Because karate has its origin in Japan,much of the terminology is Japanese.

You do not need to learn Japanese,but many of the terms used in class will become familiar with exposure

The word karate (空手) is actually a combination of two words.

Kara (空) means emptiness in two ways. Firstly the Zen concept of empty mind – the karate practitioner should strive to reach the state where the mind is clear and has no preconceived ideas, and therefore can respond to any threat.

Secondly empty indicating that the karate person carries no weapons.

Te (手) means hand.

Karate (空手) = Empty Hand

You may also see the term karate-do (空手道). Do (道) means way.

It indicating that karate is more than just technique but also incorporates a code of conduct and etiquette that extent to every day life.


                                       Dojo      道場 Place where you practice

                                       Sensei   先生Instructor

                                       Sempai  先輩Senior student

                                       Kihon     基本Basic techniques

                                       Kata       型 Form exercise

                                       Kumite   組手 Sparring

                                       Kyu        級Belt levels below black  (colour belts)

                                       Dan       段Any black belt level often combined with a prefix 

                                                        such as shodan (1st dan)

                                       Seiza      正座Kneel

                                       Mokuso  黙想Meditate

                                       Mokuso yame      黙想やめStop meditating

                                       Shomen ni rei      正面に礼Bow to the front of the room

                                       Sensei ni rei        先生に礼Bow to the instructor