertheless, this term used in many different ways and is often used by non-Japanese Karate students for “Thank you”, “I understand”, etc. Oss (Osu) is a kind of respectful catch-all phrase.

Right – Migi (sounds like Mee-gee)

Round Kick – Mawashi Geri

School (Martial Arts) – Dojo (sounds like Doe-Joe)

Senior Student – Senpai or Sempai (sounds like Sen-pie)

Shout or Yell – Kiai (sounds like Key-eye)

Side – Yoko (sounds like Yoh-koh)

Side kick – Yoko Geri

Snap – Keage

Sparring – Kumite (sounds like Coo-meh-tay)

Stance – Dachi (sounds like Dah-chee)

Stop – Yame (sounds like Yah-may)

Strike – Uchi (sounds like Oo-chee)

Sweep – Barai (sounds like Baa-rye)

Teacher/Instructor – Sensei (sounds like Sen-say)

Technique – Waza (sounds like Waa-Zaa)

Thank You (Formal) – Domo Arigato (sounds like Doe-moe Ah-ree-gah-toe)

Thank You (Informal) – Domo (sounds like Doe-moe)

Throat – Nodo (sounds like No-doe)

Throw – Nage

Thrust – Kekomi

Turn Around – Mawatte (sounds like Ma-wa-tay)

Unarmed Combat – Taijutsu

Uniform – Gi (sounds like Ghee)

Upper (Level) – Jodan (sounds like Joe-dan)

Void or State of No Mind – Mushin

Yes – Hai (sounds like Hi)

You – Anata (sounds like Ah-na-ta

Weapons Training – Kobudo (Ko- boo- doe)


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