Last weekend I taught my first international karate seminar in Sindelfingen (Baden-Wurttemberg), Deutschland. I am writing this as I fly back home to Japan.
Organized primarily by Thomas Heinlein Sensei, Andy Fields Sensei, and their respective dojo team members. This resulted in an event where I could ‘purely focus on teaching and training’, and also have a chance to relax. In particular Thomas Sensei kindly ensured this and made sure I also had a wonderful time. This of course contributed to my recovery times between sessions and, now, as I begin my voyage home to Japan: not the usual aches and pains! So I’m very thankful!!!
As it was my first time in Sindelfingen, I focused on the core underpinning of budo bujutsu karate 基本 (Kihon); nevertheless, the focal points were arranged uniquely. This is representative of future seminars where I will share much more untaught aspects.
On this subject, the kata I taught a version of 浪手 (Roshu) never taught openly before. It differs from the commonly practiced versions and is the main rendition of the kata. The seminar participants, therefore, experienced the version of Roshu only practiced and taught behind closed doors in Japan, and only by a handful of instructors. Again, I will continue sharing kata, and their respective applications, in future seminars.
The Kumite practice was focused on correct 間合 (maai) and control. My main point was that “control is not reaching the surface of the target (at extension) but, rather having reached the target with full commitment of the hips and “…having the option of optimally penetrating the target”: in other words, perfectly positioned for a potentially finishing blow”. In addition to this—and directly complimentary—I also sampled the classical Shotokan 応用技 (Oyo-waza), which are the classical and highly effective self-defense techniques from the kata.
In sum, the focus was karate as budo for holistic health and art; moreover, as bujutsu, for effective ‘reliable self-defense’, which is the essence of ‘true karate shotokan’.
It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and make new friendships as well. The ‘genki’ atmosphere of the seminar, I believe, was a result of Thomas, Andy and their respective groups warmness. I must say it’s great to simply train with great people, improve in skill, share some smiles and have no politics. Only Authentic Budo/Bujutsu Karate! This is imperative in my mission of sharing Asai Tetsuhiko Shuseki Shihan’s advanced Shotokan techniques, exercises, additional kata, and applications: the extension of ‘JKA-style karate’. Very big things to come, so, until next time, 押忍!!!
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2023).