Useful Information

Dojo Etiquette Karateka should treat their Art and Dojo with respect. Karateka should observe the training schedule and should not be late for training. Upon entering the Dojo, show respect by bowing and saying 'Oss'. If you are late and the class has begun, stop at the door, kneel in the seiza position and await acknowledgement from the Sensei. When the Sensei enters the Dojo, karateka should face him / her and bow. There should be no idle talking in the Dojo - it is disrespectful. When the class begins, line up smartly, with juniors to the left, in straight lines looking to your right and to your front. When a Sempai gives you some advice listen carefully and sincerely. Do not forget to show that you have heard and understood the advice. Bow & say 'Oss'. Always bow with appreciation and respect. When you observe the training in the Dojo, kneel in seiza or stand quietly. Never lean against walls or slouch as this shows disrespect. When the Sensei calls for 'Mokuso' (meditation), close your eyes, breathe deeply from the lower stomach and try to achieve concentration. Always try to keep your training clothes clean and tidy. Keep your nails short to prevent injury to other karateka. Jewellery and makeup should not be worn in the Dojo. Any rings that cannot be removed must be taped up to prevent injury. If beginners and coloured belts have any questions they should ask the senior Karateka. Bow upon leaving the Dojo. Remember that Shotokan always begins and ends with courtesy. Bow upon leaving the Dojo. Remember that Shotokan always begins and ends with courtesy. Do not think that Shotokan training is only in the Dojo.

Kime (pronounced Kim-eh), is an explosive movement, whether it be a punch, kick or block, to the target, using the correct technique combined with maximum power and delivered in the briefest time available.

It is a concentration or focus of all the bodies energy into that split second a technique reaches its target.

Any non-karateka can kick and punch relatively fast, some faster and stronger than others depending on their sheer physique. Karate technique though is attained through correct contraction and expansion of certain muscle groups, and therefore does not rely on body-weight or size.

Suppleness too is an important factor in maximising the tension and relaxation of the muscle groups involved.

The breath is exhaled sharply at exactly the same moment in time and is often accompanied by the 'Kiai'.

The kime itself must be explosive and quick and must not be held for long as it will lose its effectiveness. Therefore the Kiai must also be explosive and quick and not held for too long.

A Japanese Sensei once explained that "Correct kime should be the length of time it would take to crush/squeeze a small egg in the palm of your hand", and indeed the actual kiai itself should last approximately the same amount of time.

Another way of understanding the very essence of Kime is to liken our normal energy to that of sunlight. Strong indeed but add the use of a magnifying glass lens and place onto a specific point and that same light becomes devastatingly more powerful. The non-karateka would have the normal energy but the good karateka using the full effect of kime would create that awesome extra power.

Nakayama Shihan stated:
'A technique lacking Kime can never be regarded as true karate, no matter how great the resemblance,'......'Karate without kime is like a tree that does not bear fruit.'

Ichi - One

Ni - Two

San - Three

Shi - Four

Go - Five

Roku - Six

Shichi - Seven

Hachi - Eight

Kuu - Nine

Juu - Ten


Shizentai - Ready stance

Zenkutsu-dachi - Front stance

Koh-kutsu-dachi - Back stance

Kiba-dachi Horse stance

Neko-ashi-dachi - Cat's leg stance

Sochin-dachi/Fudo-dachi - "Immovable" stance

Sanchin-dachi - "Hourglass" stance

Hangetsu-dachi - "Half moon" stance

Arm Attacks

Tsuki - Punch

Oi-tsuki - Lunge punch

Gyaku-tsuki - Reverse punch

Kizami-tsuki - Jab punch

Nukite - Spear-hand

Ura-ken - Back Fist

Empi - Elbow

Leg Attacks

Keri/Geri - Kick

Mae-geri - Front (snap) kick

Mawashi-geri - Round house kick

(Yoko-geri) - Kekomi Side thrust kick

(Yoko-geri) - Keage Side snap kick

Ushiro Geri - Back kick

Target Areas

Jo-dan - Head/Face/"upper" level

Chu-dan - Stomach/"middle" level

Ge-dan - Groin/"lower" level


Age-uke - Rising block

Soto-ude-uke - Outside block

Uchi-ude-uke - Inside block

Ge-dan barai - Lower block/"lower level sweep"

Shuto-uke - Knife-hand block

Nagashi Uke - Deflecting block

Additional Vocabulary

Aka - White

Ashi - Leg

Choku - Straight

Co-hai - Junior Student

Dojo - Training Hall (literally "Way-place")

Hajime - Begin/start

Hid-ari - Left

Ken - Fist

Kiai - Spirit shout

Kumite - Sparring

Mae - Front

Migi - Right

Moku-so - "Quiet meditation"

Obi - Belt

Rei - Bow

Seiza - Kneeling (literally "correct sitting")

Sempai - Senior student

Shiro - Red

Ta-te - Vertical

Ushiro - Back

Yameh - Stop

Yohi - Ready/Attention

Yudansha - Black-belt grades


All vowels are short, as follows:

"a" as in "father"

"e" as in "bet"

"i" as in "teen" but shorter

"o" as in "boat" but shorter

"u" as in "shoot" but shorter

Consonants always take their hard sounds. Therefore "Karate-Gi" (karate suit) is pronounced "Gee".

The hyphens are added to separate the syllables clearly and shouldn't be paused.

Hitotsu, jinkaku kansei ni tsutomurukoto - One, to work towards the perfection of character

Hitotsu, makoto no michi wo mamorukoto - One, to protect the path of truth

Hitotsu, doryoku no seishin wo yashinaukoto - One, to nurture the spirit of hard work

Hitotsu, reigi wo omonzurukoto - One, to give weight to courtesy and respect

Hitotsu, kekki no yuu wo imashimurukoto - One, to reign in impetuousness

The five precepts can be distilled to a more manageable format:
1. Character
2. Sincerity
3. Effort
4. Etiquette
5. Self-control