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Reference & Training Information

On this page items of interest are included to assist you in improving your knowledge of karate and are intended for use as training aids for all students.If you feel there is something that needs to be included on this page that would be of benefit to yourself and others please let us know by contacting us here.

All information can be downloaded from the downloads page


  • Japanese karate terminology
  • Japanese counting
  • Shitoryu/shukokai karate basic combinations
  • Shitoryu/shukokai karate basic stances
  • Standard stance & cat stance
  • Punching in standard stance
  • Which kata do I need for my grading?
  • Competition rules

Karate Terminology (Japanese to English)


age-uke jodan - rising block with forearm above head

ashi-barai - sweeping ankle throw, foot sweep


choku-zuki - straight punch

ch’uan fa - ‘fist way’

chudan - target area above waist but not head

chudan uke - middle area block, usually with forearm


dojo - training hall


fumikomi - stamping kick

fumi-waza - stamping techniques


gedan - target area below waist

gedan barai - downward block

geta - clogs

gyaku-zuki - reverse or counter punch


hachiji-dachi - open-leg stance

hangetsu-dachi - wide hour-glass stance, toes turned in

haishu - back hand

haishu-uchi - back hand strike

haishu-uke - back hand block

haisoku - instep

haito - ridge hand, index finger edge of hand

haito-uchi - ridge hand strike

hajime - begin

heisoku-dachi - informal stance, feet parallel

hen-o - responding

hijiate - elbow strike

hiraken - four-knuckle fist using second joint of fingers

hiraken-zuki - four-knuckle fist straight punch

hittsui or hisa - knee

hittsui-geri or hisa-geri - knee kick


ippon-ken - one-knuckle fist

ippon-ken-zuki - one-knuckle fist, second knuckle protruding

ippon-nukite - one-finger spear hand


jiyu-ippon-kumite - semi-free one-blow sparring

jiyu-kumite - free-style sparring

jodan - target area above chest, to the head and face

juji-uke - cross block


kage-zuki - hook punch

kakato - heel

kake-dachi - one-legged stance, rear knee pressed into calf of front leg

kake-dameshi/shi-wari - tests of strength, breaking wood, tiles etc.

kake-te - hook hand

kake-uke - hooking block

kake-waza - hooking techniques

kakuto - bent wrist

kakuto-uke - bent wrist block

karate-gi - training suit

kamae-te - ‘on guard’

kansetsu-geri - stamping or joint kick, as fumikomi

kata - forms, pre-arranged excercises

keito - chicken-head wrist, formed with thumb and forefinger

keito-uke - chicken-head wrist block

kempo - ‘fist way’, Chinese boxing

kendo - ‘way of the sword’ sword fighting

kentsui - hammer fist with base of clenched fist

keri-waza - kicking techniques

kiba-dachi - straggle-leg stance, feet parallel

kihon kimite - basic sparring, pre-arranged

kime - focus or Ki, concentration of power

kin-geri - groin kick

koko - tiger-mouth, palm of hand

kokutsu-dachi - back stance

koshi - ball of the foot

kumade - bear hand, fingers clawed

kumite - sparring or combat


ma-ai - distancing

mae-geri - front kick

mae-geri-keage - front snap kick

mae-geri-kekomi - front thrust kick

mae-ken (tsuki) - punch with hand nearest opponent

mae-tobi-geri - flying front kick

makiwara - punching board

mawate - ‘turning hand, order to turn around

mawashi-geri - roundhouse kick

mawashi-zuki - roundhouse punch

mawashi-uke - circular block

mikazuki-geri - crescent kick, with sole of foot

mikazuki-geri-uke - crescent kick block

mine-uke - back hand block, wrist bent

mizu-no-kokoro - ‘a mind like water’

morote-uke - two handed forearm block

morote-zuki - double-fist punch

musubi-dachi - stance with heels together toes apart


nagashi-uke - sweeping block

nage-waza - throwing techniques

nakadate-ippon-ken - middle finger one-knuckle fist

nami-ashi - inside snapping block with foot

neko-ashi-dachi - cat stance

nihon nukite - two-finger spear hand

nukite - spearhand straight thrust


oi-zuki - lunge punch

Okinawa-te - ‘Okinawa hands’, old form of Okinawan karate

osae-uke - pressing block


sasae-uke - two fisted block (see also morote-uke)

sanchin-dachi - hour glass stance front foot turned in at 45 degrees

seiken - fore-fist, part of fist used in normal punching

seiken-choku-zuki - fore-fist straight punch

sensei - instructor of school or dojo

seiryuto - ox-jaw hand, actual part of hand used in Shukokai blocking (shuto)

seiza - sitting back on heels

shihan - chief instructor

shiko-dachi - sumo stance, straggle leg toes slightly out

shizen-dachi - open leg stance before ‘yoi’

shizen-dachi-heiko - ‘yoi dachi’, ready stance

shiai - refereed competition

shotei - palm heel

shuto - knife-hand, edge of hand

shuto-uchi - knife-hand strike, classic karate ‘chop’

shuto-uke - knife-hand block

sochin-dachi - diagonal straddle leg stance

sokuto - foot edge

sokuto-geri - side kick

sukui-geri - scooping block


tasuna-uke - block with little finger side of hand and forearm, palm turned to front

tateken-zuki - vertical fist punch as in Shukokai face punch

teisho - palm-heel

teisho-uchi - palm-heel strike

teisho-uke - palm-heel block

teisho-zuki - palm-heel straight punch

teisoku - sole

tettsui - bottom fist or hammer fist (see kentsui)

tettsui-uke - bottom-fist block

tettsui-uchi - bottom-fist strike

tsukame-uke - grasping block

tsuki-age - rising punch / uppercut, similar as in boxing

tsuki-no-kokoro - ‘a mind like the moon’

tsuki-uke - punching block

tsuki-wasa - punching techniques


uchi-otoshi - dropping block, first move in Pinan Nidan

uchi-wasa - striking techniques

ude - forearm

ude-uke - forearm block, as in chudan-ude-uke

uraken - back fist strike

ura-zuki - close punch, palm uppermost

ushiro-geri - back kick

ushiro-geri-keage - back snap kick

ushiro-geri-kekomi - back thrust kick

ushiro-uchi - hooking back heel kick


yama-zuki - two handed U-punch as in ‘Bassai Dai’

yame - stop

yasume - ‘stand easy’, relax

yoko-geri - side kick

yoko-geri-keage - side snap kick

yoko-geri-kekomi - side thrust kick

yoko-tobi-geri - flying side kick

yoi - ‘ready'

yonhon-nukite - spear hand four straight fingers


zanchin - state of awareness

zenkutsu-dachi - forward stance, extended standard stance

zuki/tsuki - general term for a punch

Japanese Counting

Shitoryu/Shukokai Basic Combinations

These combinations are part of the Shitoryu/Shukokai style of karate grading syllabus and as such you will need to know them for each grade that you attempt. There are nine combinations to learn, two of which have two elements to them. This means that you actually have to learn eleven separate combination techniques.

For your first grade, yellow/8th kyu, you will need to know combinations 1 to 4a. For all other grades, orange/7th kyu and above, you will need to know combinations 1 to 9. All combinations start from and end in left foot forward ‘standard stance’ position.

1a. Ichiban A

Step in with right foot and perform a right hand punch (oi-tsuki) to the face, withdraw the hand and without moving the feet perform a left open-handed thrust to the opponent’s collar bone. Step back.

1b. Ichiban B

Right hand punch to the face, step forward (one legged punch) with the right foot and perform a left thrust. Step back.

2. Niban

Right hand punch to the body (gyaku-tsuki), then left thrust to the body. (Note: the feet do not move in this combination).

3. Sanban

Front hand punch (left mae-ken tsuki) to the face, right thrust to the body, left open hand block in front of the body (shuto-uke).

4a. Yonban A

Kick to the front (mae-geri) with the right foot, keeping the hands in position step forward with the kicking foot and punch to the face with the right hand (oi-tsuki), then left thrust to the body. Step back.

4b. Yonban B

Kick to the front (mae-geri) with the right foot, withdraw the leg and punch to the face with the right hand (still balancing on the left foot), step forward with the right foot and perform a left thrust. Step back.

5. Goban

Right hand punch to the body (gyaku-tsuki), step forward with the right foot, left thrust to the body, keeping hands in position kick with the left foot (mae-geri) to the body and place the foot down to your front, punch to the face with the right hand, left thrust, step back with the left foot and perform right open hand block (shuto-uke) in front of the body, step back with the right foot and perform left open hand block (shuto-uke) in front of the body.

6. Rokuban

Step back with the left foot, block at face level with the edge of the right hand (shuto-uke), punch to the body with the left hand (gyaku-tsuki), right thrust, step forward with the left foot and perform left hand open block (shuto-uke) in front of the body.

7. Nanaban

Perform open hand downward block with the left hand (gedan-barai) making sure you block with the edge of the hand, hips must twist as you block. Punch to the body with the right hand (gyaku-tsuki), perform left thrust to the body. (Note: the feet do not move).

8. Hachiban

Thrust to the face with the edge of the right hand then step forward with the right foot, punch to the body with the left hand (gyaku-tsuki), thrust to the body with the right hand, step back with the right foot and perform left open hand block (shuto-uke) in front of the body

9. Kyuban

Sweep the right foot forward, scooping the opponent’s ankle with the sole (ashi-barai), place the foot down to your front and punch to the face (oi-tsuki) with the right hand, left thrust to the body. Step back.

Note: Along with all the basic techniques done in ‘yoi dachi’ these combinations form the foundations of your entire karate learning process. They teach movement, balance, focus and form in the basic karate ‘standard stance’, they should be practised correctly and on a regular basis in the dojo and elsewhere if possible. When learned, these combinations will assist you greatly as you progress through your training syllabus because you will have already learned how your body can move and balance. This is the basis of good and correct karate and is of the utmost importance whether you are practising basics, combinations, kata, kumite or self defence.

Shitoryu/Shukokai Basic Stances

These are the seven basic stances in Shitoryu/Shukokai karate. Each stance follows the previous one with a single movement of the feet.

Standard Stance & Cat Stance

Standard Stance (zenkutsu-dachi)

Correct standard stance requires the front leg to be bent, so that the knee is over the toes and the foot pointing straight ahead.

To find the length of the stance, simply kneel on the rear knee so that it is alongside the back of the front heel.

The correct width is to place the rear foot (pointing forward at 45 degrees) between one and two fist widths to the side. In other words, if you drew two parallel lines four inches to eight inches (100mm-200mm) apart, the inside edge of the front foot would be on one and the edge of the rear heel on the other.

Cat Stance (neko-ashi-dachi)

Correct cat stance requires both knees to be bent and should look as the diagram (left).

The rear foot is placed at 45 degrees with the front foot pointing straight in the direction of travel or opponent.

The front heel is raised from the floor so the contact area is on the ball of the foot and approximately 70-80% of the weight is on the rear foot.

The heels must always be in-line and the front knee forced out to point straight in the direction of travel or opponent.

Punching In Standard Stance

The Stance

1. The hips should maintain the same level

2. Outward tension in the knees should be maintained

3. The front knee should be forward and out

4. The front knee should not 'turn in' when punching

The Punch

1. The hips and body should not drop

2. The hips and body must twist

3. The punch must be focused

Do you want to perfect an effective reverse & front hand punch? YES then the above 'rules' will help you to achieve this.

Which Kata Do I need For My Grading?

It should be noted that as the student progresses through the grades they will be examined on all kata required for previous grades as well as the kata for the grade they are attempting, eg. to attain purple/4th kyu all five Pinan katas must be known and performed without mistakes.

*The displaying of 'rank bars' on the black belt is optional and is a matter of personal preference.

**This is the 'master' grade and can take a lifetime to achieve. Very few people reach this grade.

Competition Rules

Karate competition rules are many and complex, for this reason we have not written them on the website but you can download and save a copy for your records if you wish by clicking on the downloads page.