Friday 19 June 2020

Avoid "THE BLUR": My latest training regime

Here is my latest self-training regime. I hope that it finds you well, and in good spirits; moreover, that you are seizing the opportunity to further advance your karate skills in this interesting time. Irrespective, if you are open, here is something for those who are serious about your karate. Hint: Note the system more than the regime... Osu, Andre

基本 (KIHON)

     1. Sanbon ren zuki
     2. Jodan age uke kara chudan gyaku zuki 
     3. Chudan soto uke kara chudan gyaku zuki 
     4. Chudan uchi uke kara chudan gyaku zuki
     5. Gedan barai kara chudan gyaku zuki 
     6. Chudan shuto uke (kokutsu dachi) kara nukite
     7. Ren geri: Chudan mae geri keage kara jodan mae geri keage
     8. Mawashi geri kara chudan gyaku zuki
     9. Ushiro geri kekomi
1 10. Yoko geri keage ashi o kaete yoko geri kekomi (kiba dachi)

Reps and intervals: At present my idokihon training is quality-focused as opposed to ‘quantity’ and fitness/endurance. That is, I’m practiced each of the 10 renzokuwaza five times both up and down the dojo like taikyoku-ken (tai chi). My focus is threefold: (a) optimally using my kinetic chain; (b) moving/transferring my center; and (c) large scale and relaxed limb actions which are directly influenced by the previous two focal points.
After these ten very slow and soft reps, I repeat with five times up and down the dojo with full speed. My aim here is to make every technique as when I did them slowly and lightly. In particular, focusing on lightness and avoiding any shortening of actions—especially when ‘winding up’.
 In sum, I am merely doing 20 reps of each set of techniques. I would like to add here, that after each set of 20, I’m returning to shizentai to do shin-kokyu—to fully recover—before moving on to the next waza.


Jiyu Ippon Kumite is dominating my present kumite practice; however, with multiple counters. What I am doing is not only countering decisively once but with at least two or three techniques—all of which are ‘full’/large scale waza. Each of these has the intent to finish the opponent, which is an inherent characteristic of budo/bujutsu karate. My counters are all intentionally random/spontaneous.

On a lessor scale, I’m also reviewing Asai Sensei’s Kakuyoku ‘trap and impact’ techniques which, as you will know, are a very standard part of my daily training.

Overall, I am mixing all of this training up freely. The number of repetitions varies day by day, but is not less than three sets of attack and defense at full speed. Attacks are standard: Jodan (Jodan oi zuki); Chudan (Chudan oi zuki); Mae geri (Chudan mae geri keage); Yoko kekomi (Chudan yoko geri kekomi); Mawashi geri (Jodan mawashi geri); and Ushiro geri (Chudan ushiro geri kekomi).


My kata training is once again going through a ‘diverse wave’, which can be split broadly between three types—foundational, advanced (Shotokan Ryu) advanced (Asai Ryu). While that may not sound very sophisticated, it stresses a key point… the foundational kata I’m presently working on are full just that: ‘for my kihon’. Likewise, all the ‘advanced kata’ are advanced (primarily for application). I must stress here that I’m not denigrating the basic kata; however, at present I’m simply using them to sharpen my base skills.

(I)                Recently each day my foundational kata has been either 序の型 (Jo no kata),  平安初段 (Heian Shodan) or 順路初段 (Junro Shodan).

(II)             Advanced kata—standard Shotokan Ryu: either 慈恩 (Jion),  燕飛 (Enpi), 鉄騎初段 (Tekki Shodan) or五十四歩大  (Gojushihodai).

(III)           Advanced kata—from Asai Sensei: either 鶴翼 (Kakuyoku), 八門(Hachimon), 風手 (Hushu) or雷光 (Raiko).

Taken as a whole, my kata training has been focused on three kata each day: one from each of these groups. My practice of each kata is eight times each. Alternately slow then with regular speed. Consistent with my current Kihon practice, the aim is quality. Hence, between repetitions I am having sufficient rest times with shin-kokyu.

While I am still getting a good workout, this month I’m really keeping is technical; thus, more anaerobic than anything else. As for my aerobic fitness, since the onset on the global pandemic I’ve dedicated extra time to cardio training.

To conclude, I want to stress that ‘sometimes you need to take it easy to improve’. This doesn’t mean to be lazy but, rather, “not get caught up in the intensity of training”—what I call “the blur”… at least, not every time!!  Before that next waza, kata, or round of Kumite, recover fully before repeating. In this way, you will not only protect your body, you will also better perfect your technique and, potentially (if you follow the structure of my schedule above), you will increase your explosiveness.

All the very best from Oita City.
Competition was never my focus. However, winning titles in Japan and New Zealand certainly helped my development.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2020).

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