Basic Karate Terminology

 

SENSEI

A literal translation of this term means "teacher", however, it is a term reserved for the head instructor of the Karate school holding the rank of 4th degree Black Belt or higher.

 

DOJO

The actual training area in the Karate school.

 

OSU

Pronounced oos, it is an important and multi‑functional term used often in the Karate school. It is derived from the Japanese phrase Onore‑Wa Shinobu, meaning, "I will persevere", which is the training philosophy behind the martial arts. The term, as employed today, is always respectful of this attitude. Some uses in the Karate school are:

   when first entering or leaving the dojo in conjunction with a standing bow made in the direction of the front of the dojo;

   at the beginning and ending of a training class under the direction of the instructor in conjunction with a kneeling bow after opening and closing meditation;

   when answering a question directed to you in the affirmative, both singly and as a group;

   when bowing to a fellow student before and after partner practices.

These examples are by no means exhaustive, but will provide the beginner with an initial understanding of the application of this term.

 

KAMIZA

The front of the dojo recognizable by the traditional portraits of the founders of Karate or the teachers of the particular Karate style being taught, and usually an appropriate calligraphy of philosophical connotation. It is from the Kamiza, or upper seat, that the instructor will conduct classes or examinations.

 

KIO‑TSUKE

Pronounced Kit‑skay, meaning attention. At the command of "Kio‑tsuke" students must assume the attention position, feet together and hands at their sides.

 

SEIZA

"Kneel into bowing position". From standing, the left leg is bent to the floor, then the right. The student then sits back on his heels with his hands in front of him on his thighs and the back straight.

 

MOKSO

The command given at the meditation before the training session,  which means, "clear your mind" in preparation to receive instruction.

 

HANSEI

The command given at closing meditation after the training session, which means "to recollect" something you have learned that lesson.

 

SHOMEN‑NI REI

The command which means "to the front, bow".

 

SENSEI‑NI REI

"To the sensei bow."

 

U‑DAN‑SHA‑NI REI

"To the Black Belts, bow."

 

SHUGO

The command given at the beginning of a class meaning "come together", i.e. line up facing the "Kamiza" in order of rank with your senior being to your left.

 

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