Karate Info

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Karate ni sente nashi..... there is no first attack in Karate.

A key point in Karate is that it should never be used first or in aggression. This doesn't mean that you can't hit first if you think you are under serious threat of attack, it does mean that you should only use Karate as a last resort.

If there is any way you can escape, evade or defuse the situation then this should be used in preference to acts of violence. If you have no other option but to strike back then this should always be in proportion to the threat or attack. 

"Sword and mind must be united. Technique by itself is insufficient, and spirit alone is not enough."



Bow when entering or leaving the Dojo

Be punctual and ready to start

Bow at the beginning and end of the lesson, also before and after Kumite/Kata.

The most senior instructor should be addressed as "Sensei" (pronounced "sen-say")

Remove jewellery, gum etc and keep finger nails short

If in doubt raise your hand to ask, keep all chatter to a minimum during instruction

Anyone leaving the Dojo during the lesson should kneel when they return and wait to be acknowledged by the instructor, always go behind the line of students to avoid accidents

Inform the instructor if you have any injuries or aches before or during the lesson

A minimum of 10 hours instruction must be completed inbetween gradings, you will also need your instructors approval to be able to grade.

Most of all train hard with 100% effort!


DoJo KUN: a set of five guiding principles for training

Seek Perfection of Character

Be Faithful

Endeavour to excel

Respect others

Refrain from violent behaviour



The Shōtōkan niju kun are the "twenty instructions" of the Okinawan martial arts master Gichin Funakoshi which all students of Shotokan Karate are encouraged to live, practice, and teach to others

  1. Karate-do begins and ends with courtesy
  2. There is no first strike in karate. 
  3. Karate stands on the side of justice. 
  4. First know yourself, then know others. 
  5. Mentality over technique. 
  6. The heart must be set free. 
  7. Calamity springs from carelessness. 
  8. Karate goes beyond thedojo. 
  9. Karate is a lifelong pursuit. 
  10. Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty. 
  11. Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state.
  12. Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing.
  13. Make adjustments according to your opponent.
  14. The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength).
  15. Think of hands and feet as swords.
  16. When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.
  17. Formal stances are for beginners; later, one stands naturally.
  18. Perform prescribed sets of techniques exactly; actual combat is another matter
  19. Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.
  20. Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way.



Ten Precepts (Tode Jukun) of Karate

In October 1908, Itosu wrote a letter, "Ten Precepts (Tode Jukun) of Karate," to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of War in Japan. A translation of that letter reads:

Ten Precepts of Karate

Karate did not develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin-ryu school and the Shorei-ryu school were brought to Okinawa from China. Both of these schools have strong points, which I will now mention before there are too many changes:

1.      Karate is not merely practiced for your own benefit; it can be used to protect one's family or master. It is not intended to be used against a single assailant but instead as a way of avoiding a fight should one be confronted by a villain or ruffian.

2.      The purpose of karate is to make the muscles and bones hard as rock and to use the hands and legs as spears. If children were to begin training in Tang Te while in elementary school, then they will be well suited for military service. Remember the words attributed to the Duke of Wellington after he defeated Napoleon: "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."

3.      Karate cannot be quickly learned. Like a slow moving bull, it eventually travels a thousand miles. If one trains diligently every day, then in three or four years one will come to understand karate. Those who train in this fashion will discover karate.

4.      In karate, training of the hands and feet are important, so one must be thoroughly trained on the makiwara. In order to do this, drop your shoulders, open your lungs, take hold of your strength, grip the floor with your feet, and sink your energy into your lower abdomen. Practice using each arm one to two hundred times each day.

5.      When one practices the stances of Tang Te, be sure to keep your back straight, lower your shoulders, put strength in your legs, stand firmly, and drop your energy into your lower abdomen.

6.      Practice each of the techniques of karate repeatedly, the use of which is passed by word of mouth. Learn the explanations well, and decide when and in what manner to apply them when needed. Enter, counter, release is the rule of releasing hand (torite).

7.      You must decide if karate is for your health or to aid your duty.

8.      When you train, do so as if on the battlefield. Your eyes should glare, shoulders drop, and body harden. You should always train with intensity and spirit, and in this way you will naturally be ready.

9.      One must not overtrain; this will cause you to lose the energy in your lower abdomen and will be harmful to your body. Your face and eyes will turn red. Train wisely.

10.  In the past, masters of karate have enjoyed long lives. Karate aids in developing the bones and muscles. It helps the digestion as well as the circulation. If karate should be introduced beginning in the elementary schools, then we will produce many men each capable of defeating ten assailants. I further believe this can be done by having all students at the Okinawa Teachers' College practice karate. In this way, after graduation, they can teach at the elementary schools at which they have been taught. I believe this will be a great benefit to our nation and our military. It is my hope you will seriously consider my suggestion.

Anko Itosu, October 1908

This letter was influential in the spread of karate.


Karate Terminology

AGE UKE , upper rising block, generally used to guard against an attack to the face; can also be used effectively as an attack

AGE ZUKI (TSUKI), rising punch. Seen in the kata Empi

ASHI BARAI, foot/leg sweep

BUNKAI, an analysis of the techniques and application of kata

BUSHIDO, way of the warrior

CHOKU ZUKI, straight punch = kara zuki

CHUDAN UKE, middle level block. A general term for middle level blocks

CHUDAN ZUKI , a punch to the mid-section of the opponent's body

DOJO, place of the way, the place where martial art is practised

EMBUSEN , performance line of a given kata

EMPI/ ENPI, elbow

EMPI UCHI, elbow strike also called hiji ate

EMPI UKE, Elbow block. A general term for the blocking action using the elbow

GEDAN BARAI, lower level sweep

GEDAN BARAI UKE, lower level sweeping block, same as the gedan barai but using it as a block

GEDAN, lower section of body

GEDAN UKE, lower Level block

GEDAN ZUKI, a punch to the lower section

GERI /KERI , kick.

GOHON KUMITE, five steps basic sparring. The attacker steps and attacks five times one after the other , attacking on each step,while the defender steps back five times, blocking each technique. After the fifth block, the defender applies a counter-attack, usually jodan tsoki then chudan tsoki, maigeri chudan, ma washi geri jodan, yokogeri chudan and the final technique is ushirio geri kekumi

GYAKU ZUKI, reverse punch

HACHIJI DACHI, open leg stance. The feet are positioned about one shoulder width apart and pointed outwards at 45 degrees

HAJIME, begin. It is the command given to start a given technique, kata, or kumite

HARA, abdomen

HEISOKU DACHI, an informal attention stance

HIDARI, left (left side) 

HOMBU DOJO, it is the term used to refer to the central dojo

IPPON KUMITE, basic one-step sparring

JIYU IPPON KUMITE, one step free sparring. The participants can attack with any technique, whenever ready

JIYU KUMITE, free sparring

JODAN UKE, high level block

JODAN, upper level, neck and above

JUJI UKE, X-block

KARATE, empty hand

KARATE-DO, Way of Karate, not only the physical aspect of karate

KARATEKA, a practitioner of karate

KEAGE, kick up, snapping kick

KEKOMI, thrust kick (literally, kick into/straight)

TETTSUI UCHI , hammer fist strike

KIAI, spirit focus a focusing yell,One should try to preserve the feeling of kiai within techniques

KIBA DACHI , straddle stance, horse riding stance

KIHON, fundamental. Used to refer to basic techniques

KIME , focus of power; decisive technique (“decision”)

KIZAMI ZUKI, jabbing punch

KOKUTSU DACHI , back stance

KOSA UKE, crossed block

KUMITE, sparring

MAE ASHI GERI, kicking with the front leg

MAE GERI, front kick

MAE GERI KEAGE , front snapping kick

MAE GERI KEKOMI, front thrust kick

MAWASHI GERI, roundhouse kick

MAWATTE, this is a command given to turn around

MIGI, right (right side)

MIKAZUKI GERI, crescent kick

MOKUSO, meditation . This is practice often begging or at the end of training, with a brief period of meditation

MOROTE UKE, assisted block. One arm and fist supports the other arm

MOROTE ZUKI /AWASE ZUKI, U-punch. Punching with both fists simultaneously

MUSUBI DACHI, Informal attention stance, heels placed together, feet at 90 degrees, but with each foot turned out at 45 degree

NEKO-ASHI DACHI, cat's foot stance, or as commonly called, cat stance

NUKITE, spear hand, straight thrust

OI ZUKI, lunge punch

REI, respect. This is a way of showing respect in Japanese culture to each other by bowing

REN GERI, consecutive kicking, alternate kicking, for example: left and then right

SANBON KUMITE, three step sparring

SANBON ZUKI, A series of three punches, generally the first is oi zuki jodan, followed by a slight pause then two chudan oi zuki

SEN NO SEN , attacking at the exact moment when the opponent attacks

SEN SEN NO SEN, attacking before the opponent attacks – pre-emptive attack

SHIHON NUKITE, four finger strike

SHIZEN DACHI, natural stance, body relaxed but alert 

SHUTO UCHI , knife hand strike

SHUTO UKE, knife-hand block 

SOTO UDE UK, outside forearm block or sometimes said as lower wrist block. Block from outside inward

SOTO UKE, outside block, normally a shortened version of soto ude uke

TE, hand

TETTSUI UCHI bottom fist strike

UCHI UDE UKE, inside forearm block. Block from inside outward

UCHI-UKE, inside block generally used as a short version of uchi ude uke

UDE UKE, forearm block

UKE, block

URAKEN, back knuckle; back-fist

URAKEN UCHI, back fist strike

URAKEN UKE, back fist block

USHIRO, back or rear

USHIRO GERI, back kick

YAMA ZUKI, U-shaped double punch

YOI , ready

YOKO EMPI UCHI, side elbow strike

YOKO GERI KEAGE, side snap kick.

YOKO GERI KEKOMI, side thrust kick

YOKO GERI, side kick

YOKO, side

YORI ASHI, sliding the feet, moving both feet at the same time without changing

ZANSHIN, remaining in a balanced and aware state after a technique has been completed

ZENKUTSU DACHI, forward stance. The actual translation means front knee bent stance

ZUKI / TSUKI, punching



Ichi = 1

Ni = 2

San = 3

Shi = 4

Go = 5

Roku = 6

Shichi = 7

Hachi = 8

Ku = 9

Ju = 10