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Japanese Terms

Japanese counting to ten*

  1. Ichi The “i” sounds like “ea” in “each” and the “chee” is like “cheek.” When spoken quickly, the “ee” part is not or barely pronounced and the whole word sounds like “each.”
  2. Ni It sounds like “knee.”
  3. San  It sounds like “sahn.”
  4. Shi  It sounds just like “she.”
  5. Go  When you say “go” in Japanese, you need to leave your mouth rounded when you’re done to prevent slipping towards a “w” sound.
  6. Roku The R is pronounced like a cross between R and L, so when you say it it should sound similar to “loh-koo.” But an English R is pronounced at the center of the tongue, and an English L is pronounced about a quarter of an inch from the tip of the tongue, but the Japanese r is pronounced using only the very tip of the tongue.
  7. Shichi  Sounds like “she-chee”, with a hint of tch on the “chee.”
  8. Hachi It sounds like “ha!” then “tchee.”
  9. Kyu It sounds like the letter “q.” Similarly to “go,” English speakers tend to pronounce it as “kyoow” – make sure to keep your mouth rounded on the “oo” sound and not to slip towards “w”.
  10. Ju It’s pronounced “joo”, with a teensy-tiny bit of zh on the j.

*Source: wikihow.com – how to count to ten in Japanese 


Japanese Term Common TermLiteral Translation
musubi-dachiattentionconnected stance
heisoku-dachifeet togetherclosed feet/leg stance
hachinoji-dachiyoifigure 8 stance
shizen-taiyoinatural body
zenkutsu-dachifront stancefront bend stance
kohkutsu-dachiback stanceback bend stance
kiba-dachihorse stancehorse riding stance
neko-ashi-dachicat stancecat foot/leg stance
sochin-dachirooted stancesochin (the kata) stance
fudoh-dachirooted stanceunmoving stance
sanchin-dachihourglass stancesanchin (the kata) stance
hangetsu-dachihalf-moon stancehalf-moon stance


Japanese Term Common TermLiteral Translation
oi-zukistepping punchchasing/pursuit punch
choku-zukipunchstraight punch
gyaku-zukireverse punchopposite punch
nukite-uchispear handpenetration hand strike
uraken-uchiback fistback of fist strike
enpi-uchielbow strikeelbow strike
hiji-ateelbow strikeelbow strike


Japanese Term Common TermLiteral Translation
mae-gerifront kickfront kick
mawashi-geriroundhouse kicksend-around kick
yoko kekomiside thrust kickside kick with thrust
yoko keageside snap kickside kick rising
ushiro-geriback kickrear kick
mikazuki-gericrescent kickcrescent moon kick
ashi baraifoot sweepfoot/leg sweep


Japanese Term Common TermLiteral Translation
age-ukerising blockrising reception
soto-ukeoutside (outer) blockoutside forearm reception
uchi-ukeinside (inner) blockinside forearm reception
gedan-baraidownward blocklow level sweep
shuto-ukeknife hand blockhand sword reception
nagashi-ukepassing blockpiping reception
morote-ukedouble arm blockboth hands reception


Japanese Term Common TermLiteral Translation
(kihon) gohon kumitefive-step sparring(basic) five-attack sparring
(kihon) sanbon kumitethree-step sparring(basic) three-attack sparring
(kihon) ippon kumiteone-step sparring(basic) one-attack sparring
jiyuu ippon kumitesemi-free sparringfree one-attack sparring
jiyuu kumitefree sparringfree sparring
shiai kumitetournament sparringcompetition sparring


Japanese TermCommon TermLiteral Translation
shodanupper levelupper level
chuudanmiddle levelmiddle level
gedanlow levellow level
kihon basicsfundamentalsfundamentals
reibowgiving of thanks
yoh-iassume the yoi posturepreparation
yamestopthe finish
naotteat easerecover
mawatteturn aroundgo around
hajimebeginthe beginning
dojokarate schoolway place
seiretsuline uplining up
senseikarate teacherteacher