This is the fifth post in a series of posts on karate terms which covers training equipment, tournament, and rankings.

For previous posts in this series, please click the links below:


Karate training equipment

  1. Chishi: stone weighted training tools for upper body conditioning
  2. Ishi: a large rock that was carried around in order to build strength and conditioning.
  3. Ishi sashi: stone or concrete hand weights
  4. Jari bako: this Japanese training tool uses a bucket filled with sand to condition fingers and hands
  5. Kakite bikei: blocking post with movable arm
  6. Kongoken: a large heavy iron ring used for full body strength training and conditioning
  7. Makiage kigu: weighted rope used to build hand, wrist and forearm strength.
  8. Makiwara: a wooden striking post which provides progressive resistance
  9. Nigiri game: gripping jars used to develop palm and finger strength
  10. Sagi makiwara: a hanging version of the makiwara
  11. Suburito or suburi bokken: an extra heavy wooden practice sword for building arm and shoulder strength
  12. Sunabukuro: similar to modern day heavy bags
  13. Taketaba: bundle of bamboo used for finger strikes
  14. Tan: barbell with wooden handle
  15. Tanren bo: a wooden device used ‘solely’ for conditioning the wrists and arms.
  16. Tetsu geta: “Iron Sandals” or “Iron Clogs” used to strengthen the legs and develop kicking power
  17. Tetsuwa: these are iron weights that are worn on a student’s wrist to build arm and shoulder strength
  18. Ude makiwara: round version of the makiwara striking post

Karate tournament

  1. Aiuchi: simultaneous strike or scoring technique
  2. Aka: red
  3. Aoi: blue
  4. Chui: warning
  5. Enchosen hajime: extension time begin
  6. Fukushin: assistant referee
  7. Gogi: consultation
  8. Hansoku: violation, rule infraction, foul play
  9. Hansoku chui: foul warning
  10. Hantei: judge’s decision
  11. Hata: flag
  12. Hikiwake: a draw
  13. Ippon: one step, one point
  14. Jikan: time out
  15. Jogai: out of the mat
  16. Jogai chui: out of the mat penalty
  17. Katsu: win
  18. Keikoku: warning
  19. Kiken: forfeit/concede
  20. Mienai: could not see
  21. Moto no ichi: starting position
  22. Mubobi: showing undue care for one’s safety
  23. No Kachi: winner in a kumite bout
  24. Shiai: tournament, competition
  25. Shiai geiko: tournament practice
  26. Shikkaku: disqualification
  27. Shobu ippon: one point match
  28. Shiro: white
  29. Sundome: non-contact match
  30. Taikai: tournament
  31. Torimasen: no point
  32. Waza-ari: half point

Rankings in karate

  1. Mukyu: no level
  2. Kyu: all levels below black belt
  3. Dan: black belt level
  4. Shodan: first degree black belt
  5. Shodan-So: probationary junior black belt
  6. Joshu-shoban: junior First Degree Black Belt
  7. Shodan-Ho: Probationary First Degree Black Belt
  8. Nidan: Second degree black belt
  9. Sandan: Third degree black belt
  10. Yondan: Fourth degree black belt
  11. Godan: Fifth degree black belt
  12. Rokudan : Sixth degree black belt
  13. Nanadan : Seventh degree black belt
  14. Hachidan: Eighth degree black belt
  15. Kudan: Ninth degree black belt
  16. Judan: Tenth degree black belt
  17. Sempai/Senpai: Senior student
  18. Sensei: Teacher
  19. Shidoin : Assistant instructor
  20. Shidoshi: Dojo manager
  21. Renshi: Senior teacher
  22. Shihan: Teacher of teachers
  23. Kyoshi: Expert teacher
  24. Hanshi: Master teacher

Belts in karate

Different styles have different belt systems, but the following appears to be the most common one.

  1. White Belt.10th kyu. The white color symbolizes the beginning of a karateka’s journey
  2. Yellow Belt. 9th kyu. The yellow color represents the sunlight meaning a karateka has achieved some understanding that gives hope for a future of potential growth
  3. Orange Belt. 8th kyu. The orange color signifies the sun’s intensity, and a student with an orange belt is thought to have gained more understanding of the basics of karate and shown strengthened commitment to train
  4. Green Belt. 7th kyu. Green is the color of growth. Green belt students have learned basic skills and begin to refine those skills and grow
  5. Blue Belt. 6th kyu. Blue represents the sky and blue belts are given to students who have gained a firm basic knowledge and begin their journey of growing upwards and learning more difficult techniques
  6. Purple Belt. 5th kyu. Purple is the color of dawn. This represents the end of the intermediate level and purple belt students are now beginning to transition to a more advanced stage of their karate study
  7. Red Belt. 4th kyu. Red is the color of strength. This implies that red belt students have shown hard work, dedication and strength through their karate training and are now ready for more challenges. Red is also the color of danger, meaning these students now possesses dangerous skills and need to be cautious during their training and when applying what they know in actual situations
  8. Brown Belt. 3rd kyu to 1st kyu. The color brown represents a ripening seed ready for harvest. Brown belt students are ready to move to the next level and begin a new journey in martial arts
  9. Black Belt. Shodan. The color black symbolizes the end, meaning the student has completed a transformation from an unknowing white belt to one with skills and a deep understanding of bushido. It also signals the beginning of a new journey.