Glossary of Kyokushin Karate Terms

This is a basic glossary of terms found in Kyokushin Karate, with definition and audio Pronunciation.

  • How to read Japanese in English alphabet (rōmaji): English vowels a=ahi=eeu=ooe=eh and o=oh
  • A macron or a line over a vowel indicates that it is pronounced for twice the length of the vowel without a macron or a line. Sometimes an “h” is added instead. However, these sounds are just approximations and there are some exceptions
  • Click images for full size

Stances – Tachi Gata

Tachi denotes the configuration of the lower body; tachi gata are forms of stances.

Ready Stance Yōi dachi
Immovable or rooted stance
Fudō dachi
Front bent stance Zenkutsu dachi 
Inner eight stance Uchi hachi dachi
Open foot (connected) stance Musubi Dachi
Back Stance – kōkutsu-dachi 

– Also known as
hanmi no nekoashi dachi  (half facing cat stance)

Three battles stance Sanchin Dachi
Horse riding stance Kiba-dachi
Cat stance Nekoashi-dachi
Crane stance Tsuri Ashi Dachi
One foot forward stance Moro Ashi Dachi 
Parallel stance Heisoku dachi
Crossed leg stance Kake ashi dachi

Blocks – Uke

Middle outside block Chūdan Soto uke 
Middle inside block Chūdan uchi uke
Upper block
Jōdan uke
Low sweep block Gedan-barai
Roundhouse block Mawashi uke 
Middle inside block with both hands Morote chudan uchi uke 
Roundhouse block with knife-hand Shuto mawashi uke 

Punches & Strikes – Tsuki & Uchi 

In karatedō, tsuki is usually translated as “punch,” but this is not correct. A better rendering would be “thrust.” Tsuki is differentiated from uchi 打ち (strike), in that the fist in tsuki moves along the same direction as the arm, while the hand in uchi moves circularly around the elbow or shoulder. The useful comparison is with kendō, in which tsuki has a very specific definition: a thrusting attack to the throat with the tip of the shinai, rather than a cut with the “edge”, uchi.

  • Note that in a compound word, where tsuki does not come first, its pronunciation and writing changes slightly due to rendaku, and it is spelled and pronounced as “zuki“.
 Forefist double strike Seiken morote zuki
 Forefist (straight) punch Seiken zuki
Forefist strike to the chin Seiken ago uchi
Vertical punch Tate zuki
Low punch Shita zuki
Lunge punch Jun zuki
 Descending hammerfist strike to face Tettsui oroshi ganmen uchi
Hammerfist strike to temple

Tettsui komekami

Hammerfist strike to the spleen Tettsui Hizo Uchi
Front sideways hammerfist strike Tettsui mae yoko uchi
Side hammerfist strike Tettsui yoko uchi
Two-finger spear hand Nihon nukite
 Front backfist strike Uraken shōmen uchi
Descending backfist strike Uraken oroshi ganmen uchi
Backfist strike to spleen Uraken hizō uchi
Roundhouse backfist strike Uraken mawashi uchi
Lateral backfist strike to face Uraken sayū ganmen uchi
Palm heel thrust Shōtei zuki
elbow strike hiji ate
Sword hand strike Shutō uchi
Rising elbow strike Age hiji ate
Backwards elbow strike Ushiro hiji ate
  Descending elbow strike Hiji oroshi uchi
Flat fist punch (also leopard fist) Hiraken zuki
Strike with back of hand Haishu uchi
Forefist rising punch to face Seiken jodan age zuki
Four-finger spear-hand Yonhon nukite
Middle knuckle fist Nakadaka ken
One fist thumb Oyayubi Ipponken
Ridgehand strike Haitō uchi

Kicks – Keri

*Please note that in a compound word, where keri does not come first, its pronunciation and writing changes slightly, becoming geri. Eg. “Keri” = “Kick”  but “Mawashi-geri” = “Round Kick”

Knee kick hiza geri
  Groin kick  Kin geri 
  Front kick Mae geri
Foot sword joint kick Sokutō kansetsu geri
  Rising side kick Sokutō yoko keage
Front rising high kick Mae keage 
  Inside roundhouse stretch kick Uchi mawashi keage
  Outside roundhouse stretch kick Soto mawashi keage
Lower level roundhouse kick Gedan mawashi geri
High roundhouse kick Jōdan mawashi geri 
  Back kick Ushiro geri
  Upper level inside instep kick Jōdan uchi haisoku geri
  Flying side kick Tobi yoko geri
  Jumping front kick Tobi mae geri