Saturday 31 July 2010

Some more footage on Youtube

In this video I am self-training in Japan, however it features nothing particularly impressive, just regular practice, hence I wasn't going to make it public. I actually uploaded it last year, along with many other films, kindly given to me from senior JKS (Japan Karate Shotorenmei) instructors, who sometimes asked to film my self-practice sessions. All of these shihan who supported me, were long time senior students of Asai Sensei, and wanted me to privately coach at their respective karate clubs thanks to Sensei's recommendation. Needless to say, that was and is a huge honor for a foreign instructor!
Anyway, I've decided to make some of these videos public as the scenery is very nice, and waza is reflective of socho-geiko with my late karate teacher Tetsuhiko Asai. For example most relevant in this clip, is the choku-zuki, which is 100% Asai Sensei's version. So if you wish to study Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu, this footage alone is probably quite useful for you. In addition to this, the clips of the kata featured have been labelled in both English and kanji.


If nothing else I hope you enjoy watching the video and that it perhaps gives you some ideas for your own training. Osu!

© André Bertel, New Zealand 2010.

Friday 30 July 2010

Shodan - The Beginning Not the End

Paul Kallender has finally relaunched his excellent karate blog from Tokyo. You can click on the link below to check it out. As the latest article features Ibusuki Sensei I thought I'd upload this classic photo of his teacher Gichin Funakoshi Sensei, also masters Nakayama, Sakagami, Obata & Shito-ryu founder Kenwa Mabuni.

© André Bertel, New Zealand 2010.

Monday 19 July 2010

Christchruch Shotokan Karate Club website

Here is a link to the site of the Christchurch Shotokan Karate Club for club information etc. This basic blog is for the club itself, with basic details etc, therefore I'll still continue to consistently post my own articles on here.

As mentioned previously, for those wishing to host me for technical seminars or to do private lessons email me at

For more information please read my previous post.
OSU, André

© André Bertel, New Zealand 2010.

Tuesday 13 July 2010


8, 7 Kyu – Shiro obi

Kihon: (1) Chudan oi zuki; (2) Jodan age uke; (3) Chudan soto uke; (4) Chudan uchi uke; (5) Gedan barai; (6) Chudan shuto uke (kokutsu dachi); (7) Chudan mae geri; (8) Jodan mae geri; (9) Yoko keage (kiba dachi); & (10) Yoko kekomi (kiba dachi).

Kata: (8 Kyu) Heian-shodan; (7 Kyu) Heian-nidan.

Gohon kumite: Jodan & chudan

6, 5, 4 Kyu – Midori obi

Kihon: (1) Chudan oi 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) Mae geri kara chudan oi zuki; (8) Mawashi geri; (9) Yoko keage (kiba dachi); & (10) Yoko kekomi (kiba dachi).

Kata: (6 Kyu) Heian-sandan; (5 Kyu) Heian-yondan + Junro-shodan; (4 Kyu) Heian-godan + Junro-nidan.

Kihon ippon kumite: (6 Kyu) Jodan , chudan & mae geri; (5 Kyu) Jodan,chudan, mae geri & yoko kekomi; & (4 Kyu) Jodan, chudan, mae geri, yoko kekomi & mawashi geri.

3, 2, 1 Kyu – Cha obi

Kihon: (1) Sanbon zuki; (2) Jodan age uke kara chudan gyaku zuki; (3) Chudan soto uke kara yori ashi (kiba dachi) yoko empi uchi; (4) Chudan uchi uke kara jodan kizami zuki soshite chudan gyaku zuki; (5) Tenshin gyaku zuki (Kaiten shinagara gedan barai kara chudan gyaku zuki); (6) Chudan shuto uke (kokutsu dachi) kara mae ashi mae geri soshite nukite; (7) Ren geri: Chudan mae geri kara jodan mae geri; (8) Mawashi geri kara gyaku zuki; (9) Ushiro geri; & (10) Yoko keage ashi o kaete yoko kekomi (kiba dachi).

Kata: (3 Kyu) Tekki-shodan + Junro-sandan; (2 Kyu) Sentei-gata* + izureka Heian gata matawa Tekki-shodan + Junro-yondan; (1 Kyu) Sentei-gata* + izureka Heian gata matawa Tekki-shodan + Junro-godan.

Jiyu ippon kumite: Jodan, chudan, mae geri, yoko kekomi, mawashi geri & ushiro geri.

Supplementary notes

These are the minimal technical requirements outlining the kyu examinations.

1.1 In kihon the stance is zenkutsu-dachi unless otherwise noted.

1.2 The three broad stages of kyu are shiro-obi (white belt: beginner, 8th & 7th kyu); midori-obi (green belt: 6th, 5th & 4th kyu) and cha-obi (3rd, 2nd & 1st kyu).

1.3. Sentei-gata* = Bassai (Dai), Kanku (Dai), Empi, Jion.

1.4 For the examinations of nikyu & ikkyu it is customary to also engage in jiyu-kumite.

1.5 All kyu ranks represent a progression towards the shodan. By ikkyu koshi no kaiten must be close to or at shodan level.

1.6 The five Junro are kumite no kata and must be practiced and performed with this fore most in mind.

1.7 Ability to attack strongly with the core kihon waza is imperative. Although not formally listed this will be tested via impact against the makiwara and so forth. Basic strength and flexibility, whilst not checked in the examination is prerequisite for invitation to grade. This is dependent on age, sex and the rank being tested for (please check with your instructor for the official guidelines).

© André Bertel. New Zealand, 2010.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Returning to New Zealand to support the Christchurch Shotokan Karate Club

Throughout my career as a karateka I have moved backwards and forwards from Japan nearly a dozen times. And of course now is no different, so this is certainly not new in my life, even though it is new for the readers of this blog. After three years and three months of daily training, and teaching karate in Japan, I will once again return to Christchurch, New Zealand. My karate assignment is to assist in the growth of "high-quality" Shotokan karate in the Canterbury region, which has been one of my passions, since I first went to Japan as a 16-year old nidan. Needless to say, I will be supporting the CHRISTCHURCH SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB, which is led by Lyall Stone Sensei. I will also be available for private training.

Christchurch Shotokan Karate is the only club in the Canterbury region teaching traditional Shotokan correctly without compromising standards: There are other Shotokan clubs in Christchurch City, however their standards are shameful, literally not worthy of being called karate. Regardless of any affiliation to Japan, what these groups are teaching is not traditional Shotokan, and have been highly detrimental for the development of Shotokan in New Zealand. Therefore the only group I will work cooperatively with, will be the Christchurch Shotokan Karate Club. This will once again result in the emergence of a Shotokan karate club, in Christchurch City, offering high class Japan/international standards, to cater for everyone who is interested in practicing authentic Shotokan karate in the Canterbury region.

The Christchurch Shotokan Karate Club has a long history with Asai Sensei from the Japan Karate Association days, right through to the present time: I would like to talk about this more here. It is the ONLY CLUB IN NEW ZEALAND with a history of "more than two years with Asai Sensei!" The club followed Asai Sensei since the original Japan Karate Association split right at the opening of the 1990's.

Christchurch Shotokan Classes: The general classes of the Christchurch Shotokan Karate Club are held in the central city, in the gym of the in Christchurch Polytech Institute of Technology. These are held on Tuesday's and Thursday's starting at 6pm sharp. Daily advanced classes are also held, however these require application to attend. If you wish to contact me for private lessons, do so via my email: come to the dojo, train, and talk to me afterwards.

As a professional international karate instructor I have to again emphasize that this is the THE ONLY DOJO teaching REAL SHOTOKAN KARATE in Christchurch-City, hence my support of it. My motivation in saying this is in hope that "authentic and world class is kept alive, and developed to a high level in my hometown" (as opposed to being reduced, and made into a joke, by groups, and instructors, which are completely incompetent).

Upon returning to New Zealand I will be attending the general classes as well as daily black belt training, so if you make it to Christchurch, remember to bring your karatedo gi and obi. Mizuho and I look forward to seeing you when we get back to New Zealand. OSU!

© André Bertel, Japan 2010.