All techniques and class protocols are called in Japanese. It can be intimidating! Don’t panic, you are not expected to know everything right away and we’ll work with you to build your understanding over time.


This is arguably the most important word in Kyokushin. Osu is taken from the phrase Osu no Seishin (Spirit of Osu) 押忍の精神 which essentially means to persevere, to push the envelope of endurance.

In addition to this translation it carries many intentions and you will hear it constantly in the Dojo. We say Osu as a sign of respect whenever we enter or leave the Dojo, when we greet and bow to each other, and at the beginning and end of each training session. We say Osu when we receive instruction to show appreciation and indicate understanding.

OSU is pronounced “OOS” with a short OO sound (as in look, book) and an almost silent U.

Essential words and phrases for beginners

Here is a list of common words and techniques that you’ll find most useful to get started with. Most techniques are described by 3 things: where and how you are hitting/striking/blocking as well as what you are using.

Think: TARGET + METHOD + WEAPON (not necessarily in that order!)

Basic instructions
Shomen (face the) front of dojo
Shomen ni rei Bow to the front of the dojo
Seiza Kneel
Mokuso Close eyes
Mokuso yame Open eyes
Tatte Stand
Yoi Ready
Hajime Start/go/begin
Yame Stop
Yasume Rest, be at ease
Otagai ni rei Bow to each other
Arigatou gozaimasu
Arigatou gozaimashita
Thank you – present tense
Thank you – past tense
Directional words
Migi Right
Hidari Left
Mae Front
Ushiro Back
Soto Outside
Uchi Inside
Mawashi Round
Levels of the body
Jodan Upper body: neck, head
Chudan Middle body: torso
Gedan Lower body: groin, legs
Ichi 1 Nijuu 20
Ni 2 Sanjuu 30
San 3 Yonjuu 40
Shi (yon) 4 Yonjuu-go(-do) 45 (degrees)
Go 5 Gogjuu 50
Roku 6 Kyujuu(-do) 90 (degrees)
Shichi (nana) 7 Hyaku 100
Hachi 8 Hyaku-hachiju(-do) 180 (degrees)
Kyu 9
Juu 10
Tsuki Punch
Uchi Strike
Uke Block
Barai Parry (block)
Geri Kick
Weapons – Arms + Hands
Seiken Fore fist
Uraken Back fist/snap fist
Shuto Knifehand
Hiji Elbow
Weapons – Legs + feet
Chusoku Ball of foot
Haisoku Instep
Kakato Heel
Sokuto Foot outside edge
Hiza Knee

Please note that not all of the words and phrases above are direct translations, rather their meaning in context of the Dojo/karate class.