Sunday 29 April 2012

Today must be better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today!

I’ve been sent numerous emails asking for video links of my karate. While these links are not everything freely available on the internet, there are a significant number here. Irrespective of this, as I wrote in an article earlier this month “karate is a work in process”, so for me, these videos are naturally disappointing—Karate-Do is path of constantly moving forward—as Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei always said “today must be better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today.”

In June when my workload at the University of Canterbury is a lower I promise to post a lot more. Nonetheless, I appreciate the hundreds of emails I receive each month, and apologise for not enough time to reply to everyone.

Osu, André Bertel


A full list of videos I’ve uploaded on my channel:

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

Monday 16 April 2012

Keigo Abe Sensei: Christchurch Seminars

Keigo Abe Sensei conduct two seminars in Christchurch on the 5th & 6th of May 2012.

This course will be OPEN for all karateka irrespective of style or association. For those wishing to attend please email me ASAP at: or call me on (021) 295-8669.
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

Sunday 8 April 2012

Great Karate

How can anyone who practices karate-do think they are “great”? It is impossible if one has an honest view of themselves. Irrespective of competitive wins, tenure, rank and other accolades, Karate-Do is always about “where to next?” Intrinsically, the Japanese concept of ‘Do’ (way or path) does not imply a destination, only a journey.

Like all things, I believe there must be a balance, harmony. We are innately weak, so we cannot always be magnifying our deficits—sometimes—when deserved, we need to acknowledge our improvements. Nevertheless, these little truck stops where we reach our goals are not places of growth, but a point where we “get reinvigorated and set our next goal”… This means that it is time to make a renewed plan to start walking again.

One of my weaknesses when I was younger was that I was far too hard on myself in the dojo, especially in my childhood and teens (probably why I didn’t like karate very much for many years). Looking back now, I can clearly see it was due to my immaturity and a perfectionist attitude, based on my ‘boyish pride’. While these things can obviously be used to channel motivation, they can also stump development as well… And at times for me, they certainly did. During my 20s I sometimes found myself wrestling with these issues, and by my early 30s, I came pretty much to the point I am now.

Now, my approach to karate now is far better because of ‘balance’ and ‘self-honesty’. The combination of these attributes motivates practice through `step-by-step’ technical improvement, the construction of constant challenges, and the occasional truck stop where long-term goals are reached; nevertheless, the contemplation of oneself being “great” can never be a part of this equation. Overall, the idea of ‘great’ to me is a dead end… Train well and enjoy your improvements, but the only thing, that is great in Karate-Do, is the thought of “Where to next with your practice?” That truly is great! Osu, André.

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

Saturday 7 April 2012

Christchurch Seido Karate

On Thursday night I enjoyed participating in one of Hanshi Renzie Hanham’s black belt classes (at the Seido Shibu on Barbadoes Street, in the Christchurch CBD). It was super to catch up with the Kyoshi Ellen Hampson and Sensei Tony Cope both of whom I haven’t seen in 20 years! Also, I was honoured to meet many other senior club instructors and fellow karateka. Many thanks to Kyoshi Harry for the ride and the beverages after class.

I can truly say that the karateka at Christchurch Seido exemplify the precept: “Karate-Do wa rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru koto wo wasuruna” (Karate-Do begins and ends with courtesy).
Overall, I would like to thank everyone at Seido for their kind hospitality. Domo arigato gozaimashita. Osu!

PS – Sadly I have no photos from the training... But better still, here is link to an interview with Hanshi Renzie earlier this year:

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