Common Japanese Phrases Used in Dojo

Traditional karate utilizes a lot of Japanese for giving instruction. No one expects you to become fluent in Japanese! But over time, students will learn these key phrases simply from participating. Aside from counting in Japanese, students will eventually learn the following:

Beginning/End of Class

English TranslationJapanese PhrasePronunciationKanji
Good Morning
(Before 12pm)
ohayo gozaimasuOhio Go-zi-amos-uおはようございます
Good Afternoon
(12pm - 6pm)
konnichi wa
Cone Eat-chi-waこんにちわ
Good Evening
(After 6pm)
konbanwaCone Bawn-waこんばんわ
Line Up
SeiretsuSay-de-tsu
せいれつ
Straighten/Fix your gi and obiUshiro O Muite Gi Toh Obi O NaosuU-she-doe-o Moo-ee-tay Gee To Obi O Nay-o-sue-
Face the front
ShomenShow-men
正面
Sit down
SeizaSay-za
正座
Bow to the front wall
Shomen Ni Rei
Show-men Nee Ray
正面に礼
Bow to SenseiSensei Ni Rei
Sensei Nee Ray
先生に礼

Kata

English TranslationJapanese PhrasePronunciationKanji
Forms (Stylized Fighting)KataKa-tah
AttentionKiotsukeKi-O-suh-kay気を付け
BowReiRey
Beginning (start)HajimeHa-Gee-may
はじめ
ReadyYoiYo-yeよい
StopYameYa-mayやめ
Repeat (One more time)Mou ichidoMo-ee-chi-dohもういちど

Other Common Phrases in the Dojo

English TranslationJapanese PhrasePronunciationKanji
Way of the Empty HandKarate-doKara-tey-doe空手
Weapons techniquesKobudoKo-bude-oh沖縄古武道
SparringKumiteKume-it-ay組手
Joint/Pressure Point techniquesTuiteToo-it-tay OR Tweed-e取手術
Grappling/Throwing martial artJudoJoo-doh柔道
Takedowns/striking martial artJujutsuJoo-jit-soo柔術
StudentKaratekaKara-teh-ka空手家
Head Student (1-3rd degree)SempaiSem-pie先輩
Teacher (4th dan+)SenseiSen-say先生
Polished Teacher
(4th dan+, awarded title)
RenshiRen-she錬士
Model Teacher (6th dan +)KyōshiKey-o-she教士
Grand Master (8-10th dan)HanshiHan-she範士
ReadyYoiYo-e良い
Bow with respectReiRay
Bow to each otherOtagai ni Reioh-tah-gah-ee nee rayお互いに礼
Please Teach Me (to training partner)OnegaishimasuOwn-ee-gaash-a-mas-ooお願いします
Thank You Very Much (informal)Domo arigatou Dome-o Are-re-gatoどうもありがとう
Thank You Very Much (formal)Domo arigatou gozaimasuDome-o Are-re-gato Goze-ay-a-mas-ooどうもありがとうございます
Thank You (casual)Domo OR Arigatou
(one or the other)
Dome-o OR
Are-re-gato
どうも
You Are WelcomeDōitashimashiteDoe-ee-tash-ee-ma-she-tayどういたしまして
Training HallDojoDoe-joe道場
YesHaiHiはい
NoIyeaE - Aいいえ
Short yellKiaiKee-ai気合
UniformGiGee
BeltObiOh-bee
Kata applicationsBunkaiBoon-kai分解

Back to Dojo Things-To-Know