Karate Moves Names in Japanese: Understanding the Terminology

Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It involves the use of various techniques such as strikes, kicks, and blocks, which require a lot of practice and discipline to master. If you are interested in learning karate, it is important to understand the terminology used for the different moves.

In this blog post, we will go over the karate moves names in Japanese, their meanings, and how to execute them properly. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the terminology used in karate and be better equipped to practice and improve your skills.


Stances are the foundational positions in karate that help with balance, stability, and power. Here are some of the commonly used karate stances in Japanese:

  • Heisoku Dachi – This is a closed stance where the feet are together and the heels are touching. The toes are pointed outwards slightly.
  • Musubi Dachi – This stance is similar to Heisoku Dachi, but the feet are shoulder-width apart instead of being together.
  • Kiba Dachi – In this stance, the legs are shoulder-width apart, and the knees are bent. The weight is evenly distributed on both legs.
  • Kokutsu Dachi – This is a back stance where one foot is behind the other, and the knees are bent. The back foot is turned outwards slightly.
  • Zenkutsu Dachi – Also known as a front stance, the front foot is pointing straight ahead, and the back foot is turned outwards slightly. The weight is mostly on the front foot.


Strikes are essential offensive techniques in karate. They involve using different parts of the body, including fists, elbows, knees, and feet. Here are some of the common types of karate strikes in Japanese:

  • Seiken – This is a straight punch delivered with the fist. The punch is aimed at the opponent’s chin or solar plexus.
  • Tate Tsuki – This is a vertical punch that is aimed at the nose or throat of the opponent.
  • Uraken – This is a backfist strike delivered with the back of the hand. The strike is aimed at the opponent’s temple or jaw.
  • Mawashi Empi – This is a spinning elbow strike that is aimed at the opponent’s head or neck.
  • Maegeri – This is a front kick that is aimed at the opponent’s stomach or chest.


Blocks are important defensive techniques in karate. They are used to deflect incoming attacks and protect the practitioner from harm. Here are some of the common types of karate blocks in Japanese:

  • Jodan Age Uke – This is an upward block that is aimed at deflecting high attacks, such as punches or kicks.
  • Gedan Barai – This is a downward block that is aimed at deflecting low attacks, such as leg sweeps or kicks.
  • Soto Uke – This is an outside block that is aimed at deflecting attacks that come from the side.
  • Uchi Uke – This is an inside block that is aimed at deflecting attacks that come from the inside.
  • Morote Uke – This is a double-handed block that is used to deflect powerful attacks.

Karate Moves Names in Japanese

FAQs About Karate Moves Names in Japanese

As one of the most popular martial arts in the world, karate is practiced by millions of people worldwide. Karate originated in Japan, and thus, it is not surprising that many of its techniques and moves have Japanese names. Learning these karate moves names in Japanese can help you better understand the art and its culture. In this post, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about karate moves names in Japanese.

1. What is the importance of knowing karate moves names in Japanese?

Knowing karate moves names in Japanese has several benefits. Firstly, it allows you to understand the cultural significance of the techniques. Karate is not just about the physical movements; it is also about the philosophy and history behind the art. Understanding the Japanese names of the moves helps to gain a deeper appreciation of how and why karate developed.

Secondly, learning karate moves names in Japanese allows you to communicate more effectively with other practitioners. Many traditional dojo (karate training halls) still use Japanese for the move names. In seminars and competitions, it is common for instructors to use Japanese to describe techniques. Knowing the names of the moves in Japanese will allow you to better understand and execute them.

2. How are karate moves named in Japanese?

Karate moves in Japanese are named based on their characteristics, target area, or the name of the founder of the technique. For example, a punch is called “tsuki,” while a front kick is “mae geri.” The names of the techniques may also include other words that describe the technique, such as “kagi” (hook), “uchi” (strike), or “uke” (block).

3. What are some common karate moves names in Japanese?

There are many karate move names in Japanese, but here are some of the most common ones:

– Mae Geri – Front Kick
– Mawashi Geri – Roundhouse Kick
– Yoko Geri Keage – Side Snap Kick
– Ushiro Geri – Back Kick
– Kizami Tsuki – Jab Punch
– Gyaku Tsuki – Reverse Punch
– Age Uke – Rising Block
– Soto Uke – Outside Block
– Uchi Uke – Inside Block
– Gedan Barai – Low Block

4. What are the benefits of learning karate?

Aside from the benefits of learning karate moves names in Japanese, karate offers many other benefits. First, it is an effective form of self-defense. Through regular practice, you can develop the physical skills and mental strategies needed to protect yourself in dangerous situations.

Karate also promotes physical fitness and overall well-being. It can improve your strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Additionally, karate fosters mental and emotional strength. It teaches self-discipline, respect, and perseverance. Students who practice karate often report feeling more confident, focused, and calm in everyday life.

5. Can anyone learn karate, regardless of age or physical limitations?

Yes, anyone can learn and practice karate, regardless of age or physical limitations. Karate can be adapted to suit individual needs, whether you are a child, an adult, or a senior. Additionally, karate can be practiced by people with disabilities, as the techniques can be modified to accommodate physical limitations.

How to Learn Karate Moves Names in Japanese?

Karate is a traditional Japanese martial art. It incorporates various techniques and movements that require a lot of effort and patience to master. Karate has a rich history, and the names of particular moves and techniques are often in Japanese, which can make learning them a bit challenging for non-Japanese speakers. However, with a few simple steps, anyone can memorize the names of karate moves in Japanese.

1. Start with the basic terminology

The first step in learning the names of karate moves in Japanese is to master the basic terminology. Familiarize yourself with Japanese vocabulary used in the martial arts, such as dojo (training hall), sensei (teacher or instructor), kiai (shout), and seiza (a seated position used in Japanese martial arts).

2. Use phonetic association

Phonetic association is a handy technique that involves relating the name of each move with its pronunciation in Japanese. For example, the karate chop, a move executed with the edge of the hand, is called „shuto“ in Japanese. You can memorize this move by associating „shuto“ with the English word „shut,“ which sounds similar. Similarly, „mawashi geri,“ a roundhouse kick, can be associated with the word „ma-wash-ee“ to help you remember its pronunciation.

3. Watch karate demonstrations

Watching karate demonstrations can help you learn the names of various moves in Japanese. Pay attention to the words used by the instructor while explaining the various techniques. You can also watch online videos of karate demonstrations and tutorials to assist you in learning the correct pronunciation and movements.

4. Use visuals to assist you

Visuals are a great way to help you memorize the names of karate moves. Make use of diagrams, photos, or illustrations to learn the correct positioning and execution of each move. You can also label each move and write their corresponding Japanese names below or beside them.

5. Enroll in a karate class

Taking karate classes, enrolling in training sessions, and learning from a knowledgeable instructor can significantly improve your understanding and knowledge of the Japanese terminology you need to master karate. The instructor can help you with move names and provide feedback on your technique.

6. Practice regular repetition

The more you practice, the better you become. Practice every day to develop good habits and improve your ability to remember the names of karate moves in Japanese. Regular repetition reinforces your progress and helps you to move closer to fluent use of Japanese language martial arts terminology.

In conclusion, learning the names of karate moves in Japanese requires patience, dedication, and practice. By following these six steps, anyone can master the fundamental Japanese martial arts terminology and become a knowledgeable practitioner. Use phonetic association, visuals, and consistent repetition to help you develop fluency and confidence in using Japanese language martial arts terms.

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