Some thoughts on Karate-Do (PART TWO)
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
2d ago
  One thing I do as an instructor, both here in Japan and teaching seminars abroad, is “teaching kihon specifically to improve kata and kumite”. To have truly beautiful karate—especially in the bujutsu sense—“…kihon is for kumite, kata is for kumite”; furthermore, “…‘kumite is based on kihon and kata’ in order for kime to be fully expressed and applied in a freestyle exchange”. Indeed, and to clarify, in the bujutsu context a ‘freestyle exchange’ means a real-world self-defense situation. How this be so with seemingly archaic motions which we call karate? The answer is the above ..read more
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Trainee from Hungary: Levente Antal Szava (2nd Dan)
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
1w ago
Levente Antal Szava (Nidan) from Hungary recently came to study karate here in Oita City. During his training as a renshusei he expressed the wish to expand his understanding of karate in very specific terms.  Using the Level Four and Level Five (the final two IKS Dan Examination Kihon requirements - Shodan and Nidan) I focused on teaching him the core mechanics of classical Shotokan.  In particular, by his request, the kata NIJUSHIHO, KAKUYOKU and RAKUYO were of high priority. Insofar as kumite is concerned, the focus was on the bujutsu oyo/application of kata; furthermore, how ..read more
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Trainee from Norway
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
1w ago
Budo Karate - "Correct Kumite Maai" Practice.  Christoffer (Shodan) from Norway recently came to Oita for training. Travelling with his lovely girlfriend, Cecilie, it was wonderful to spend time with them both in and out of the dojo. Teaching Gojushiho Dai Kata. Of course, besides a few still images here, I will not specifically detail Christoffer's training except to say that 'we covered points specific for his immediate and long-term karate development'. For those who haven't experienced it, this is the core objective of the Renshusei Training here. Inherently, this ..read more
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Freital Seminar: September 2024... A New Beginning
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
2w ago
The upcoming seminar in Freital (Germany), this September, will mark a new beginning of technical courses where a lot of untaught knowledge will be passed on. My first aim has been to lay out the base aspects of ‘old school Shotokan’. Whilst the next step is to begin sharing the more advanced aspects underpinned by this foundation. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed this process down by three years; however, we are back on track from next year. A lot of points that have not been taught outside of Japan will be taught, including many kata and their respective oyo (applications). One asp ..read more
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Only set hips = Proper understanding of hips
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
2w ago
Ido-Kihon: Mae-geri keage Only by setting the hips, that is from the baseline practice of the various waza in 正面 (Shomen), can one properly utilize the hips; that is, the various actions of them in relation to techniques. One point that I stress in my teaching is that “what the hips do is underpinned by the legs, and ideally results in the  lower and upper body being optimally harmonious. That is why in sonoba kihon-renshu, whilst standing in shizentai it is common to keep the hips and shoulders square when executing ukewaza. Needless to say, this practice is also isolation ..read more
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Some thoughts on Karate-Do
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
1M ago
One of the advantages of Karate is that it can be practiced anywhere, with or without a dogi, equipment and even a training partner. Furthermore, it can be adapted according to age, health, fitness, strength and flexibility. These aspects make karate a physical and psychological activity that can universally practiced by anyone. Here in between times in the dojo, during my lunchbreak, I did some extra self-practice behind Oita Eki (the main train station here in central Oita City). Keep training! And if you haven't started already, don't procrastinate! Slowly, "step by step", build up! If y ..read more
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Variations from adaptability
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
1M ago
 I was asked “what is the Japanese terminology for the oi-zuki with intentionally high shoulder?” Tanaka Masahiko Sensei from the book 'Hasha'.  That’s a good question as it points to a larger picture of karate; that is, 基本技 (kihon-waza) and 自由技 (jiyu-waza). To begin with, OI-ZUKI is OI-ZUKI, unless you use the alternative term of 'Jun-zuki', which is equally acceptable.   It is important to understand that the classical form ‘kihon-waza’ are the base of the freestyle ‘jiyu-waza’; however, by themselves will not make one’s karate ‘reliably effective’ in reality, that i ..read more
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Asai Sensei would have been 89 years old today
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
1M ago
 Today Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei would have been 89 years old. After teaching, and before self-training, I reflected during a walk around the remains of Funai Castle, here in central Oita City. My thoughts are with the Asai family today, and all others who continue to practice Asai Sensei's Karate here in Japan, and around the world. I'll conclude this post with some photos I took as I walked around Funai-Jo. Life is short and unpredictable. Accordingly, we need to make the most of our ultra small time here. Following our dreams is scary, but then we can have no regrets. Clearly, Asai Sens ..read more
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The 'core kihon' is at the heart of karate excellence
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
1M ago
Migi tobi yoko-geri (Mt, Cook, New Zealand), circa 2004. One thing I've quickly learned, from when I first came here to Japan in 1993, is that "to do a high jumping technique and other such impressionable actions" is VERY EASY compared to the core fundamentals; that is, techniques like oi-zuki, age-uke, mae-geri, etcetera... While techniques like the tobi yoko-geri above have their place in certain (but rare) applications, and certainly for physical practice (for younger practitioners), if taught to a competent gymnast, they would be mastered (form-wise) quickly, easily and spectacu ..read more
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Keep moving forward!!! Don't look back (too much)!!!
Andre Bertel's Karate-Do
by Andre Bertel
1M ago
I was recently given this photo. I was New Zealand National Champion a number of times in both Shotokan National Championships (JKA/JKS/IJKA) and All Styles (KANZ) -- KATA AND KUMITE. I think this photo is from 1993 or 1994.  Young and dumb, but full of ambition (embarrassed now, looking at this photo, but good to share) I think that openly sharing weakness is good. Certainly, we are all weak and have weaknesses. On a positive and productive note, 1993 was my first-year training here in Japan (innocently training with both factions of the JKA) and getting in trouble with Abe Keigo Sense ..read more
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