JAPANESE KARATE TERMS - What you'll hear

& Dojo (Class) Guide

 These Japanese Karate terms are used throughout class and will help to familiarise yourself

Rei - Bow

Kio tsuke Attention
Rei Bow
Yoi Be ready. Used to call students to shizen-tai before an exercise
Hajime Begin, Start
Yame Stop, Come to a halt
Yasume At ease, relax
Mawatte Turn
Seiretsu Line Up
Shugo Assemble Assemble
Budokan Tokyo

Budokan - Ayase, Tokyo

Shizentai Natural stance
Zenkutsu dachi Front stance
Kiba dachi Straddle stance
Kokutsu dachi Back stance
Gedan Lower Area of the body
Chudan Chest/solar plexus area
Jodan  Face area
Hidari Left side of target area
Migi Right side of target area
BLOCKS (uke)  
Gedan barai Downwards block, lower sweeping block
Jodan age uke Upper (face) block
Chudan soto uke Outside middle block
Chudan uchi uke Inside middle block
Shuto uke Hand block
PUNCHES (tsuki/strikes/uchi)  
Oi zuki Lunge punch
Gyaku zuki Reverse punch
Maete zuki Jab
Empi uchi Elbow strike
Uraken uchi Back fist strike
Shuto uchi Hand strike
KICKS (keri)  
Mae geri Front kick
Mae geri keage Front snap kick
Mae geri kekomi Front thrust kick
Yoko geri Side kick
Yoko geri keage Side snap kick
Yoko geri kekomi Side thrust kick
Mawashi geri Roundhouse kick
Ushiro geri Back kick
Mikazuki geri Crescent kick
NUMBERS (Counting)  
1     Ichi 6     Roku
2     Ni 7     Shichi
3    San    8     Hachi
4    Shi 9     Ku
5    Go 10   Ju

Dojo Etiquette

Karate training is based largely on the development of discipline and respect. Observing etiquette is a fundamental expression of the respect that is due to the dojo, the instructors, and your fellow students. With this in mind, the following should be observed:

  1. When entering or leaving the dojo, stop at the door, face the dojo and bow.
  2. If you arrive late do not enter the dojo during meditation; wait until warm-up begins.
  3. When lining up, do so quickly and quietly.
  4. Always acknowledge instruction - say "osu" or "thank you". Juniors should not hesitate to ask seniors for assistance.
  5. Do not talk unnecessarily during class.
  6. While adjusting your karate-gi do it facing away from the front of the room and away from Sensei.
  7. Before leaving the dojo during class for whatever reason ask permission of an instructor.
  8. Come to class in a clean uniform (unless, as a beginner, you have not yet obtained a karate-gi).
  9. As a courtesy, speak to Sensei if you anticipate an extended leave of absence. Regular attendance is encouraged but we are realistic about conflicts that may arise from school and work.
HItoshi Kasuya

 Why do students bow at the beginning and end of class?

 WSKF Sedai observes some of the traditions of the martial arts that have their roots in the Japanese culture. As part of the preparations for training we clean the floor, then kneel and meditate to clear and focus our minds. Some people may use this time to control their breathing or to think about the techniques that they will be trying to improve. We then bow in the direction of shomen (the front of the dojo). This bow is a symbolic gesture of our promise to train hard and observe the Dojo Kun, and is a personal acknowledgement that training has begun. Bowing to Sensei and the black belts is a sign of respect. There is a similar procedure at the end of class, except that the bow in the direction of shomen indicates that training has ended and symbolizes that students will not forget the Dojo Kun. These procedures may be different than what is practiced in other martial arts or other Karate dojos. At WSKF SEDAI we follow the tradition that “Karate begins and ends with a bow”.

Basic karate workout consists of four main parts:

A basic familiarity with class procedure is helpful to new members, so the following description is presented:

  1. Warm-up
  2. Kihon (basic blocks, strikes, and kicks)
  3. Kihon-ippon kumite (basic techniques practiced with a partner)
  4. Kata (traditional forms)

Senior instructors bring considerable diversity of experience and speciality to the classes they teach and on occasion the emphasis of a given class can take its own specific skill set. 

General Information for novices/beginners

While waiting for class to begin, students can warm-up and stretch. Class officially begins when Sensei calls to line up. All students line up in order of seniority, in rows from right to left according to rank.  Each student should ensure that they are directly behind someone when in line; and if not form another row starting from the right side.


Sensei says "seiza" where students kneel; then "mokuso" which begins a brief period of meditation (eyes closed) affording a student the opportunity to clear and focus their minds in preparation for training.  Sensei then announces an end to meditation with "mokuso yame" and says "shomen ni rei", where students bow to the front. 


Next, Sensei turns to face the class. The senior student says, "Tominaga Sensei ni rei" - and students then bow and say "onegai shimasu" [please teach/guide me]. The black belts then turn to face the class. The senior kyu belt says, "Sempai ni rei" - and the kyu belts bow and say "onegai shimasu" [please teach/guide me]. Class warm-up follows immediately.


Classes end much the same way except when bowing to Sensei and the black belts, the class says "arigato gozaimashita" [thank-you very much].


Position taken for brief medication period before and after training


    We are available to answer all of your queries - please do not hesitate.

    Speak to an Instructor or contact us through the contact details on this site