Pronunciation keys of Japanese terms are given in parentheses.
How to read Japanese in English alphabet (rōmaji):
English vowels a=ah, i=ee, u=oo, e=eh and o=oh
A macron or a line over a vowel indicates that it is pronounced for twice the length of the vowel without a macron or a line. Sometimes an “h” is added instead, as in Mr. Ohshima’s name. The first “o” in Mr. Ono’s name, on the other hand, is not lengthened. Ohno and Ono are two different names. However, these sounds are just approximations and there are some exceptions.
Please note that the pronunciation keys given here are only approximations and are primarily designed for the members in the U.S. and Canada. They may not necessarily be helpful for the members of international affiliates.
ku (koo) / kyū (kyoo)
Head instructor/Master instructor (of an organization)
keiko gi (keh-ee-koh gee)/gi (gee)
Training uniform belt
Vocal expulsion of air
Black Belt rank
White/Brown belt rank
rei (reh-ee)/lei (leh-ee)
Pivot/assume opposite direction
Maximum effectiveness/ focus of techniques
Breathing center in lower abdomen
Getting into the opponent
enpi (ehn-pee)/ empi(ehm-pee)
renzoku waza (rehn-zoh-koo wah-zah)
Standing Forms: Tachikata (tah-chee-kah-tah)
Tachi (tah-chee) changes to dachi (dah-chee) when used after other words.
Horse riding stance
Blocks: Uke (oo-keh)
Harai (hah-rah-ee) changes to barai (bah-rah-ee) when used after other words. Harai is one kind of block.
Distance, timing, and other things between opponents
rei (reh-ee) / lei (leh-ee)
One point match
shōbu ippon (shoh-boo eep-pohn)
I award no point
One more time
mō ichido (moh ee-chee-doh)
End of match
soko made (soh-koh mah-deh) / sore made (soh-reh mah-deh)
waza ari (wah-zah ah-ree)
Two half-points equal one point
waza ari awasete ippon (wah-zah ah-ree ah-wah-seh-teh eep-pohn)
Red is the winner
aka no kachi (ah-kah noh kah-chee)
shinpan (sheen-pahn) / shimpan (sheem-pahn)
Throwing Techniques: Nagewaza (nah-geh-wah-zah)
(Names of techniques)
Performer of the technique
Receiver of the technique
For more information on nagewaza, please refer to Karate-Dō Kyōhan, pages 227-232.
When Shihan or Sensei is used as an honorific or a title, there are a few important things one needs to be aware of:
Shihan or Sensei is attached to the end of the person’s family name, e.g., Ohshima Shihan (not Shihan Ohshima), Ohshima Sensei (not Sensei Ohshima)
According to the Japanese culture, it is not appropriate to call oneself Shihan or Sensei, or introduce oneself with the title Shihan or Sensei, e.g., Instructor John Doe shouldn’t call himself Shihan, Sensei, Doe Shihan or Doe Sensei. His students can, but he shouldn’t.
The same thing applies to the honorific san (meaning Mr., Mrs., or Miss). Mr. John Smith shouldn’t call himself Smith-san or John Smith-san. San can be attached only to the end of others’ names.