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Japanese Calligraphy


Terminology is important for the trainee and even for the experienced practitioner. Whilst we train in a Japanese art we must try and understand the terms and basic words. Some techniques or expressions have more than one name, but Japanese, as a language can have different ways of expressing the same term.

Basic Counting
Ichi - One
Ni - Two
San - Three
Shi or Yon - Four
Go -  Five
Roku - Six
Shichi or Nana - Seven
Hachi - Eight
Ku or Kyu - Nine
Ju - Ten

General Terms
Age - Rising
Ashi - Foot or leg
Aka - Red (Used in competitions)
Bunkai - Analysis or application of kata
Chudan - Middle level
Dachi - Stance
Dan - Teacher or Master Grade
Deshi - Student grade
Dohai - Equal
Dojo - Training place
Enbusen/Embusen - Line of movement in kata
Gedan - Lower level
Gi - Karate uniform
Gyaku - Reverse
Hai - Yes
Hajime - Start or begin
Hara - Centre of the abdomen
Hidari - Left
Hikite - Pulling hand
Iie - No
Jodan - Upper level
Kamae - Action
Kamaete - Go into position
Karate - Empty hand
Karate-Do - Way of the empty hand
Karateka - Karate student or one that practises Karate-Do
Kata - Form or pre-arranged defence and offence movements
Kiai - Shout or yell combining physical and spiritual energy
Kihon - Basics
Kime - Finish or focus of power and technique
Kiritsu - Stand up and rise
Kohai - Junior
Kumite - Sparring or engagement matches
Kyu - Student grade
Maai - Distance
Mae - Forward
Makiwara - Striking board used for conditioning and focussing
Mawashi - Round
Mawatte - Turn
Migi - Right
Mokuso - Close the eyes (Meditation)
Mokuso Yame - Open the eyes and end meditation
Naore - Return to normal
Nintai - Patience, Perseverance and Endurance
Obi - Belt
Oss - Greeting or Acknowledgement
Otagai Ni Rei - Bow to each other
Otoshi - Dropping
Rei - Bow or salutation
Seiretsu - Line up
Seiza - Kneel or sit straight on your heels
Sempai - Senior
Sempai Ni Rei - Bow to Senior
Sensei - Teacher or Instructor
Sensei Ni Rei - Bow to Teacher
Shihan - Teacher or Master of a higher rank
Shiro - White (Used in competitions)
Shomen Ni Rei - Bow to the front of the Dojo
Shorei (kata) - Slow, strong movement, emphasizing strength
Shorin (kata) - Quick movement, emphasizing speed
Sokumen - Side
Soto - Outside
Sun Dome - To control or stop a technique 3 cm from target
Taisabaki - Side stepping
Tate - Vertical
Te - Hand
Tobi - Jump
Uchi - Inside
Ushiro - Backward
Waza - Technique
Yame - Stop immediately
Yoi - Ready
Yoko - Sideways
Zanshin - Awareness or remaining spirit

Terminology: About
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