Thursday 28 June 2012

Off to Australia

Tomorrow morning I leave to teach karate seminars for the KUA (Karate Union of Australia):

I'm looking forward to training with traditional Shotokan karateka there and hopefully offering something of use for all.

It will be a long flight from New Zealand right across Australia tomorrow, so I'll have to train triple hard tonight and tomorrow morning. To those attending my technical seminars in Margaret River and Freemantle... See you soon. OSU!

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

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Links to my karate videos

While these are not all of my karate videos on the internet they are a fair few of them. I've uploaded them as 'a single post' due to numerous requests over the last few months. Again, please feel free to post comments as they really do encourage me to post more (as they show me there's an interest).

To those who have emailed me to upload the videos today, here you are.

Please excuse the term `Sensei' - I never call myself that - but a certain lovely lady typed this out for me.

Kindest regards, Andre Bertel

André Bertel, Asai-ha Shotokan-ryu Karatedo:
2. Asai Sensei basic ducking training:
3. André Bertel Christchurch IJKA Shotokan Karate Club – International Instructor:
4. Asai Shuseki Shihan has André Sensei demonstrate Rakuyo kata slowly:
5. André Bertel Basic counterattack practice:
6. André Bertel Kumite 1:
7. Asai Sensei basic ducking training:
8. André Bertel Student of Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei:
9. André Bertel IJKA Shotokan:
10. André Sensei assisting Tetsuhiko Asai Shihan in Hawaii, USA (2003):
11. André Bertel instructing at the 5th Asai Tetsuhiko Memorial Training (IJKA New Zealand):
12. Special 5th Anniversary Memorial Video of Asai Tetsuhiko Shuseki-Shihan:
13. André Bertel – “Ashi Barai – The Tetsuhiko Asai Way”:
14. André Bertel: Chief Instructor of IJKA & JKS New Zealand (footage from 2000-2003 – prior to resigning from the JKS to concentrate on IJKA-Asai ha Shotokan Ryu):
15. Former Asai JKA Technical Director Keigo Abe Shihan teaching at the IJKA Shotokan Dojo in Christchurch (2012):
16. André Sensei and Asai Shihan Kumite Enbu (Poor quality):
17. André Sensei assisting Asai Shihan:
18. Asai Sensei’s Fundamental Open Hand Blocks (assisted by André Sensei):
19. André Bertel – Asai Sensei’s Uchideshi:
20. The Karate-Do of André Bertel:

Shotei (dai) performed slowly:
Kaminari-arashi performed slowly then at regular speed with first-level 'bunkai':

Some footage of André Sensei’s Karate-Do Seminars
Ahrensburg, Germany 2010. Part II:
2. Venice, Italy (2012):
3. Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy (2010):
4. Hawaii, USA 2003:
5. Palmerston North, New Zealand (2010) Part I:
6. Palmerston North, New Zealand (2010) Part II:
7. Hamburg, Germany:
8. Toodyay, Australia (2011):
9. Christchurch, New Zealand (2011):
10. Tokyo, Japan (2010):
11. Mira, Italy (2010):
12. Ahrensburg, Germany (2010). Part I:
13. Christchurch, New Zealand Gasshuku (2011). Part I:
14. Christchurch, New Zealand Gasshuku (2011). Part II:
15. Ahrensburg & Hamburg, Germany (2012). Part I:
16. Ahrensburg & Hamburg, Germany (2012). Part II:
17. Ahrensburg & Hamburg, Germany (2012). Part III:
18. Ahrensburg & Hamburg, Germany (2012). Part IV:
19. André Bertel (6th Dan) Asai-Ha Shotokan-Ryu Karatedo:

Interviews featuring André Sensei
Asai Shuseki Shihan & André Sensei on TV3 news (New Zealand) 2004:
ii. André Sensei CTV interview 2009:
iii. André Sensei interviewed in Germany 2012:

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand 2012.

Monday 25 June 2012


It is undeniable that what establishes the skill level of a persons karate is the level of their kihon (fundamentals). While kata is ruled by oyo, as I have discussed in past articles, the quality of ones kihon still determines "effectiveness". This is precisely why there are so many excellent instructors in Japan in comparison to the rest of the world. In the hard-core traditional karate clubs of Japan the priority is correct kihon: intensely repeated over and over again. Unsurprisingly, many karateka outside of Japan have exaggerated beliefs about about how good their karate kihon actually is. Hard training and precision training must be harmonious... Many old time Shotokan karateka in the West have trained hard for many years, yet unlike their Japanese counterparts have a low technical standard. The answer is not culturally based or because the Japanese are physiologically different... The answer is a lower quality of kihon-geiko.

My wife Mizuho has practiced classical piano since she was four years old. After 32 years of experience she still emphasises that ‘kihon’ is what determines everything. One can play any complicated piece of music and apply the greatest feeling, but without high-level kihon they will be amateur players: in particular, to those who deeply understand the art of piano playing.

Returning to karate, and the point of ryuha: kata and kumite are also kihon. Therefore, if our kihon does not remain “Shotokan”—when applied in kumite—we are no longer doing the Shotokan system. Correspondingly, our kata must also strongly reflect the kihon of our respective ryuha or kaiha. Obviously it is still important to study shimewaza, ude-gatame, nagewaza and other waza hidden in the kata, but these are FAR SECONDARY to mastering the surface level kihon (oi-zuki, gyaku-zuki, mae-geri, yoko shuto uchi etc). I would like to see any bunkai expert in the world try to `apply their karate' on the likes of Masahiko Tanaka Sensei, Mikio Yahara Sensei, Hitoshi Kasuya Sensei et al.

To conclude, beware of Shotokan Karate instructors (with high grades and long experience) who emphasise kata applications and innovative karate drills; but NEVER DEMONSTRATE A FULL KATA in front of you (which is undeniably of a high-level). This is “the definitive sign” that they are fakes (alternatively, kata experts who cannot perform their kihon effectively in kumite). Unarguably, kihon was, is, and always will be the benchmark of people’s karate skill.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand 2012.

Wednesday 20 June 2012


Since starting this blog a number of people have said all sorts of nasty things about me and my karate online, but I have noticed that when I respond, immediately they forget that they were highly disrespectful in the first place. My suggestion is that if people don’t like my blog or videos, they are free not to visit or view them. And if they make rude comments that attack me, there is a possibility that I just might respond. Is that not logical?
`André Bertel’s Karate-Do’ is a blog jam packed with articles/posts (backed by numerous photos and videos)—I TALK WITH MY KARATE not only teach and write articles. It is interesting that the worse critics of this site are people who never show their own karate technique online, only talk a lot. These critics ridicule me from behind their computer screens, then claim I am arrogant when I respond. Interesting isn't it...

Any intelligent person can see that something doesn’t sit right… The people on Karate Chat Forums are the worst, and many of been waffling on them for years with literally thousands of posts! I wonder how much time do they spend in the dojo training hard? With all that time for online karate, you’d think they even have, just a moment, to upload a single kata on youtube…Even their best Heian-shodan...But no! They are clearly mouth budoka…

As said before, if people don’t like my site they are not forced to visit it, and it is their choice if they want to spend their time talking about me (and even posting entire forums). Such people either have no life or they live an unhappy life... Probably both, which I am not mocking here: but it is extremely sad.

Ultimately, one cannot improve their karate skill with words and text, and certainly not spending hours (and years!!!) in `internet karate chat rooms’. Karate is a physical art and those who have acquired a high-level are not afraid to demonstrate their skills: skills which clearly unveil their technical standard.

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

Tuesday 19 June 2012

André Bertel’s Karate-Do – 5th Anniversary!

My blog turns five years old today! Yes, half a decade has passed since I started this website.
Recently the site exceeded one million visitors and received over a dozen very thoughtful emails from all over the world. DOMO ARIGATO! The common thing that people say is that they have “…enjoyed the site because everything in it is based on actual training”. Indeed, the key is to engage in daily "TRADITIONAL" JAPANESE SHOTOKAN TRAINING. Even though I'm currently back here in New Zealand—my training still precisely mimics karate from the source. This practice is simple, repetitious and intense. However, like it or not, if one wishes to be even “OK at karate” by traditional Japanese standards: THERE IS LITERALLY NO OTHER WAY!

So there you have it! Five years on, my message remains the same! I will continue to follow Shotokan properly and conveying technique which is seeking the perfection that is sought in Japan. Thanks to all of the TRADITIONAL JAPANESE SHOTOKAN KARATEKA around the world that have supported this site for the last five years. There is so much more to come. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu! OSU, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand 2012.

Healthy hips and knees with yoko keage

In my recent post on Heian-yondan I mentioned Asai Sensei’s biomechanically superior version of performing yoko-keage (body folded slightly with the pivot foot protecting the knees).

If you wish to study this technique you can easily study it via the two photos featured here (again from Asai Sensei's 1978s publication 'Jitsugi Karatedo' and me at training last night). In particular, note the waist position and the direction of the support foot at the extension of the kicking leg. While keeping the back and hips in line looks prettier (the result of too much focus on tournament karate), if done all the time it is EXTREMELY hard on the hips and the ligaments of the knees; whereas, Asai Sensei's yoko-keage is far more natural and therefore gentle on the body. A bonus is that this photo also shows two ways of doing uraken yokomawashi uchi with yoko-keage: Asai Sensei is performing an older version (inside the kicking kick) and I am doing the version he was teaching in the 1990s and up to 2006.

Kindest regards and healthy training to everyone! Osu, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand 2012.

Monday 11 June 2012

KARATE FIRST! My June training regime

Here's my new training schedule for June. Where ever you are on planet Earth I hope it finds you well and training hard. My apologies for being unable to answer all the emails. Otherwise I'd end up like a lot of karateka nowadays who live their karate through a key board. There is apparently one chat room of old women going on about me at the moment.

The photos and videos on this site reflect my philosophy of "TRAINING FIRST". The people with crap karate will talk, talk and theorise... And the real karateka will talk with their karate! Needless to say, that is why over a million people have visited this site. People listen when commentary is backed by technique. I am not claiming to be good at karate - but this is a target I am "TRAINING TOWARDS" on a daily basis... Probably the biggest weakness of karate outside of Japan is too much waffle like the aforementioned idiots who accuse others of being arrogant because they feel inferior. Undoubtedly, they will keep flapping their mouths because that's all they have... Irrespective of such clowns, I will stick to doing karate the Japanese way, alongside the real karateka around the world who also follow this path. Osu! Andre

OK... On to my latest training regime! The last couple of days have been physically hard for me, but I hope to adjust in the coming week or so.

1. Stationary chudan mae keriage then jodan mae keriage (two kicks without dropping the kicking leg), then step back into zenkutsu dachi, followed by jodan mae kerikomi/kakato-geri and returning to stance.
• Practice method: Three counts, two counts, then all three keriwaza in one count (Each set is repeated 10 times on both sides in accordance with the aforementioned counts).

2. Stationary kizami zuki kara chudan gyaku zuki
• Practice method: Single techniques 10 times slowly; 10 times with maximum speed; 10 times with two punches per count; then two punches per count with kiai on every gyaku zuki (repeat on the opposite side).

3. Sonoba ren-geri: Mae keriage to the front, yoko keriage to the side, yoko kerikomi to the side, mawashi geri to the front and ushiro geri to the rear.
• Practice method: All five kicks 10 times very slowly, then 20 times with maximum snap (repeat on the opposite side).

4. Ido Kihon: Chudan shuto uke
• Practice method: 60 times (ten times in super slow motion; then 50 times with maximum speed/snap).

5. Ido Kihon: Chudan oi zuki

• Practice method: 60 times (ten times in super slow motion; then 50 times with maximum speed/snap).

Various forms of ippon kumite (with special emphasis on close range kogeki & hangeki). ii. Uchikomi (middle & long range kogeki & hangeki). - The training method has been in "the hundred's club" for kogeki. Everything: maximum speed and explosiveness.

In my own training a single jokyu-gata (advanced kata) depending on my daily targets.

• Practice method: 3 times facing north, south, east and west. The first time with maximum speed with extended pauses between each action (big/full motion and explosive), the second in slow motion and the third with maximum speed, and regular continuity.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand 2012.

Thursday 7 June 2012

I am free for the next few weeks

From Monday of next week (June 11th) I'll be available full-time until I take a week off to teach karate-do seminars in Western Australia.

For those wishing to train prior to then, you can email me at: Like at the start of this year, it will be a case of “first-in-first served”.

Osu, André

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand.

Neil Jerome Sensei visits Christchurch

Neil Jerome Sensei (4th Dan) of the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) came for a private class with me, late in May. It was a pleasure to meet him, and his girlfriend Debbie, during their vacation here in New Zealand.

Here is a report on the class (featured on his club website):

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