International Karate League Terminology

Our IKL School Motto

Trough honesty and sincerity comes … FREE

Faithfulness:  Be faithful to IKL training, your instructors, to school and to your country.

Respect: Respect your dojo (training hall), home, teachers, fellow students and yourself.

Effort: Strive for maximum effort in all your endeavors.

Ettiquette: Be courteous to everyone, have polite manners, and show humility.


Please note that Japanese is pronounced very differently than most Western languages. It is syllabic, speaking and writing most words by syllable, rather than individual sound, and vowels do not change. Please refer to this guide.

Basic Terminology – Kihon

Sensei – Teacher

Senpai – senior student

Kohai – a junior student

Dojo – place of training

Shomen – front of the dojo (usually where the flags and school banner are setup)

Obi – belt

Gi – karate uniform

Osu – is used as a greeting along with a bow (though commonly used in karate there is no Japanese definition for Osu.  It is possibly an abbreviation of Onegai shimasu – please teach me Sensei and please train with me fellow student).  We also use it to indicate we understand or heard the sensei’s statement or command!

Hai – Yes

Iie – No


Kiwotsuke – call to attention

Rei – bow (show respect)

Yoi – go to ready stance

Yame – stop and return to Yoi

Naore – return to attention

Soremade – finished (bow and relax)

Sensei-tachi ni rei – (said when bowing to more than one assisting sensei) at the opening or closing of class

Senpai-tachi ni rei – (said when bowing to more than one assisting senpai) at the opening or closing of class

Otagai ni rei – show respect to every who trained with you (said at the close of classes)

Mawatte – turn around (usually in the reverse direction)

Moichido – one more time (repeat the previous command usually with the other hand or foot)

Ichi – One

Ni – Two

San – Three

Shi – Four

Go – Five

Roku – Six

Shichi – Seven

Hachi – Eight

Kyu – Nine

Juu – Ten

Kihon Dachi – Basic Stances

Zenkutsu-dachi – Deep front stance (60% weight on front leg)

Hidari-gamae – Left-foot forward stance (understood to be a zenkutsu-dachi)

Migi-gamae – Right-foot forward stance (understood to be a zenkutsu-dachi)

Naihanchi-gamae – Horse-riding stance (squat with feet straight)

Neko ashi-dachi – Cat foot stance (90% of weight on back leg)

Kokutsu-dachi – Back squat stance (60-70% of weight on back leg)

Chudan-gamae – take a deep front stance, left hand parries while right hand nukite strikes to the throat, followed by a left hand dynamic draw to Tetsui to the left side) preparation for most progressive techniques

Yoko Naihanchi-gamae – left foot steps back to side facing horse-riding stance (preparation for progressive yoko-geri and ushiro-geri)

Kihon Tsuki – Basic Punches

Tsuki – Punch (Jodan, Chudan, Gedan)

Tsubame gaeshi – “Swiftly Returning” double punch (Jodan then Chudan)

Sanbon-zuki – Three punches

Kihon Uke – Basic Blocks

Jodan-uke – Upper-level block

Naka-uke – Inner block

Soto-uke – Outer block

Gedan barai-uke – Lower-level or lower-level sweeping block

Shuto-uke – Knife-hand block.

Mawashi-uke – Round block

Ura-uke – Reverse round block

Kihon Geri – Basic Kicks

Mae-geri – Front kick

Mawashi-geri – Round kick

Yoko-geri – Side kick (Keage – snap and Kekomi – thrust)

Ushiro-geri or Kagato-geri – Back kick

Ushiro-Mawashi-geri – Reverse round kick.

Hiza-geri – Knee strike

Tobi-geri – Jumping kick.

Mikazuki-geri – Crescent kick

Uchi or Atewaze – Strikes

Jodan Shuto – Knife-hand strike to the upper level

Haito – Ridge-hand strike

Nukite – Spear-hand strikes

ShoTei – Palm-heel strikes

Uraken – Upper-cut or back knuckle strikes

Tettsui – Hammer-fist strike

Empi-uchi – Elbow strikes

Shuto nodo Uchi – Knife-hand strike to the throat or face

Basic Kata

Pinan Shodan – First Pinan or “Peaceful Mind” kata (White belt)

Pinan Nidan – Second Pinan (Green belt)

Pinan Sandan – Third Pinan (Green belt)

Pinan Yodan – Fourth Pinan (Blue belt)

Pinan Godan – Fifth Pinan (Blue belt)

Black Belt Kata

Shodan Kata

Naihanchi – Fighting in horse riding stance (Brown belt)

Kushanku – “To View the Sky” Simulates fighting as night (Brown belt)

Jyu-Roku – (Brown belt)

Nidan Kata

Patsai Dai

Patsai Sho – “To Breach a Fortress” (First Dan)


Ten Chi

Sandan Kata




Yodan Kata




Advanced Kata






Pai Ting Hu

Tiandi Dai