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What does “X” mean in Japanese? Find out below!

The most popular Martial Arts are often influenced by Classical Japanese martial arts like Karate and Ju-Jutsu.

More modern Martial Arts like MMA and BJJ often use English words to describe technique but you do hear the occasional foreign word thrown in every once in a while, is it Japanese? find out below.

How to Count in Japanese

  1. Ichi – One
  2. Ni – Two
  3. San – Three
  4. Shi/Yon – Four (note: yon is usually four, shi is only used in certain situations because “Shi” also means “Death”)
  5. Go – Five
  6. Roku – Six
  7. Shichi/Nana – Seven (note: similar to “shi”, “shichi” is only used in certain situations, otherwise “nana” if more commonly used. The numerical pronunciation for shi is the same as death, therefore, unlucky.)
  8. Hachi – Eight
  9. Ku – Nine
  10. Ju – ten
  11. Ju Ichi – Eleven
  12. Ju Ni – Twelve
  13. Ju San – Thirteen

20. Ni Ju – Twenty

Body Parts in Japanese

  • Atama/Men – Head
  • Kami – Hair
  • Hitai – Forehead
  • Kasumi – Temple
  • Chototsu – Atemi point between the eyes
  • Kao – Face
  • Mimi – Ear
  • Me – Eye
  • Hana – Nose
  • Kuchi – Mouth
  • Ha – Tooth
  • Ago – Chin/Jaw
  • Kubi – Neck
  • Hichu – Windpipe
  • Nodo – Throat
  • Sakotsu – Collar Bone
  • Kata – Shoulder
  • Karada/Tai – Body
  • Mune – Chest
  • Eri – collar or lapel
  • Sebone – Spine
  • Katsusatsu – Spine between the shoulder blades
  • Bitei Kotsu – Coccyx
  • Abara/Rokkotsu – Ribs
  • Ude/Wan – Arm
  • Naiwan – Upper arm
  • Hiji/Empi (or Enpi) – Elbow
  • Gewan – Forearm
  • Te – Hand
  • Shute – Palm
  • Tekubi – Wrist
  • Kobushi/Ken – Fist
  • Yubi – Finger
  • Oyayubi – Thumb
  • Jinzo – Kidney
  • Hara – Stomach/Abdomen
  • Heso – Belly Button
  • Koshi – Hips/Waist
  • Kinteki – Groin
  • Ashi – Foot/Leg
  • Mata – Thigh
  • Hiza – Knee
  • Ashikubi – Ankle
  • Kakato – Heel
  • Haisoku – Instep
  • Tsumasaki – Toe

Japanese Adjectives, Directions, Movement & Positions

  • Dan – Level
  • Jodan – Upper (Level)
  • Chudan – Middle (Level)
  • Gedan – Low (Level)
  • Dachi – Stance
  • Kiba Dachi – Horse riding Stance
  • Heisoku Dachi – Feet together stance
  • Zenkutsu Dachi – Leg Forward stance
  • Shizentai – Natural Stance
  • Hidari – Left
  • Migi – Right
  • Ushiro – Back
  • Mae – Front
  • Yoko – Side
  • Choku – Straight
  • Gyaku – Reverse
  • Naka – Center
  • Mawatte – Turn Around
  • Massugu – straight ahead
  • Asoko – Over there
  • Heiko – Parallel
  • Juji – Cross
  • Hiki – Pull, tug
  • Irimi – Entering
  • Barai/Harai – Sweep
  • Kari – Reap (Changed to gari when used with a prefix word)
  • Kaiten – Rotation
  • Kagi – Hook
  • Kiri – Cut
  • Mikazuki – Crescent
  • Ko – Minor/small
  • O – Major/Large
  • Kesa – Scarf (around the neck)
  • Omote – Front or surface
  • Muwatte – a foot movement used in turning between stances
  • Seisa – Sitting position on heels
  • Anza – Sitting position, cross legged

Japanese Martial Arts Techniques

  • Furimi – Avoidance
  • Choku Tsuki – Straight punch
  • Fusegi – Escapes/Defences
  • Waza – Technique
  • Bunkai – Kata Technique Application
  • Embusen or Enbusen – This is the term used to refer to the spot where a kata begins. In addition, nearly all kata start and end on exactly the same Embusen point.
  • Geri or Keri – Kick
  • Harau – Sweeping Techniques
  • Kumite – Sparring
  • Kata – Form or Pattern
  • Kokyu-Ho – Breathing exercises
  • Kihon – Basic
  • Hikite – Pulling Hand (brining hand back to ready position)
  • Kiai – Shout
  • Empi-Uchi or Enpi-Uchi – Elbow Strike
  • Ashi Barai – Foot Sweep
  • Fumikomi – Stomp or Stomping Kick
  • Shuto – Knife Hand
  • Tsuki or Zuki – Punch
  • Uke – Block
  • Gedan Geri – Low Roundhouse Kick
  • Kin Geri – Groin Kick
  • Mae Geri – Front Kick
  • Mae Geri Keage – Front Snap Kick
  • Mae Geri Kekomi – Front Thrust Kick
  • Mae Tobi Geri – Jumping Front Kick
  • Uchi Mikazuki Geri – Inside Crescent Kick, In-To-Out Crescent Kick, etc.
  • Nidan Tobi Geri also known as Nidan Geri – Jumping Double Front Kick
  • Otoshi Mawashi Geri – Downward Roundhouse Kick, Circular Falling Kick, Falling Roundhouse Kick, etc.
  • Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku – Tornado Kick
  • Tobi Geri – Jumping Kick
  • Tobi Hiza Geri – Jumping Knee Strike
  • Tobi Mae Geri or Mae Tobi Geri – Jumping Front Kick
  • Tobi Mawashi Geri – Jumping Roundhouse Kick
  • Tobi Ushiro Geri – Jumping Back Kick
  • Hiza Geri – Knee Strike
  • Kakato Otoshi Geri – Axe Kick – Sometimes only referred to as Kakato Geri.
  • Kansetsu Geri – Joint Kick (usually attacking an opponent’s knee)
  • Mawashi Geri – Roundhouse Kick
  • Mikazuki Geri – Crescent Kick
  • Ura Mawashi Geri – Reverse Roundhouse Kick or Hook Kick
  • Geri – Spinning Reverse Roundhouse Kick, Spinning Wheel Kick, Spinning Hook Kick, etc.
  • Ushiro Geri – Back Kick
  • Ushiro Geri Keage – Back Snap Kick
  • Ushiro Geri Kekomi – Back Thrust Kick
  • Yoko Geri – Side Kick
  • Keage – Side Snap Kick
  • Yoko Geri Kekomi – Side Thrust Kick
  • Yoko Tobi Geri – Jumping Side Kick or Flying Side Kick
  • Age-Zuki (Age-Tsuki) – Rising Punch
  • Choku-Zuki (Choku-Tsuki) – Straight Punch
  • Gyaku-Zuki (Gyaku-Tsuki) – Reverse Punch
  • Haishu Uchi – Back Hand Strike
  • Haito – Ridge Hand Strike
  • Hasami Zuki – Scissor Punch
  • Kage-Zuki – Hook Punch
  • Kizami-Tsuki – Jab Punch
  • Maswashi-Tsuki – Roundhouse Punch
  • Morote-Zuki (Morote-Tsuki) – Double Fist Punch or Double U Punch
  • Nukite – Spear Hand Strike
  • Nihon Two Finger Spear
  • Oi-Tsuki – Lunge Punch
  • Shuto – Knife Hand Strike
  • Tate-Tsuki – Vertical Punch
  • Teisho Palm Heel Strike
  • Tobikomi Zuki – Snap Punch
  • Uraken – Back Fist Strike
  • Ura-Tsuki – Upside-Down Punch or Inverted Punch (To The Solar Plexus)
  • Yama-Tsuki – Two-Level Double Punch or Mountain Punch
  • Tobi Yoko Geri or Yoko Tobi Geri – Jumping Side Kick or Flying Side Kick
  • Tsumasaki Geri – Toe Kick
  • Uchi Haisoku Geri – Twist Kick, Instep Kick, etc.
  • Age Uke – Rising block
  • Ashi waza – Foot and leg techniques
  • Atemi – Strike to a vital area
  • Atemi waza – Striking Techniques
  • Dori (Toru) – To grab or capture.
  • Hadaka Jime – Naked strangle
  • Henka – Variation
  • Juji Gatame – Cross lock/armbar
  • Juji Jime – Cross choke
  • Juji Uke )- Cross block
  • Kaeshi ·- Countering Techniques. (Kaeshi also means to turn)
  • Makkikomi – Winding throw
  • De Ashi Barai – Advancing Foot Sweep
  • Jiyu Kumite – Free sparring
  • Ippon Seoi Nage – One arm shoulder throw
  • Irimi nage – Entering throw
  • Ensho – Round heel
  • Jodan Uke – High block
  • Kagi Tsuki – Hook punch
  • Kaishu – Open hand
  • Hiji Ate – Elbow strike
  • Hiraken Tsuki – Horizontal fist punch
  • Hiza Ate – Knee strike
  • Hiza geri – Knee strike/kick
  • Kake – The point at which a throw will take it’s maximal effect
  • Kamae – Posture (or stance)
  • Kani basami – Crab scissors
  • Kansetsu – Joint Locking
  • Kansetsu waza – Joint Locking techniques Kata-gatame – Shoulder pin
  • Kata-guruma – Shoulder wheel (fireman’s lift throw)
  • Kata-ha-jime – Single wing strangle
  • Katame – Lock/Hold
  • Katame Waza – Joint locking/immobilizing techniques.
  • Kappo/Katsu – Resucitation & revival techniques
  • Keri – Kick
  • Keri waza – Kicking techniques
  • Kesa Gatame – Scarf hold
  • Kesa-Giri – Sash cut – A diagonal cut with a Japanese sword from shoulder to hip.
  • Ko-soto-gari/gake ·- Minor/small outer reap/prop
  • Kote Gaeshi – Wrist turnout lock/throw
  • Ko-uchi-gari/gake – Minor inner reap/prop
  • Koshi guruma – Hip wheel throw
  • Ogoshi – Major/Large hip throw
  • O-guruma – Major/Large Wheel
  • O-soto-gari/gake – Major/Large outer reap/prop
  • O-soto-guruma – Major/Large outer wheel
  • O-soto-makkikomi – Major/Large outer winding throw
  • O-soto-otoshi – Major outer drop
  • O-uchi-gari/gake – Major inner reap/prop
  • Nigiri – Grip (Gyakute nigiri -reversehand grip – Junte Nigiri – Normal grip)
  • Nage – Throw
  • Nage-no-kata – Throwing kata (usually used to refer to the Kodokan Nage-no-kata)
  • Nage waza – Throwing methods

Commands & responses

  • Hajime – Begin/Start
  • Kiotsuke – Attention
  • Hai – Yes
  • Iie – No
  • Mo Ichi Do – One More Time
  • Rei – Bow
  • Yame – Stop
  • Kiwostuke – Attention
  • Mate – Wait
  • Otagai-ne-rei – Mutual bow to all assembled

Japanese Martial Arts Concepts

  • Ki – Type of intrinsic energy. Known as Qi or Chi in Chinese martial arts.
  • Mushin – Void or State of No Mind
  • Do/Michi – (the) Way
  • Budo – Martial ways (literally “way(s) of war)
  • Go-no-sen – Responsive initiative
  • Hyoshi – Timing/rhythm
  • Ma-ai – Combative Distancing
  • Kime – Focus
  • Kuzushi – Unbalancing
  • Munen mushin – Striking without conscience
  • Mokuso – Meditation
  • Mushin – No-mindedness
  • Zanshin – Vigilance or awareness after a technique has been performed.

List of Japanese Nouns

  • Anata – You
  • Dojo – School (“Place of the Way”)
  • Gi – Uniform
  • Obi – Belt
  • Sensei – Teacher/Instructor
  • Tatami – Practice/Training Mat
  • Bokken – Wooden sword
  • Watashi – I (Me)
  • Senpai or Sempai – Senior Student
  • Deshi – Student of a system
  • Ani-deshi – Senior student in the dojo (Lit: Big brother student)
  • Katana – Japanese sword.
  • Kodachi – Short sword. (Alternative term: Wakizashi or Shoto)
  • Kohai – Beginner or junior student in the dojo
  • Kyu – Coloured belt
  • Naginata – A long polearm with a large cutting blade

How to Say “Hello” and “Thank You” in Japanese plus other Japanese terminology

  • Domo – Thank You (Informal)
  • Domo Arigato – Thank You (Formal)
  • Dozo – Please
  • Sayonara – Goodbye