Other Japanese terms

Onegaishimasu – [oh-nay-guy-she-mus]

Said at the start of each session with a bow.

Onegai form of the word negau, meaning ‘wish’ and Shimasu, the formal form of the verb suru, meaning ‘to do’. Not just used in martial arts, also in the every day as a greeting, but in karate this has been translated to mean ‘please teach me’, ‘I’m in your care’, ‘let’s connect, take care and have good connections here in the dojo’!

Humble, polite connection to start the session.


Arigatou gozaimasu – [ah-ree-gah-toh goh-zah-ee-mas] – (ありがとうございます)

Formal thank you to Sensei and to each other.

‘Arigatou’ – from ‘ari’- to have and ‘gatou’ – difficult

‘I am thankful as it [the learning] is difficult to have’ – arigato on its own is less formal, more like saying ‘thanks’. Gozaimasu is an addition to arigato meaning ‘it is’ making it for formal use, perfect at the end of training together.


“ganbatte!” [gan-baht-tay] -(頑張って)

From the verb “to persist”, used as encouragement, translates as something like “Good luck!”, “Go for it!”, “Come on!”, “You can do it!” etc. Something you’d say to a friend about to do an exam, job interview, or yell at a sports event, such as Kumite match.

And as a reply you could say “ganbarimasu” [gan-bari-mass] (頑張ります) “I will do my best”