Karate Terms in Japanese Part 4 – Techniques

two men performing karate kick and punch techniques in an open field

This is the fourth post in a series of posts on karate terms which covers all karate technique words in Japanese. This extensive list will probably be sufficient for you to go from a beginner to a very advanced level.

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

Content

  1. Blocking technique terms
  2. Punching technique terms
  3. Kicking and other foot technique terms
  4. Karate technique videos

Blocking technique terms

Waza means techniques.

Uke means receiving.

Uke waza means ‘receiving techniques‘, however, they are often referred to in English as ‘blocking techniques‘.

  1. Chudan yoko uke: middle-level side block
  2. Gedan barai: downward sweeping block
  3. Hiki uke: pulling block
  4. Hiji uke: elbow block
  5. Jodan age uke: high-level/head level rising block
  6. Ko uke: wrist block
  7. Shotei barai: palm heel sweep
  8. Shotei uke: palm heel block
  9. Shuto uke: knife hand block
  10. Soto ude uke: block from outside inwards with the bottom of the wrist
  11. Sukui uke: scooping block
  12. Sune uke: shin block
  13. Teisho uke: palm heal block
  14. Tora guchi: tiger mouth block
  15. Uchi ude uke: block from inside to outside

Punching technique terms

Tsuki is derived from the verb tsuku and means ‘thrusting’.

Tsuki waza are thrusting or punching techniques.

  1. Age tsuki: rising punch (uppercut)
  2. Choku tsuki: straight punch
  3. Chudan tsuki: punch to the chest
  4. Furi tsuki: circular punch (hook)
  5. Gedan tsuki: punch to the groin
  6. Gyaku tsuki: reverse punch
  7. Haito uchi: ridge hand strike
  8. Heiken uchi: fore knuckle fist strike
  9. Hijiate: elbow strike
  10. Jodan tsuki: punch to the face
  11. Kage tsuki: hook punch
  12. Kizami tsuki: jab punch, leading hand punch
  13. Koken: wrist strike
  14. Mawashi tsuki: roundhouse punch
  15. Morote tsuki: double punch
  16. Nukite uchi: spear hand strike
  17. Oi tsuki: lunge punch
  18. Sanbon tsuki: three punch combination
  19. Seiken tsuki: forefist punch (standard punch)
  20. Shuto uchi: knife-edge hand strike
  21. Sokuto uchi: knife-edge foot strike
  22. Tate-tsuki: vertical punch
  23. Teisho uchi: palm heel strike (sometimes called shotei uchi)
  24. Tetsui uchi: hammer fist strike 
  25. Ura tsuki: half punch used at close range
  26. Uraken uchi: back fist strike
  27. Yama tsuki: over the mountain double punch

Kicking and other foot technique terms

Keri means kick.

Keri waza means kicking techniques.

If there is another word in front of ‘keri‘, the pronunciation changes to ‘geri‘ therefore the kicking techniques are often called ‘geri‘ as seen below.

  1. Ashi barai: foot sweep
  2. Fumikomi geri: heel kick
  3. Gedan mawashi geri: low roundhouse kick
  4. Hiza geri: knee strike
  5. Kakato otoshi geri: axe kick, sometimes only referred to as kakato geri
  6. Kansetsu geri: joint kick, usually aiming for an opponent’s knee
  7. Kin geri: groin kick
  8. Mae ashi geri: front leg kick
  9. Mae geri: front kick
  10. Mae geri keage: front snap kick
  11. Mae geri kekomi: front thrust kick
  12. Mae tobi geri: jumping front kick
  13. Mawashi geri: roundhouse kick
  14. Mikazuki geri: crescent kick
  15. Nidan tobi geri: jumping double front kick
  16. Otoshi mawashi geri: downward roundhouse kick
  17. Tatsumaki senpuu kyaku: tonato kick
  18. Tobi geri: jumping kick
  19. Tobi hiza geri: jumping knee strike
  20. Tobi mae geri or mae tobi geri: jumping front kick
  21. Tobi mawashi geri: jumping roundhouse kick
  22. Tobi ushiro geri: jumping back kick
  23. Tobi yoko geri: jumping side kick or flying side kick
  24. Tsumasaki geri: toe kick
  25. Uchi haisoku geri: twist kick, instep kick
  26. Uchi mikazuki geri: inside crescent kick
  27. Ura mawashi geri: reverse roundhouse kick or hook kick
  28. Ura ushiro mawashi geri: spinning reverse roundhouse kick
  29. Ushiro geri: back kick
  30. Ushiro geri keage: back snap kick
  31. Ushiro geri kekomi: back thrust kick
  32. Yoko geri: side kick
  33. Yoko geri keage: side snap kick
  34. Yoko geri kekomi: side thrust kick
  35. Yoko tobi geri: jumping side kick or flying side kick

Karate technique videos

Below are some videos that demonstrate basic karate techniques.

As always, it’s better to learn from good instructors but these videos could help with home training and fine-tuning your techniques that you may not always have time to do at the dojo.

They may not be the same karate style as the one you are currently practicing, but the fundamentals remain the same across styles.

Goju ryu karate blocking techniques by Master Morino Higaonna

Goju ryu karate basic striking, blocking and kicking techniques

Shotokan karate blocking techniques

More Shotokan basic blocking techniques

This is part one and it covers the following blocks:

  1. Age uke
  2. Soto uke
  3. Uchi uke
  4. Gedan barai
  5. Shuto uke

This is part two and it demonstrates the above five basic blocks moving forward.

Shotokan karate basic techniques with Sensei Masao Kagawa

Shotokan moving basics (ido kihon)

  1. Oi Zuki
  2. Age uke
  3. Soto Uke
  4. Uchi Uke
  5. Shuto Uke
  6. Gyaku Zuki
  7. Mae Geri
  8. Yoko Geri Keage
  9. Mawashi Geri

Shotokan moving basics (ido kihon) with Sensei Masao Kagawa

Kyokushin basic strikes and blocks

Sophia

I haven't trained in karate for long but it has given me so much and definitely has made me a better person. The more I train, the more I realize that karate is more about mastering your mind than mastering your physical form. If learning karate is like learning a language, I am still at the alphabet stage and I am sharing with you on this blog bits and pieces that I pick up a long the way. I hope you find them useful and wish you all the best with your karate journey!

Recent Posts