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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
       
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     Lirterally, '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; 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. JU     Ten
       

 

 

 

 

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