Friday, 14 June 2013


Here's just a quick post, really speaking a reflection, summing up my thoughts about completing a degree at the University of Canterbury—in relation to my karate training; supplementary fitness work which has been slightly neglected biannually; and most importantly to me—my kansha (appreciation) of those who have supported me through my university degree. I end with some conclusive thoughts, which relate back to the psychological and sociological underpinnings of karatedo (in a traditional Japanese sense). Please excuse my subtitled approach; however, I decided to write this post freely without concern for structure. Osu, André

Since I just completed my final test I will begin by reflecting on my training "around exam times" - at the end of each university semester... Again, these are my random self-observations.

Karate never sacrificed for university study: While my karate technical training has never suffered, at times my fitness slightly has, due to all the time needed to research for university assignments, study for exams etcetera. Nevertheless, my daily karate training has naturally kept my base fitness, especially pertaining to the execution of karate itself.

A slight reduction of endurance work: The slight decline in my fitness has been the reduction of additional endurance training, which has suffered at the end of each semester (to avoid sacrificing vital study time). This has been interesting, as it has shown me how my “body reacts” when not undertaking endurance training for a few weeks. Fascinatingly, this reaction was not as bad as I thought: which perhaps illustrates the likes of muscle memory?
University degree finished: Finally, this sacrifice of my endurance training twice a year (yes, it sounds comical now) is no longer required with my degree completed. Needless to say, this sacrifice was of course very worthwhile! Besides completing a degree at the University of Canterbury, it has helped me as a teacher and instructor; shown me how I could readily transfer the discipline of karate to study and constantly achieve high grades (for the young people, who read my blog, – please take note of this); and has also been an achievement outside of my karate, which, after 32 years of karate training, I felt I needed.  

Away from these self-observations I want to offer my thanks to those who have supported me on my university journey...
A big “Thank you”: Of course, just like training, achievements aren’t just our own. They come from love and support from family, friends and yes, my students also. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank some awesome people and express my kansha here. My wife Mizuho, mum (Denise), dad (Tom), mother-in-law and father-in-law (Masato and Emiko), grandmother – “93 years old who still drives” (Gladys), brothers and sisters (Tom, Terry, Lisa and Denise), other family here in NZ and in the US, all my karate students and seniors here in New Zealand and around the world, Lyall Sensei and the guys at JKA (Japan Karate Association) Christchurch, all of great lecturers and tutors at the University of Canterbury, and very-very special thanks to Geoff and Jan...
So where to now? Well, a big change is coming and my karate is being amped up with increased endurance training again… Yesterday it was fitness work with Matt Brew Sensei (3rd Dan) at Addington School. Nonetheless, It will take a few weeks before my fitness is back to 100%, but things are now well on the way. It is strange not having to complete any assignments or exams, but it is nice to just go for a run and do calisthenics without having any deadlines to meet. My next phase in my university study will be part-time, so now it is just a case of considering “what I will be researching?” and “how can this research contribute towards my profession?” Karate-wise, this means that my study will never hinder my endurance training again. So again, this makes the biannual sacrifice of this fitness (during my time at the University of Canterbury) now seem very trivial!

To all my readers around the world, I hope this post finds you all healthy and enjoying your lives to the maximum; moreover, using your karate training as one of your vehicles to do this. Irrespective of the challenges one has to face, the art and discipline of traditional Karate-Do is a very powerful asset for one’s life; furthermore, it helps us to better appreciate others. I have no doubt that there is a connection between reigi-saho, kansha and inner-strength, which helps us to transcend our personal limits and support others in doing this as well. Osu, André.
© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2013).  

No comments: