Vocabulary

Figuring out terminology


This page will not be exhaustive. The “Romanized” spelling might not be 100% correct for the Japanese terms. This is (mostly) how they were handed down to me. I’ll correct over time.

Certain frequently-used words & phrases should be figured out fairly quickly.

Examples:

  • Ceretsu – line up
  • Kyotsuke – attention
  • Rei – bow
  • Yoi – ready
  • Kamae – guard
  • Oneigaeshimasu – please
  • Arigato gozaimasu / gozaimashita – thank you

For skills, figure out the categories first!

Examples:

  • Dachi / Tachi – stances
  • Uke – blocks
  • Tsuki – punches
  • Uchi – strikes (not punches)
  • Keri – Kicks

Once you’ve figured out the categories, start thinking specific motions. I’ll give some examples.

Examples:

  • Zenkutsu-dachi – front stance
  • Shiko-dachi – sumo stance
  • Yoko uke – outside, middle block
  • Age uke – high block
  • Oi-tsuki – lunging punch
  • Gyaku-tsuki – reverse punch
  • Empi uchi – elbow strike
  • Mae keri – front kick
  • Mawashi keri – round kick

Then start looking for exceptions & similaries.

Examples:

  • Gedan barae – Downward block, though technically it’s a “low sweep”
  • Yoko uchi – Inside middle block … or is it a strike? :oD
  • Ashi barae – foot sweep, though it’s often classified as a kick.

Now start looking for … more specifics.

Examples:

  • Yoki kekkomi keri – Side thrusting kick (as opposed to yoko keri – side kick)
  • Gyaku nino ude uke – reverse top of the arm block (meaning it’s performed off of the “rear leg” side of the body.
  • Han zenkutsu dachi – half front stance

Once you’ve accomplished this, you can start to follow the intent of the instructions even if you don’t completely understand the terms being used.