Why are Basics so important?

In all forms of martial art, and for that matter - most arenas of sport that require skill, a participant's ability will only ever be measured by the quality of his or her basics. This is why we place such great importance on practice and the quest for perfection in Kihon (Basics).

This page is dedicated to assisting with information pertinent to Kihon.

For any new Karateka, this page should be your first "port of call" when studying the information within this web site.

This page won't teach you the basics - that's for your Sensei to do. It will merely give you an idea what your Sensei is asking you to do in the Dojo.

Firstly, we've included a gallery of most of the basic Shotokan techniques. 

The pictures we've used come from Master Hirokazu Kanazawa's book, as pictured here. This is one of the most highly recommended books for Shotokan Beginners. Master Kanazawa is a 10th Dan Black Belt and renowned as a superior teacher of Karate the world over.

Senseis Evan Singer and Elliot Kleiner were fortunate enough to spend some quality time training and discussing Karate philosophy with Master Kanazawa in 2003. It was during this time that Master Kanazawa granted us his generous permission to use sections of his book on this page of the web site.

We graciously and most humbly thank him for the honour.

Stances - (Dachi)

Heisoku-Dachi

Hachiji-Dachi

Zen-Kutsu-Dachi

Ko-Kutsu-Dachi

Hangetsu-Dachi

Kiba-Dachi

Neko-Ashi-Dachi

Sanchin-Dachi

Sochin-Dachi

Defences - (Uke)

Geidan-Barai

Agi-Uke

Soto-Ude-Uke

Uci-Ude-Uke

Shuto-Uke

Morote-Uke

Juji-Uke Chudan / Geidan

Juji-Uke Jodan

Kakiwake-Uke

Hand / Arm Strikes - (Zuki / Uchi)

Choko-Zuki

Oi-Zuki

Gyaku-Zuki

Agi-Zuki

Morote-Zuki

Kage-Zuki

Mawashi-Zuki

Tetsui-Uchi

Uraken-Uchi

Tate-Zuki

Ura-Zuki

Morote-Hisame-Zuki

Tate-Shuto

Shuto-Uchi

Haito-Uchi

Haishu-Uchi

Yoko Chudan Empi-Uchi

Jodan Empi-Uchi

Ushiro Jodan Empi-Uchi

Mawashi Chudan Empi-Uchi

Ushiro Chudan Empi-Uchi

Kicks (Geri)

Mae-Geri

Yoko Geri Keyage

Yoko Geri Kekome

Mawashi Geri

Ushiro Geri

Ushiro Mawashi Geri

Ura Mikazuki Geri

Japanese / English Translations

When training, we use the Japanese terminology for all basic instructions. The reason for this is that we want you to be able to continue your training where ever in the world you go, without being held back by a language barrier. It also means that when and if you have the distinct opportunity one day to train in Japan, you will not only be able to train well but possibly understand enough Japanese to get by outside the Dojo. 

 

This is a list of verbal terms that are commonly used in a Karate Dojo, with their translations.

Japanese (phonetic)

English

Rei (ray)

Bow

Shomen-Ni-Rei (shommon-nee-ray)

Bow to the Front

Sen-Sani-Rei (senn-sannee-ray)

Bow to Teacher

Sem-Pani-Rei (semm-pannee-ray)

Bow to the Senior Student

Oto-Gaini-Rei (otto-guynee-ray)

Bow together

Yoi (yoy)

Ready

Hajime (ha-jimmay)

Begin

Yame (ya-may)

Stop

Mawate (ma-wattay)

Turn to the rear

Naote (nay-otay)

Relax

Geidan Barai Kamai (geedan-barray-kammay)

Step into ready position

Sensei (sen-say)

Teacher

Sempai (sem-puy)

Senior Student

Makiwara (ma-kee-warra)

Punching Board

Kime (ki-may)

Focus

Henmi (hen-mee)

45 Degrees

Chi (chee)

Inner Strength

Oss (ooss)

I Acknowledge

Kihon (kee-honn)

Basics

Kamai (ka-muy)

Fighting Guard Up

Dojo (do-jo)

Place of Learning / Training

Ippon (ip-pon)

One Full Point

Wazari (wa-zaree)

One Half Point

Geri-Waza (geree-wa-za)

Kicking Technique

Kiai (kee-uy)

Shout of Spirit

Koshi (koshee)

Ball of the foot

Ma-A (ma-aa)

Distancing

Nage-Waza (nageh-wa-za)

Throwing Technique

Seiken (say-ken)

Fore-Fist

Waza (wa-za)

Technique

Zanshin (zan-shinn)

Perfect Focused Finish

Zuki-Waza (zoo-kee-wa-za)

Punching Technique

Suki (soo-kee)

Opening

Uchi-Waza (oo-chee-wa-za)

Striking Technique

Gyaku (g-ya-koo)

Reverse

Ushiro (yoo-shee-ro)

Behind

Jodan (jo-dan)

Head Height

Chudan (choo-dan)

Body Height

Geidan (gee-dan)

Groin Height

Counting

Stances

Japanese

English

Ichi (i-chee)

One

Ni (nee)

Two

San (saan)

Three

Shi (shee)

Four

Go (goh)

Five

Roku (roo-koo)

Six

Shichi (shi-chee)

Seven

Hachi (ha-chee)

Eight

Ku (koo)

Nine

Ju (joo)

Ten

Japanese

English

Hachiji-Dachi

Open Leg Natural Stance

Zenkutsu-Dachi

Forward Stance

Heisoku-Dachi

Informal Attention Stance

Sanchin-Dachi

Hourglass Stance

Sochin-Dachi

Diagonal Straddle Stance

Kokutsu-Dachi

Back Stance

Kiba-Dachi

Straddle Stance

Neko-Ashi-Dachi

Cat Stance

Punches

Elbow Strikes

Japanese

English

Choku-Zuki

Straight Punch

Gyaku-Zuki

Reverse Punch

Oi-Zuki

Lunge Punch

Ura-Zuki

Close Punch

Yama-Zuki

U Punch

Kesame-Zuki

Jab Punch

.

Japanese

English

Empi-Uchi

Elbow Strike

Uraken-Uchi

Back Fist Strike

Tettsui-Uchi

Hammer Fist Strike

Haito-Uchi

Ridge Hand Strike

Teisho-Uchi

Palm  Heel Strike

Nukite

Finger Thrust

Shuto-Uchi

Knife Hand Strike

Hand / Arm Defences

Kicks

Japanese

English

Age-Uke

Rising Defence

Soto-Uke

Outside Forearm Defence

Gidan-Barai

Downward Sweep Defence

Juji-Uke

X Defence

Nagashi-Uke

Sweeping Defence

Uchi-Uke

Inside Forearm Defence

Shuto-Uke

Knife Hand Defence

Marote-Uke

Augmented Forearm Defence

Japanese

English

Ashi-Barai

Ankle Sweep

Japanese

English

Ren-Geri

Front double Kick

(front foot 1st)

Mae-Geri

Front Kick

Ushiro-Geri

Back Kick

Yoko-Geri-Keage

Side Snap Kick

Yoko-Geri-Kekomi

Side Thrust Kick

Mawashi-Geri

Roundhouse Kick

Fumakomi

Stamp Kick

Mikazuki-Geri

Crescent Kick

Ushiro-Mawashi-Geri

Backward Roundhouse Kick

Nidan-Geri

Front double Kick

(back foot 1st)

Sparring Commands / Terminology

Japanese

Go-Hon Kumite

San-Bon Kumite

Kihon-Ippon-Kumite

Jiyu-Ippon-Kumite

Jiyu-Kumite

Ippon-Shobu-Hajime

Sambon-Shobu-Hajime

Jikan

Aiuchi

Jogai

Atoshi-Baraku

Fukushin-Shugo

Motono-Ichi

Tsu-Zu-Kete-Hajime

Tori-Masen

English

5 Step Sparring

3 Step Sparring

Basic 1 Step Sparring

Semi-Free 1 Step Sparring

Free Sparring

One Point Bout Begin

Three Point Bout Begin

Take Time

Exchange of Blows

Crossing external Boundary

Bout has 30 Seconds Remaining

Calling Judges Together

Return to Starting Line

Continue with Bout

No Point Awarded

Japanese Language

 

Learning even a little Japanese is a worthwhile endeavour. At the very least you should make an effort to learn Hiragana and Katakana, the two most commonly used character sets. Katakana is especially useful because it is used exclusively for writing foreign words (usually English). Once you've memorized the Katakana characters reading is just a matter of sounding out the syllables and trying to figure out what English word is being interpreted. 

 

The following won't make you fluent in Japanese, but you'll be able to say "please" & "thank you" with absolute confidence.

 

Even if your Japanese is less than perfect, you can make up for many deficiencies by using the English versions of the many phrases -- frequently and with sincerity. The Japanese place a great store on politeness, in any language, and will respond to your efforts in kind.

 

Finally, if some words sound familiar, it's because they are. Many English words have been adopted into the Japanese language. 

General Pronunciation Guide

A

as in father

I

as in machine

E

as in yes

O

as in go

U

as in put

 

Long vowels are generally indicated by a rule over the vowel or double vowels (ii).

 

Consonants are generally pronounced as in English; the differences are subtle, and not easily explained. 

 

Finally, all letters in a word are pronounced. At first, it feel awkward (and you'll notice that native speakers tend to omit final sounds), but soon the words will flow.

 

Basic Words and Phrases

Japanese Word / Phrase

English Translation

GREETINGS

o-hayou gozai masu

Good morning

konnichiwa

Good afternoon

konban wa

Good evening

THANK YOU

domo arigatou

Thank You

domo arigatou gozai mashita

Thank you very much

domo

Thanks (informal)

domo go-shinsetsu ni

Thank you for your kindness

dou itashi mashite

Reply: It's a pleasure

APOLOGIES

sumi masen OR go-men nasai

Sorry

hontouni sumi masen

I'm very sorry

BASIC PHRASES

Anata

You

Dozo

Please

Eigo

English language

Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?

Do you understand English?

Gomen Nasai

Pardon me

Hai

Yes

Hai, wakarimasu

Yes, I understand.

Lie

No

Lie, wakarimasen

No, I don't understand.

Konban Wa

Good Evening

Konnichi Wa

Good Afternoon

Kudasai

Please

Moshi Moshi

Hello (greeting on telephone or upon entering a room)

Nanji desu ka?

What time is it?

Nihongo

Japanese Language

Ohayo gozaimasu

Good Morning (until about 10 a.m.)

Sayonara

Goodbye

Sumimasen

Excuse me

Toire wa doko ni arimasu ka?

Where is the toilet?

Watakushi

I (most commonly used version)

Months / Days of the Week

Japanese Word/Phrase

Ichi-gatsu

Ni-gatsu

San-gatsu

Shi-gatsu

Go-gatsu

Roku-gatsu

Shichi-gatsu

Hachi-gatsu

Ku-gatsu

Juu-gatsu

Juuichi-gatsu

Juuni-gatsu

Nichiyobi

Getsuyoobi

Kayoobi

Suiyoobi

Mokuyoobi

Kin-yoobi

Doyoobi

Heijitsu

Shumatsu

Kita

Minami

Higashi

Nishi

English Translation

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Weekday

Weekend

North

South

East

West