Sunday, 22 May 2016

Private kata training for Ohtsuka Shohei

Today I had a trainee from Usa-Shi, Ohtsuka Shohei Kun. He wanted to study a budo version of Unsu, which he could also exhibit in competition. He wants to compete in both budo karate (JKA) and JKF: and demonstrate true Karate-Do. This, to me, is very good, as kata is not an aesthetic game but the foundation and time capsule of traditional Japanese budo/martial arts.    

He has had many wins in competition but is seeking more pure karate. Again, for a young man of 23, I really admire this; moreover, with hard work he has the capacity to do extremely well. He has speed, power and talent in abundance; nevertheless, here in Japan the level is so high, so the climb is very-very steep. One of my top goals is to support JKA Oita Prefecture as much as possible. I really want to give as much as I can to Oita.

In addition to Unsu I also corrected his Enpi and Jion. He was very receptive and excited when he felt the difference in his execution of kata and then experienced the oyo (applications). Overall, it was great to see him lift his execution of the kata covered and, indeed, his understanding. Ganbatte Shohei!!!

                                                       © André Bertel. Oita, Japan (2016).

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Renshusei from England: Michael Barr

Michael Barr recently came to Japan to be a renshusei (trainee) at my dojo. During his time here in Oita he completed ten hours of one-on-one practice. I’d like to congratulate him on completing this training and clearly improving his technical ability. OMEDETTO GOZAIMASU!

This year I will once again be teaching Karate-Do Seminars in Europe:

Ahrensburg (GERMANY)—July 23/24;
Poulton-le-Fylde (ENGLAND)—July 30/31; and
Venice (ITALY)—August 6/7

I'm reiterating this here as Michael has organized, and is hosting, the England portion of my Europe Tour. For those wishing to book a place on the Technical Seminars (July 30/31) in Poulton-le-Fylde, please contact him directly at:

Lastly, for those interested in Michael’s karate training experience here in Japan (beyond the photos featured in this post)—please click on the following link, which features a written report:

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2016).

Monday, 16 May 2016

Nishi Fuyuhiko: Movie Director and creator of ‘Kuro Obi World’

I had a the pleasure of meeting Director Nishi Fuyuhiko San, on the weekend, at the JKA Oita Seminar in Hiji (which was conducted Hashiguchi Yuji Sensei).
Photo courtesy of Nishi Fuyuhiko - Kuro Obi World:
In sum, Nishi San really is a super nice guy, he has a great perspective about Budo Karate (and Martial Arts in general), and is an extremely talented cinematographer. 

For those of you who haven’t seen his work, especially those who are karateka (or interested in any form of Budo/Martial Arts), you really are missing out. He is doing great stuff for Budo Karate. Accordingly, I highly recommend the documentaries and movies he has made.

For more information, check out Nishi San’s fantastic ‘Kuro Obi World’ site:

© André Bertel. Oita, Japan (2016).

Oita Prefecture Seminar with Hashiguchi Yuji Sensei

On the weekend I attended Hachiuchi Yuji Sensei’s Seminar—hosted by the JKA Hiji branch—here in Oita Prefecture. The seminar, like Hashiguchi’s classes, was packed with technical details; furthermore, kata applications were also methodically covered.
Photo courtesy of Nishi Fuyuhiko - Kuro Obi World:
Kihon included that required for the first few JKA exams, where Sonoba-Kihon is tested. From there, we moved on to correct koshi-no-kaiten practice with partners, followed by the Ido-Kihon for the current Shodan and Nidan examinations. Key points for each renzokuwaza were, as always, expertly explained and demonstrated by Hachiguchi Sensei; furthermore, Hashiguchi Sensei invited questions throughout the course, which really helped everyone. Special focus was placed on ukewaza; in particular, shuto chudan uke, jodan age-uke, and the wind ups for chudan soto-uke and chudan uchi-uke: ukewaza was a theme that continued across the five hours of  practice.

Kata covered in depth included Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan, Heian Yondan, Heian Godan, Tekki Shodan and Kanku Dai.

Kumite included ukewaza directly from jiyu kamae utilising hip action, and defensive techniques from Kanku Dai. As mentioned above, kata applications were very well covered. These included movements 4 and 7 of Heian Shodan; movements 1-3/4-6 in Heian Nidan; movements 1-3/3-6, 9, 10-12 and 19/20 in Heian Sandan; movements 3, 5-7, 11 and 25 of Heian Yondan; mizu nagare no kamae, movements 9-12, 15/16, and 21-23 of Heian Godan; movements 5-8, and nami-gaeshi of Tekki Shodan; and movements 3/4, 44 and 60/61 of Kanku Dai.

I also had the great pleasure of meeting Nishi Fuyuhiko San, the creator of Kuro-Obi World, who came to the Seminar. Nevertheless, rather than write about this here, I’ll do so in a separate post following this one.

Photo courtesy of Nishi Fuyuhiko - Kuro Obi World:

Overall, to wrap up about the seminar, it was a great day of learning and camaraderie with JKA Oita Prefecture Instructors and members. A special thanks to Hashiguchi Yuji Sensei for his excellent training, Mori Sensei (Chief Instructor of Oita), Maeda Sensei for her great organisation, the hosts Watanabe Hirohide Sensei and Kaori Watanabe Sensei (JKA Hiji Branch). どうもありがとうございました,   アンドレ.

© André Bertel. Oita, Japan (2016).