Thursday 27 December 2012


2012 has been a very busy year for me internationally and within New Zealand. Here are the video links to the Karate-Do Seminars I have taught this year (excluding the Christchurch Seminar). 2012 included two long trips to Europe (Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom), one to the other side of Australia, and one to the North Island of New Zealand. To all of my hosts and those who attended my classes - thank you very much! I appreciate the immense amount of positive feedback I've received. A special thanks to my loving wife, family, and students here in New Zealand, and around the world. Please enjoy these 2012 videos and please feel free to make some comments! 2013 will be a very big year for me karate-wise: first South Africa, New Zealand, then Japan. Osu, Andre.
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Monday 24 December 2012

My festive season karate training schedule

I hope this post finds you well as 2012 rapidly comes to a conclusion. It has been a very busy year on all fronts for me: with my Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu Karate seminars in Palmerston North (in the North Island of New Zealand), here in Christchurch (the South Island of New Zealand), Freemantle and Margaret River in Western Australia, Italy, Germany and in England. Not to mention hosting Keigo Abe Shihan (9th Dan) here in the Garden City. Furthermore, an intense year of daily self-training, instructors classes and practice at the Christchurch Shotokan Karate Club (click here: - the Mecca of Shotokan Karate-Do in Canterbury. I have also been very busy with my study at the University of Canterbury, which has again resulted in high grades that undeniably reflect the self-discipline and hardship of daily Karate-Do training. What a year 2012 has been! On that note, here is my latest training schedule which I will follow for at least the next two weeks. Kindest regards to you all over the holiday season. Keep up the training! Osu, Andre. 


(1) Hidari jodan kizami-zuki kara migi chudan gyaku-zuki; (2) Migi jodan kizami-zuki kara hidari chudan gyaku-zuki; (3) Mae-geri (heisoku-dachi); (4) Yoko-keage (Heisoku-dachi); & (5) Choku-zuki (Heiko-dachi) – first practice in the basic manner then snapping fully out and back from hiki-te.

* Repetitions at full-pace after warm-up (10 times in slow motion): Tewaza - 60x each side; Keriwaza 30 times each leg.

(1) Oi-zuki; (2) Gyaku-zuki; (3) Sanbon-zuki; (4) Kizami-zuki kara sanbon-zuki; (5) Mae-geri; (6) Mawashi-geri; (7) Ushiro-geri; (8) Yoko-keage (kiba-dachi); (9) Yoko-kekomi (kiba-dachi); (10) Yoko-kekomi (zenkutsu-dachi); (11) Jodan age-uke kara chudan gyaku-zuki; (12) Chudan soto-uke kara chudan gyaku-zuki; (13) Chudan uchi-uke kara chudan gyaku-zuki; (14) Chudan uchi-uke kara gyaku-zuki; & (15) Chudan shuto-uke (kokutsu-dachi) kara nukite.

* Repetitions: Ten times for each technique (slowly) then 10-30 times with maximum speed.

Monday: Heian-Shodan & Jion + one jiyu-gata.
Tuesday: Heian-Nidan & Kanku-Dai+ one jiyu-gata.
Wednesday: Heian-Sandan & Empi + one jiyu-gata.
Thursday: Heian-Yondan & Tekki-Shodan + one jiyu-gata.
Friday: Heian-Godan & Bassai-Dai + one jiyu-gata.
Saturday & Sunday: Jiyu-gata

* Repetitions: Monday to Friday three different kata are practiced every day (four times each - facing North, South, East & West). The first practice is in slow motion and the other three are with full-speed. Light stretching is performed between each kata allowing for `fresh performances’.
Saturday & Sunday are jiyu-gata: One or more kata are practiced depending on my focus or feeling that day; nevertheless, I follow a similar pattern of repetitions to my weekday self-practices.

(1) Uchikomi practice: Kogeki-waza building up to renzokuwaza (particular focus on tsukiwaza); (2) Uchikomi practice: Hangeki-waza; (3) Jiyu-kumite; & (4) Impact training utilising focus mitts.
* Repetitions: (1 &2) For all uchikomi-waza practice at least 10 repetitions with full speed from both the left and right jiyu-dachi. (3) Rounds of jiyu-kumite are variable but the emphasis is on relaxation and extreme explosiveness once maai is gained. And (4), this impact training is focused on maximum explosiveness with the aim to develop penetration power; therefore, only ten repetitions at maximum speed and power are performed on both the left and right sides for five linear punches: namely, jodan gyaku-zuki, chudan gyaku-zuki, jodan oi-zuki, chudan oi-zuki, and jodan kizami-zuki. This is quality training of 100 punches in total; overall, your strongest punch 100 times.
 © André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Thursday 20 December 2012

UK Seminar Report: By Michael Barr (4th Dan IJKA)

Exercise for applying the body weight and drive of the support leg in keriwaza.
Here’s another report on my seminars in the United Kingdom: this time by the course organiser, Michael Barr Sensei (IJKA 4th Dan).
Michael not only organised the England course and trained throughout it, but he also completed a number of private lessons, and did one-on-one Asai style Shotokan training with me (on a daily basis). Click here to read the article on the IJKA Blackpool and Wyre website/blog:
Again, a big thanks to Michael and Nathalie for taking such great care of Mizuho and me whilst in the UK. Also, a special thanks to their family, especially Nathalie’s daughter and her partner Benji, who kindly hosted us at their home in London.
For those who haven’t seen the seminar videos from Enlgand, you can find them on my youtube channel by clicking here:
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Thursday 13 December 2012

Seminar Report: Palmerston North 2012

Here is a video and some photos from my karate seminar in Palmerston North (the 9th – 11th of December). It was hosted by Morgan Dilks Sensei (5th Dan USKU). This was my final seminar for 2012, which has included courses here in Christchurch, New Zealand; Ahrensburg and Hamburg, Germany; Mira (Venetia), Italy; Fremantle and Margaret River, Western Australia; Poulton (Blackpool and Wyre), England; and this seminar in the North Island of New Zealand.

This year’s classes in Palmerston North were focused on correct maai (distancing) and three cardinal points of Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu technical form, which I always emphasise: (1) Koshi no kaiten (the rotation of the hips/waist); (2) Tai no shinhuku (the compression and expansion of the body); and (3) Junansei (softness/relaxation) to move with optimum economy. This was applied to standard Shotokan karate kihon, then to the kihon-gata—Heian Shodan; and sentei-gata—Empi.

Standard Shotokan Kumite taught to develop self-protection skills: Kihon Gohon Kumite (Fundamental Five Step Sparring) and Kihon Ippon Kumite (Fundamental One Step Sparring) were also practiced, especially focusing on proper maai, to have the potential to finish an adversary with a single blow; however, the majority of the time was dedicated to Jiyu Ippon Kumite (Freestyle One Step Step Sparring) and Tai no shinshuku. Overall, this lead to uchikomi and Jiyu-Kumite (Free Sparring) training, which perfectly linked the `Three K’s’: Kihon, Kata and Kumite.

In addition to the two days of group training, Morgan Sensei also had private lessons with me, where we covered three Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu koten-gata: namely, Kakuyoku-Shodan, Kakuyoku-Nidan and Kakuyoku-Sandan. We also went over several of the standard Shotokan-ryu kata, including Wankan and Chinte, followed by the Oyo (Practical Applications) that Shuseki-Shihan Tetsuhiko Asai’s taught. It is worth mentioning here that Morgan has developed a tremendous oi-zuki with immense power and snap. It was great to see, but certainly wouldn't be great to be hit by it! A fantastic budo karate-waza: pure bujutsu!

Again, Mizuho and I would like to thank Morgan, Yuko, Yuri and Mia for taking good care of us, and all the members (and families) of the Palmerston North USKU Shotokan Karate Club. By the way, please feel free to comment on the video, especially if you attended the course. Osu, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Thursday 6 December 2012

More videos from my 2012 seminars in England

Here are some more videos from my November 2012 seminars in England. Michael Barr Sensei (IJKA 4th Dan) kindly produced these. Here is a link to the IJKA Blackpool and Wyre webpage with a small article on them. A special thanks again to Michael and Kevin Berry... OSU! Click here to see the article: and below are embedded links to both videos.

André Bertel England Seminar 2012 – FIRST DAY BASIC PRINCIPLES
André Bertel England Seminar 2012– SECOND DAY BASIC PRINCIPLES
Osu, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

UK Course Report by Neil Jerome Sensei (KUGB 4th Dan)

Neil Jerome Sensei (4th Dan), chief instructor of the Kenmei Shotokan Karate Club, has written a report on my seminars in United Kingdom. Earlier this year Neil also did a private lesson with me in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Neil Sensei's dojo banner

 I really like Neil, who besides being a member of the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) England Squad, is a super guy, so I was very pleased that he travelled to attend my course in Poulton. Moreover, Neil is an exemplary karateka who seeks to talk with his karate, and systematically studies karate as a martial art. This is Karate-Do!

Here is a link to his report. Please click here:

Arigato Neil! Osu, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Explanation about my seminars: Muchiken, oi-zuki & kime

In this post I want to address three things that probably need some confirmation, based on some misunderstandings about Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei’s karate that I practice, and instruct, globally.
Firstly, an explanation of muchiken (whip fist) techniques; secondly, why in drills I often have my uke attack with oi-zuki; and thirdly, kime.

(1)    MUCHIKEN: Contrary to the views of Canadian gentleman commenting on/closely following  my international karate career, Muchiken-waza is not just a slap, although it can be with devastating results. Foremostly, muchiken is about learning to fully relax in karate techniques. By practising muchiken we not only improve circular techniques, but also our core Shotokan punches: namely, oi-zuki, gyaku-zuki and kizami-zuki. Not to mention ukewaza, keriwaza and most obviously, uchiwaza. When you see me demonstrate muchiken-waza at chudan level, it is for safe practise. This is the safest way to practise with a partner without holding back too much. Nevertheless, the Canadian chaps thoughts were totally understandable and utterly logical, which I like to see; hence, this explanation.

Interestingly, every country I have taught seminars in: Japan, USA, Australia, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, England etc..., have been shocked by the immense power that can be generated from proper muchiken.  It really has to be experienced to be believed. When I worked in the security industry, I had the chance to apply these waza... No need to say more.

(2)    OI-ZUKI: When demonstrating in seminars I often have my uke (receivers) attack with oi-zuki. Many people denounce this… They say “no one attacks with oi-zuki in a real fight”… This is funny for me as a person who worked in the security industry for many years and had numerous altercations. Maybe they think I don’t know this?

Explanation: The purpose of oi-zuki in `open seminars’ is to allow those participating to `cleanly’ see the technique I am teaching.  You have to remember the teaching context! My seminars are to improve people’s karate... Not bash up people. Of course, this is basic training. Consider military training with rubber bullets as opposed to the real thing. We move on from there with hooks, uppercuts, grappling and so forth. If we did that from the beginning, there would only be a blur.

(3)    KIME: On my recent course in England, it was said that I don’t teach or believe in kime… Well, that is wrong. I teach to eradicate `incorrect kime’ according to Asai Sensei; that is, tensing the muscles for a fraction of a moment at the end of techniques. Asai Sensei ‘s Kime is about `decisiveness’. I.e. – the target, depth of impact etc… This was his view, and therefore, the karate that I teach. I’m not claiming this is the only way; it is merely the tradition I am keeping alive. Please don’t think André Bertel thinks “it’s my way or the highway”… I am merely teaching what Sensei Asai taught me. I’m only one guy... If you like what I teach adopt it, otherwise disregard it. The reality is that my karate is for small people or those with very limited strength. If I was big and strong, perhaps I would do karate very differently...

Lastly, I would like to say that I don’t believe anyone has all the answers in karate-do, naturally, myself included. I simply keep on the straight line of practising and teaching IJKA karate (Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu) as my late teacher Tetsuhiko Asai asked me to do before he passed away. If you don’t understand this, please read his final interview in English (which he had me conduct):

Osu, André
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Sunday 2 December 2012

Christchurch Shotokan Karate beach training

A small group of karateka from the Christchurch  Shotokan Karate Club trained at North New Brighton beach this morning from 6am. Practice included kihon, kata (Heian & Junro), kihon ippon kumite and some fun sumo matches. The keiko concluded with some stamina work, jiyu-kumite in the ocean, and a long period of mokuso. Osu, Andre

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Christchurch Seminar: December 2012

Martin Sensei from Rotorua & Peter from Wellington attended.
Over the weekend I taught a seminar here in Christchurch. The focus was threefold: firstly, jun-kaiten; gyaku-kaiten in kihon; secondly, the full `Asai-ryu' technical performance of Heian 1-5; Tekki 1; and thirdly, the complete oyo of these six kata.
It was great to see the karateka in attendance improve their karate over the two days, and gain a "physical understanding" of Asai Sensei's application methodology. Osu, Andre.
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).
The course focused on the Asai-ryu versions of the Heian kata & their practical applications.

Brendon & Ryo practicing the application of shuto-uke.

IJKA-NZ Instructors meeting: Andre Bertel (6th Dan) & Lyall Stone (4th Dan).

Saturday 1 December 2012

Andre Bertel Karate Seminar - England 2012 (Video Two)

Here is the second video from my seminars in Lancashire, England; also a link to `the correct version' of the Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu kata `SEIRYU' (as taught by my late teacher, Shuseki-Shihan Tetsuhiko Asai). Needless to say, this was the version I taught on the course. I hope these videos assist those who attended by highlighting the key points worked on: in kihon, kata, kumite and goshin-jutsu (self-defence) without giving away the lessons online.

 Osu, Andre Bertel.
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Friday 30 November 2012

Blackpool & Wyre Shotokan Links

Kevin Berry, who maintains the blog for the Blackpool and Wyre Karate Club, has posted some reports on my seminars in Great Britain. Kevin is a great bloke, with super sense of humour—he could even tolerate my lame jokes! Moreover, he (along with Naz and Michael Barr Sensei) completed special training. Here are the links to his articles in chronological order:

Osu, André
(L-R) Kevin, Andre, Michael & Naz.
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Monday 26 November 2012

England 2012 Seminar Video (Part I)

I have just arrived back from three weeks of teaching Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu in the United Kingdom. Here is the first video from the open seminars in Poulton. Many thanks to the organiser, Michael Barr Sensei (IJKA 4th Dan) and his lovely wife Nathalie, Ron Bellwood Shihan (IJKA 7th Dan) and the members/families of the IJKA Blackpool & Wyre Shotokan Karate Club. Also a special mention of Nazz and Kevin, and all the participants who attended my classes. It was wonderful for me and Mizuho to see you all gain a better understanding of Asai Sensei's karate and also enjoy social time together. Osu, Andre
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Greetings from England

Greetings from Lancashire, England.
Featured here is a photo (click to enlarge) from my Asai-ha Shotokan seminar over the weekend in Poulton-le-Fylde (organised by Michael Barr Sensei and hosted by IJKA Blackpool and Wyre). A big "OSU" to all of the karateka who attended.
Upon returning to New Zealand several reports will be posted here on this site (supplemented by video footage) – so stay tuned. As always, this will be particularly useful for the karateka who participated.
Overall, if you would like to offer some feedback, you are welcome to email me at:  
OSU, André
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Thursday 25 October 2012

The Kahanshin

The weakest point of most people’s karate, especially yudansha (holders of dan grades) nowadays, is failure to use the kahanshin (lower body) correctly. Irrespective of rank, tournament accolades and the like, failure to use the kahanshin correctly means that the person is literally not worthy of dan. The reality is that many of the current “world karate champions” and people having high dan ranks, including those from Japan, execute their kihon and kata without properly using their kahanshin; thereby, taking away (or more commonly, "seriously limiting") karate's prime source of power. For that reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that many people view karate with contempt: insofar as being an effective martial art.

As discussed countless times before on this website, rotation of the waist is also insufficient without the drive of the legs. Personally, I teach that the rotation and/or driving of the hips is an automatic consequence of leg thrust, as opposed to being an independent action; moreover, it is harmonious with one’s waza (technique), unsoku/ashi-hakobi (foot work), kokyu (breathing) and zanshin (mental preparedness).

From this common-sense perspective, which like all things in karate must not only be theoretically understood, but must be perfected and maintained through regular training, simple kihon-geiko is paramount. I’ll say this again… just "knowing the theory" is useless: one must train.

How to train? In particular, to develop the kahanshin, stationary kihon is essential. The most simple ways are: (a) practicing koshi no kaiten (hip rotation) from hanmi into shomen in zenkutsu-dachi (and naturally in other tachikata as well); (b) training individual techniques from tate-shuto gamae i.e. - gyaku-zuki , yoko shuto-uchi etc; and (c) renzonkuwaza: most commonly kizami-zuki kara gyaku-zuki.

From there, ido-kihon, training in jiyu-dachi and impact work must be done. Of course, practicing kata and kumite further groove the proper use of the kahanshin. Overall, the full use of the kahanshin must remain homogeneous if one wishes to practice karate: as the unsurpassed martial art of self-defence that it can be when practiced correctly.

Osu, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Sunday 21 October 2012

Palmerston North Seminar 2012

It is confirmed I will now be conducting an open course up in Palmerston North, which will be hosted by Morgan Dilks Sensei (Chief Instructor of the Universal Shotokan Karate Union of New Zealand). Morgan always runs awesome events--where everyone is welcome--and I'm sure there will be ample camaraderie in addition to technical seminars.

Please click on the poster for more details. This will be my final seminar for 2012, which after teaching in Germany, Italy, Australia, England and Christchurch (the South Island of New Zealand) will have to end with a bang in the North Island!

It is going to be a super weekend of Karate-Do: see you there!

Osu, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Friday 19 October 2012

Kyouga nokorino jinnsei saisyo no hi

 今日が残りの人生最初の日or “kyouga nokorino jinnsei saisyo no hi” literally means “Today is the first day of the rest of my life”. This is an important saying in Karate-Do. Physically this is reflected by one having a beginners mind in their training; moreover, using each day to maximise their efforts. Osu, André.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Monday 8 October 2012


At the end of this year after returning from teaching karate-do in the United Kingdom I will hold an Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu Karate Weekend Course here in Christchurch (New Zealand). This will be held on the first weekend of December (Saturday and Sunday - the 1st & 2nd) and is open to all traditional karateka. If you wish to attend please email me at: There will be four "two hour sessions": 1pm-3pm & 4-6pm on the Saturday; and 9-11am & 1pm-3pm on the Sunday. This is always a small course as many people are busy during December, so this makes it quite a personal event for the attendees. You can get an idea about this seminar on youtube as there are two videos from last year. Osu! Andre
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Sunday 30 September 2012

My Karate Courses in UK & South Africa

Soon I will be flown to teach Asai-Ha Shotokan-Ryu Technical Seminars in England. Rather than contact me, please click on the poster to book a place with organizer Michael Barr Sensei (4th Dan IJKA). 

Likewise, for South Africa! I believe these two courses, in England and South Afirca, may well be my last (outside of New Zealand and Japan) for a fair while.

OSU! Andre.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand 2012.

Friday 28 September 2012


Please forgive my recent absence from posting any technical articles on Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu and Shotokan karate-Do in general... My workload has been out of control (but wonderful) at the University of Canterbury, so my daily self-training and attendance at the IJKA-NZ Christchurch Dojo is my priority. As I always say, TRAINING is the priority "karate-wise"; thus, when time is short, my posting always suffers. Anyway, after October 16th I will finally be free! So, expect lots of posts, videos etc... By the way, I sent Abe Keigo Sensei my footage from training in his classes at the JKA (Japan Karate Association) Sohonbu in Ebisu in the early 1990s (which he wanted a copy of). He said he will have these videos transferred onto the internet and will then put them on his JSKA (Japan Shotokan Karate Association) website so look forward to that. Once they are uploaded, I was told that Naito Sensei will contact me, and I will post a link here.
Anyway, the photos here are from my self-training today. As always, heaps of work to do in order to "level-up", so I must continue to push myself "to the limit!" Like all things, Karate-Do is a journey with no limits; therefore, the destination functions as the motivation: whilst the quality of the voyage is what really matters.

I wish everyone who visits this site good health and training!
OSU, Andre

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand 2012

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Andre Bertel Karate-Do Seminars in England: November 2012

The Blackpool and Wyre Karate Club, where I will be teaching at in November, have put up an article about the event on their site (To get these details first hand, through their site, please click on the link at the bottom of the page).

I am very much looking forward to teaching in the UK, and are preparing some very special courses on Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu Karatedo. The Open Weekend Course will be an event not to be missed for anyone serious about studying Asai Karate in the United Kingdom and further afield in mainland Europe.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu, OSU! See you all in England.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Thursday 30 August 2012

Late August & September Training Regime

Here’s my latest training routine which I have been following in the second half of August and will probably continue a fair way into September. It is quite self-explanatory (with the exception of reps which are dependent on my daily condition). Nevertheless, I’m currently self-training hard only three times a week, in addition to the dojo sessions where I simply train with the class and sweat. My other four practices are usually more light and technical—where I work on high-level technique and fine tuning. PS - I had to re-title this post, as I was a month ahead of myself... Too much time in books!!! Osu, André

KIHON: (1) Kizami zuki kara Sanbon zuki (jiyu kamae); (2) Jodan age uke kara chudan soto uke soshite chudan gyaku zuki; (3) Ippo sagatte jodan age uke kara mawashi geri, uraken yokomawashi uchi soshite chudan oi zuki; (4) Chudan soto uke kara yori ashi yoko empi uchi (kiba dachi), uraken yokomawashi uchi soshite chudan gyaku zuki; (5) Ippo sagatte gedan barai kara oi zuki soshite oi zuki; (6) Chudan uchi uke (kokutsu dachi) kara kizami zuki soshite gyaku zuki; (7) Chudan shuto uke (kokutsu dachi) kara nukite; (8) Chudan shuto uke (kokutsu dachi) kara mae ashi mae geri soshite nukite; (9) Mae geri kara jun zuki (jiyu kamae); (10) Yoko keage ashi o kaete yoko kekomi (kiba dachi); (11) Ren geri: Mae geri kara yoko kekomi, mawashi geri soshite gyaku zuki; (12) Mae geri kara yoko kekomi soshite gyaku zuki; (13) Migi sonoba ren geri: Mae geri kara yoko kekomi soshite ushiro geri; (14) Hidari sonoba ren geri: Mae geri kara yoko kekomi soshite ushiro geri; & (15) Gyaku-zuki (Idomokuhyo).

KUMITE: Jiyu ippon kumite & Jiyu kumite

KATA: Shitei-gata (Heian, Junro, Tekki, Bassai-dai, Kanku-dai, Enpi & Jion) & Jiyu-gata (random). For example, today's dojo training was Heian, Tekki, Junro, Bassai-dai, Empi & Jion. And my self-training was Jitte, Gankaku, Hangetsu, Kanku-sho & Chinte. Just to add my view on kata training... Irrespective of what you practice in karate, it must be for martial arts; therefore, whether training one kata many times over, or a number of them, intensively isolate one point in your practice and relentlessly work on this: in the aim to heighten your overall skill.

By the way, if you notice the two types of gedan-barai from the dojo training this evening... Yes, they are intentionally different; hence, posted on here (as as result of a question from one of my students). A decisive gedan-barai to attack (drive the rear leg straight) and the orthodox gedan-barai contracting the rear leg.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).