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).