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Basic Japanese and Class Terms

JAPANESE PRONUNCIATION GUIDE

 

Contrary to what many perceive, the Japanese language is one of the easiest languages to learn to speak correctly. For those of us who train in the first truly Japanese style of Karatedo, learning the basics of Japanese, or Nihon, should be as actively practiced -on and off the dojo floor- as the basic techniques of Wado itself. By learning basic pronunciation, we not only add to our knowledge of the culture and country that gave birth to the art we practice, but in doing so, we show our respect for its origins and those willing to share its secrets with those of us outside its borders.

 

Japanese is essentially syllabic; which means that words are broken into individual syllables, much the same as those languages westerners are perhaps more familiar with. However, the inherent problem we westerners have with Japanese words is not in their syllables -- it's with their vowels; and once you get past those differences, you'll be on your way to correct pronunciation! So, as you explore and familiarize yourself with our Budo and Karatedo terminology, use the following vowel guide to aid you in your pronunciation.

 

 

VOWEL PRONUNCIATION

 

a) Pronounced: ah. Example: rajah

e) Pronounced: eh -- as a short ay sound. Example: take

i) Pronounced: ee. Example: see

o) Pronounced: oh. Example: no

u) Pronounced: oo. Example: cool

 

 

COMMONLY USED VOWEL-CONSONANT COMBINATIONS

 

ai) Pronounced: eye

ei) Pronounced: ayee

tsu) Pronounced: dzoo

ite) Pronounced: eetay

chi) Pronounced: chee

 

 

ADDITIONAL PRONUNCIATION REMINDERS

 

The letter 'g' is always pronounced hard -- as in the word go.

 

The letter 'j' is always pronounced soft -- as in the word jump.

 

When used as the last letter, and when following the letter 's', the letter 'u' is not emphasized. For example; the word jutsu is pronounced, 'joots', leaving off the sound of the vowel 'u' at the end.

 

BASIC TERMS and CLASS COMMANDS

 

BUSHIDO ::: Way of The Warrior
                
DOJO ::: Place to Study The Way
                
WADO ::: Way of Harmony or Peace
                
RYU ::: Style / Current / River
                
REI ::: Bow
                
SENSEI ::: Teacher / One who went before
                
KIAI ::: Harmonious energy sound (karate yell)
                
MATTE ::: Stop
                
HAJIME ::: Begin
                
YOI ::: Prepare / Open
                
NAOREI ::: Prepare to bow
                
YUDANSHA ::: Black Belt
                
KYU ::: Under Black Belt / Colored Belt
                
SEMPAI ::: Senior
                
KOHAI ::: Junior
                
OBI ::: Belt or sash
                
DO GI / KARATE GI ::: Literally, 'Way clothing' -- your uniform
                
MAEWATTE ::: Turn
                
SEIRETSU ::: Line up
                
KEIRETSU ::: Stand
                
TE ::: Hand
                
KARATE ::: Empty hand
                
DO ::: Way
                
SHOMEN NI REI ::: Bow to the front (shomen)
                
OTAGAI NI REI ::: Bow to our fellow students
                
SENSEI NI REI ::: Bow to the instructor
                
GEDAN ::: Low level (of the body: knees to waist)
                
CHUDAN ::: Middle level (waist to chest)
                
JODAN ::: High or upper level (Chest to head)
                
TORRE ::: Attacker / giver of energy
                
UKE ::: Defender / receiver of energy
                
                
NIHON-GO BAN :: BASIC JAPANESE NUMBERS and COUNTING
                
1. ICHI ::: One
                
2. NI ::: Two
                
3. SAN ::: Three
                
4. SHI ::: Four
                
5. GO ::: Five
                
6. ROKU ::: Six
                
7. SHICHI ::: Seven
                
8. HACHI ::: Eight
                
9. KYU ::: Nine
                
10. JIYU ::: Ten