Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Foreign Renshusei (Trainees)

The following list includes the non-Japanese karateka who have come to Japan and had private lessons with me. Others have come to train, but the following karateka have: (1) officially applied to be renshusei; (2) have been accepted; and (3) completed training as renshusei. To those on this list, "Omedetto gozaimasu!!!"

1. LAMBEIN, Kathleen (BELGIUM) 2017

2. ANG, Eden (SINGAPORE) 2016

3. BARR, Michae(ENGLAND) 2016


5. ROBERT, Yann (FRANCE) 2015

6. ROBERT, Phinh  (FRANCE) 2015




10. MORALDE, Heidi (AUSTRALIA) 2015   


12. LAMPE, Peter (GERMANY) 2015

13. KÖHLER, Frank (GERMANY) 2015

14. SCHÖNE, Rainer (GERMANY) 2015

15. PINTOS, Leo (AUSTRALIA) 2014

16. JORDAN, Pietro (ITALY/CANADA) 2014

17. LEHMANN, Christa (SWITZERLAND) 2014

18. DILKS, Morgan (NEW ZEALAND) 2014

19. RIVAS, Sergio (SPAIN) 2013

20. DUKAS, Bryan (SOUTH AFRICA) 2010


22. JEHU, Lyn (WALES/JAPAN) 2009

23. DILKS, Morgan (NEW ZEALAND) 2008

24. LEHMANN, Christa (SWITZERLAND) 2008

25. KELLY, Ben (IRELAND) 2007 

PLEASE NOTE: This list will be periodically updated and re-published when foreign karateka come and complete training at my dojo.
Application to be a renshusei: To apply please email me directly at: andrebertelono@gmail.com. In your email include the following: i. your proposed dates to train; ii. full details: if other karateka will be coming with you; iii. dan rank(s); iv. age(s)—please note, those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/caregiver; and (v) any questions/inquiries that you may have.
 © André Bertel. Japan (2017).

Monday, 16 January 2017

Trainee from Belgium: Kathleen Lambein

I just had the pleasure of having Kathleen Lambein (3rd Dan, JKA—Japan Karate Association—Belgium) here in at my dojo for private training. In addition to being my first renshusei from Belgium she is also the first non-Japanese renshusei for 2017.

Kathleen successfully completed six hours of one-on-one training over two days. Without going into specifics (these are for her) I focused on specific points to boost her karate—via core aspects of Kihon, Kata and Kumite—from a pure Budo Karate perspective. Simplicity and depth, and efficiency, were major themes.
Overall, Kathleen was great to coach as she not only processed the information quickly, but immediately began moving better. I was really impressed by this point. Furthermore, we enjoyed some nice times outside of the dojo. Kathleen, my family and I wish you all the very best!! It was great to have you in Oita!!! See you again!!! 押忍, André

© André Bertel. Oita, Japan (2016).

Monday, 2 January 2017

First Article for 2017... A ‘FEW NOTES’ ON HEIAN SHODAN

To start my articles/posts for 2017 I thought I'd outline a few important points from Heian Shodan Kata. I haven't ‘written out’ the entire kata in grueling detail but have, instead, listed each of the 21 movements with specific notes. I have done this to stress particular points, which I often see performed incorrectly by Shotokan karateka.

Before I begin it is probably worth mentioning that—on June 19th—this site will turn 10 years old. To be honest I never envisaged such longevity and international popularity (as of January 1st, 2017, over 1,500,000 visits). A big ありがとうございます to the thousands of supporters, around the world, of this blog.

Lastly, but certainly not least, before  I get on to the article I’d like to offer my best wishes, happiness, and good health—to everyone—for the New Year. 押忍, André.


By André Bertel

1.      Hidari sokumen hidari gedan-barai (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi). Note – Lower the weight at the knees, torque the body into shomen, then release to a full hanmi upon making your zenkutsu-dachi, with the front knee above the tips of your toes. A generic rule in budo karate-do: the technical maxim is ‘to the limit’. Furthermore, note the ‘heel—toe’ method (essentially ‘kakato chushin). Generally speaking, when advancing, retreating and turning, in combination with ‘shime’ and the ‘muchiken’ use of the arms and legs. Don’t forget to consciously ‘floor the sokuto’ whilst inverting the foot in the direction of the movement as much as possible

2.      Migi chudan jun-zuki (Migi zenkutsu-dachi). Note – the generic rule of pulling and pushing from the heels in kihon and kata. Jun-zuki (Oi-zuki) is the base of this practice. Also, note ‘extension’ of the rear leg while maintaining a deep front knee, strict shomen and ‘floored sokuto’. Furthermore, note the importance of hikite in all tsuki waza: in this regards, small finger of the upturned fist higher than the thumb-side and the elbowed pinched (employing shime); also, the forearm being level/parallel to the ground, thus, making the punching distance/trajectory as short as possible.

3.      Migi gedan-barai (Migi zenkutsu-dachi). Note – Keeping heel of the rear foot set ‘as a pivot/the jiku-ashi’ be sure to fully engage shomen when making this 180 degree turn (before springing back into hanmi).

4.      Migi kentsui tatemawashi uchi (Migi zenkutsu-dachi). Note – take a half step back simultaneously as you pull the arm back. Likewise, simultaneously return to zenkutsu-dachi as the hammer-fist strike is completed. The trajectory is a large clockwise circle, which travels from gedan-barai, past the left ear and over the head, then down to just under the shoulder height. The arm must be only slightly bent so an optimal whipping action can be achieved.

5.      Hidari chudan jun-zuki (Hidari zenkutsu dachi).

6.      Hidari gedan-barai (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).

7.      Migi jodan age-uke (Migi zenkutsu-dachi). Note – with jodan age uke take special care of the neck/head posture; furthermore, the uke must be large scale and robust: completing at a fist widths distance from the head. Also note and adjust the blocking arms elbow in relation to the corresponding wakibara (opening) and shoulder (raising).

8.      Hidari jodan age-uke (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi)

9.      Migi jodan age-uke (Migi zenkutsu-dachi) – KIAI. The kiai comes from the seika tanden, is short and sharp, perfectly timed with the technique (moment of kime).

10.     Hidari gedan-barai (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).

11.     Migi chudan jun-zuki (Migi zenkutsu-dachi).

12.     Migi gedan-barai (Migi zenkutsu-dachi).

13.     Hidari chudan jun-zuki (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).

14.     Hidari gedan-barai (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi). The first jun-zuki moving ura-shomen comes from gedan-barai (hanmi)—like the first four in Heian Shodan; therefore, utilizes the combination of the support leg drive and hip rotation.

15.     Migi chudan jun-zuki (Migi zenkutsu-dachi). This jun-zuki, and the following, is initiated from the shomen position; accordingly, moreso focusing on the drive of the support leg and a double twist of the hips.

16.     Hidari chudan jun-zuki (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).

17.     Migi chudan jun-zuki (Migi zenkutsu-dachi) – KIAI.

18.     Hidari shuto chudan uke (Migi kokutsu-dachi). Note – with Shuto chudan uke do not swing the body but, instead, keep set and snap the arms and stay in shomen for as long as possible. Twist the body side on upon completion and keep the head set throughout; that is, in the direction of the blocking arm, upright and bold. With the 270 degree turn into kokutsu dachi, again, pivot on the support foots heel and coordinate the heel, ankle knee and hip turn with the technique and turning of the head.

19.     Migi shuto chudan uke (Hidari kokutsu-dachi). When moving 45 degrees use the guide hand to help bring the rear hip forwards into shomen whilst loading up shuto uke. Snap back the hips upon the completion of the step; thereby, ‘making the technique with the hips’ as opposed to just the arms.

20.     Migi shuto chudan uke (Hidari kokutsu-dachi). The same points apply as movement 18, however, the turn is 135 degrees; that being said, this slight change can be utilized to exam ones subtle use of chikara no kyojaku, which often fluctuates/changes in relation to even the slightest changes in unsoku/ashi-hakobi.

21.     Hidari shuto chudan uke (Migi kokutsu-dachi).

© André Bertel. Oita, Japan (2016).

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Brief Summary of 2016 and Video Links

So, 2016, is quickly coming to an end. Here is a brief and very broad summary of my karate activities this year. I will conclude with direct links to relevant video footage.

Including here, within Japan, in 2016 I have taught karate seminars in six countries in both Europe (Germany, England and Italy) and Oceania (New Zealand and Australia). However, the training and teaching in Japan has still, as always, been the most hectic part of my Karate-Do schedule. That, due to my prioritisation of training (over all other aspects in karate), meant that I could not post articles so regularly. However, the articles will continue to be produced, and uploaded intermittently each month, as my time permits.

In addition to my regular daily karate activities, in 2016, I also attended several wonderful seminars conducted by Hashiguchi Yuji Sensei (7th Dan), Naka Tatsuya Sensei (7th Dan) and Ueki Masaaki Sensei (9th Dan); taken qualifications exams for instructor, examiner and judge; and accepted several non-Japanese renshusei (trainees).

In sum, on the Karate front, it has been a wonderful year. I wish everyone the very best in their conclusion to 2016 and a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

© André Bertel. Oita, Japan (2016).

For older videos, please visit my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/andrebertel

Oliver Schomburg (GERMANY)
2016 Andre Bertel Interview in Germany: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnnIFi-amcc

Scotty Denholm (AUSTRALIA)
Silvio Cannizzo (ITALY)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

André Bertel 2016 AUSTRALIA SEMINAR  

On December third and forth, I conducted seminar on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. It was my forth time to teach Karate-Do in Australia (and my first time in this region). Accordingly, I'd like to begin by especially thanking the organisers, Noel Moralde Sensei and Heidi Moralde;  and their dojo, JKA Sunshine Coast: www.jkasunshinecoast.com.au.

Rather than write a lot—featured above is a video from the weekend—kindly filmed by Robbie George from South Australia. Also, below are links to two other great videos by Scotty Denholm. Greetings and thanks for that Scott!! 

Overall, it was great to catch up with Noel Sensei and Heidi, and also Bryan Dukas Sensei and his family; furthermore, to form many new friendships through Karate-Do. Lastly, thanks for all of the very positive post-seminar feedback!!! A big festive greetings to you all from wintery Japan.

© André Bertel. Oita, Japan (2016).

Friday, 9 December 2016


Below is a short video from my recent seminars in Christchurch, New Zealand, which were held over the weekend of November 26th and 27th. Before I go on, I’d especially like to thank my friend and senior, Renzie Hanham Hanshi (8th Dan), for again offering his awesome dojo for the event; furthermore, for some very enjoyable catch ups!
Renzie Hanham Hanshi (8th Dan Seido Karate)

I’d also like to express my gratitude to the members of the Christchurch Seido Shibu; all of the Shotokan karateka—from different groups—whom attended; and lastly, those who travelled from outside of Christchurch.

All the very best from Oita, Japan.
Osu, André
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2016).

Monday, 14 November 2016

Naka Tatsuya Sensei Seminars: Oita 2016

Over the weekend Tatsuya Naka Sensei taught in Oita. The lessons were, as always, absolutely brilliant. A big thanks to Naka Sensei, JKA Hiji-Machi (Watanabe Hirohide Sensei and Watanabe Kaori Sensei - who hosted the seminars again this year) and Mori Hiroyuki Sensei (JKA Oita Chief Instructor).
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2016).

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Andre Bertel - ITALY 2016: Video Three

Here is the third video from my 2016 seminars in Italy. This video, kindly made by Silvio Cannizzo, depicts the second day of training. On that note, here is my 'YouTube Channel' updated: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9sLgH7TVz9zkLQ8okjxT4Q

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan 2016.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Yakusoku Kumite is Essential Training

Many people question the importance of Yakusoku-Kumite, which can probably be—best described in English—as PREARRANGED SPARRING.
In actuality, I know a simple fact… These days people need to do more Gohon-kumite, Kihon ippon-kumite and Jiyu ippon-kumite than ever before. Why? Because the heavy influence of tournament karate has resulted in a lack of kime in sports kumite events. Actually, yakusoku kumite in addition to bridging kihon and kata to jiyu-kumite, bolsters kime in jiyu kumite.
Am I against karate tournaments? NOT AT ALL. I won many New Zealand National titles over the years, and a JKA prefectural title (in men’s individual kata) here in Japan—apparently the first non-Japanese to ever do so: even though competition karate has never been my focus.
My perspective, and many of my colleagues and seniors here in Japan, is that tournament kumite must technically represent traditional budo karate, which technically, in essence is all about ichigekki-hissatsu (to finish with a single blow).
In sum, yakusoku-kumite, when practiced correctly, is utterly essential for those seeking the true way Karate-Do. There is nothing wrong with competition, however, first and fore-mostly, karate is BUDO; therefore, the acquisiton of a sound mind/heart and effective martial arts techniques is of the greatest importance.
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Andre Bertel - ITALY 2016: Video Two

Featured below is the latest video of my Seminars in Italy earlier this year. This video, kindly made by Silvio Cannizzo, depicts the first day of training. On that note, here is my 'YouTube Channel' updated: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9sLgH7TVz9zkLQ8okjxT4Q 

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan 2016.