Friday, 22 January 2010

New training regime

Kihon: My current training routine is concentrating on 12 simple ido-kihon waza (listed below). My repetitions of each technique is four to eight in each direction. I'm averaging between 16 and 32 repetitions paying much attention to moderate hip rotation (not a full 'side on' hanmi), and power from hip propulsion.
Anyway, here's the rundown on my present kihon-geiko.
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(1) Sanbon-zuki; (2) Chudan gyaku-zuki; (3) Jodan age-uke kara chudan gyaku-zuki; (4) Chudan soto-uke kara chudan gyaku-zuki; (5) Chudan uchi-uke kara chudan gyaku-zuki; (6) Gedan-barai kara chudan gyaku-zuki; (7) Chudan shuto-uke (kokutsu-dachi) kara tate shihon-nukite; (8) Mae-geri; (9) Yoko-keage (kiba-dachi); (10) Yoko-kekomi (kiba-dachi); (11) Mawashi-geri; (12) Ushiro-geri.
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Kata: From today I've started to exclusively work on Gojushiho-Dai. I feel pretty very rusty on this kata, which is pretty shameful, considering I spent so much of my life intensively practicing it. On a positive note, a nice 'renewed' challenge!
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Kumite: I'm having a break from the aggressive attacking style of kumite, I was practicing so much of, in November and December 2009. In saying that, according to my training partners, and private students, my hangeki (counterattacks) in jiyu-kumite are more aggressive than my kogeki! So that is a feather in my cap. As much as I love kata, I've always been naturally better at kumite, but of course, kata in karate-do is everything, the soul/tradition of our martial art. Therefore, my goal is always to align my kumite with my kata. As Asai Sensei always said "Step-by-step".
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Best wishes and healthy training from Oita-ken, Japan.
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© André Bertel, Japan (2010).

Sunday, 17 January 2010

SEMINARS IN ITALY

On May 1st and 2nd, and May 8th and 9th 2010, I will be teaching open karate-do seminars in Venice, Italy. These are being hosted by Giuseppe Formenton Shihan (7th Dan) and Mauro Mion Shihan (7th Dan), and organized by Silvio Cannizzo Sensei (4th Dan) of the Japan Karate Shotorenmei Italia.
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These technical courses will be completely dedicated to Shuseki-Shihan Tetsuhiko Asai's style with particular focus on Asai-ryu kata. New kata, also Asai Sensei's advanced applications will be introduced for the first time Europe, and these will be covered in depth. Correct use of energy will also be covered, as a basis for the Asai-ryuha kata, and to effectively apply one's techniques (regardless of size, strength, male or female). This is a 'must-attend event' for those who are practicing, or are interested in improving their technique via Asai Karate.
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For more information please click on the following link to the official website of JKS Italy: www.jksitalia.it or more specifically http://www.jksitalia.it/eventi.html. I look forward to seeing, training and socializing with you all in Venice.
© André Bertel, Japan (2010).

Saturday, 16 January 2010

The three Meikyo kata

The kata section of today's practice was dedicated to the three Meikyo kata. I was very rusty on Meikyo-sandan (and still are) so it ended up being both an enjoyable and technically challenging session. Appropriately, the kihon and kumite trained, all came from the Meikyo series.
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Background: Meikyo ('Polished Mirror') came from various forms of Rohai, and was apparently adapted by Master Gichin Funakoshi and/or his son Gigo. Not being a karate historian, I can't say much more than this. However one point, which I do know, is that Meikyo was Masatoshi Nakayama Sensei's favourite kata in his latter years.

Meikyo kata in standard Shotokan: It is true that in standard JKA (Japan Karate Association) Shotokan, there is only one Meikyo kata. However, Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei introduced two more versions; Meikyo-nidan and Meikyo-sandan. Sadly I received very little information about these kata in the historical sense, but heard directly from Asai Sensei that he used Meikyo-nidan and Meikyo-sandan as a means to bridge the gap from the standard Shotokan kata, to other formal exercises. After successfully doing this, Asai Sensei, at least for the most part, discontinued teaching them.

The bridge to the koten kata: Like most people, in the early 1990's when Asai Sensei first started teaching Meikyo-nidan and Meikyo-sandan, I was blown away. "Advanced Shotokan kata only known by the Japanese?" As you can see, immediately the bridge was made... Asai Sensei was so very wise, knowing that we were all closed minded to anything, outside of 'traditional Shotokan'. So he spoon fed the additional two Meikyo kata, which resulted in everyone being open, and very enthusiastic to learn his more kumite based koten kata.
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Especially Meikyo-nidan, but also Meikyo-sandan, were the kata which Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei used to open people's minds (beyond 'standard JKA Shotokan'). Therefore, and regardless of whether you practice them or not, they mark an important time in the history of Asai style karate.
{Please note: Only the first photograph in this article comes from one of the Meikyo kata (movement 48 of Meikyo-sandan). The other three photos come from the koten kata, Kakuyoku-shodan and Kakuyoku-nidan}.

© André Bertel, Japan (2010).

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Ooyuki

Here are a couple of photos from today of the scenic Mt. Hachimen, which we can admire from our apartment, and the local supermarket just up the road.
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Anyway, the temperature in the dojo was definitely reflective of these pictures. And as you probably know, I really hate the cold! Give me 40 Degrees Celsius any day, I love the sweltering heat and have no defense for the cold. My bones just freeze...
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On a positive note, the snow has been visually spectacular, and also a chance to really train my spirit. To leave a nice and warm apartment to face the cold dojo is definitely good for the one's inner-strength.
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A big OSU from snow covered Japan!
André
© André Bertel, Japan (2010).

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

SEMINARS IN GERMANY

I'll be teaching seminars in Ahrensburg, Germany on April 17th & 18th of April, 2010. Please click on the poster for more details or follow this link: http://www.kampfkunst-ahrensburg.de/

These seminars are all about
karate, not money or politics, so everyone is welcome. To further emphasize this, the fee for both days is only 30 Euros! Therefore, the only thing I recommend, if you don't want to miss out, is to book a place as early as possible. To do this, please contact the organizers.
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For those of you who make it, I look forward to meeting & training with you. The weekend will introduce new kata & drills not previously taught in Europe.
© André Bertel, Japan (2010).

Friday, 1 January 2010

HATSUGEIKO 2010

I’d like to take this chance to wish all of the visitors, here to my webpage, a very happy, healthy and productive New Year.
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Today, Hatsugeiko (first training) was conducted to see in 2010. As usual it was by no means a technical session with corrections being made. Rather, and typical here in Japan, it was all about high repetitions of stationary and ido-kihon. Such training is considered by the Japanese as serious means to develop a ‘spirit of perseverance’. Regardless, it is a wonderful way to start the year of the tiger, to clear the mind, and to focus on new targets.
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All the best, Osu!
André

© André Bertel, Japan (2010).