• roderickmartin

Basic Terminology for beginners

Going in to any dojo can be daunting. Worse is the, almost seemingly easy, use of all of these Japanese words. Where did they come from? What do they mean? How will I ever remember them?


So here is a simple list of terms to help. Spelling changes and different groups use word changes. Japanese can be a descriptive language, so many are worded that way.

Look for patterns and you will be fine!

Atemi Waza (striking)

  • Jodan tsuki Upper level punch

  • Chudan tsuki Middle level punch

  • Sun tsuki Short punch

  • Ura tsuki Close punch

  • Awase tsuki U punch

  • Age tsuki Rising punch

  • Haito uchi Ridge hand strike

  • Hiji ate Elbow strike

  • Mawashi hiji ate Round elbow strike

  • Ryo shotei ate Palm heel strike

  • Shuto uchi Knife hand strike

  • Ura shuto uchi Inside knife hand strike

  • Ura uchi Back fist strike

  • Yoko ura uchi Side back fist strike

  • Kentsui uchi Hammer fist strike

  • Furi uchi Swing strike

Keri Waza (kicking)

  • Kansetsu geri Joint kick

  • Kin geri Groin kick

  • Mae geri Front kick

  • Mawashi geri Round kick

  • Ushiro geri Back kick

  • Yoko geri Side kick

  • Hiza ate Knee strike

Uke Waza (blocking)

  • Yoko uke Side block

  • Uchi uke/Gedan barai Double arm block

  • Gedan barai Lower level sweep

  • Gedan uke Lower level block

  • Harai uke Low block

  • Jodan age uke Upper level rising block

  • Kake uke Hook block

  • Mawashi uke Round block

  • Shuto uke Knife hand block

  • Uchi uke Inside block

  • Kosa uke Cross block

Tachi Waza (stances)

  • Bensoku dachi Turning cross leg stance

  • Hachiji dachi Natural stance

  • Han zenkutsu dachi Half front stance

  • Heiko dachi Parallel stance

  • Heiko sanchin dachi Parallel stance

  • Heisoku dachi Parallel closed stance

  • Kiba dachi Horse stance

  • Kokutsu dachi Back stance

  • Musubi dachi Open toes stance

  • Neko ashi dachi Cat stance

  • Sanchin dachi Hourglass stance

  • Shiko dachi Square stance

  • Soto hachiji dachi Figure eight stance

  • Zenkutsu dachi Front stance

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The dojo kun outline the behaviours and attitudes expected in the dojo and have been passed down, in various forms, from past teachers to the present. This example dojo kun is generally accredited to