Saturday 30 December 2017

Andre Bertel International Seminar, GERMANY 2018

 Below are the official posters for my International Technical Seminar in Deutschland (Germany) 2018: one in English and one in Deutsch.

For those who manage to get in, see you there!! Happy Winter holidays from Oita City, Japan. Osu, - André Bertel.

Monday 25 December 2017


My second interview on NHK television. This time at the illumination of Funai Jo. Unfortunately, the video is from a family members TV, and the video cuts off!! Regardless, here it is. Osu.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Special training

Today I did a special training of very special kata from my late teacher. I was very privileged as I was the only one taught these highly advanced kata and their applications. Normally, I practice these kata in isolation. However, today, I did an unprecedented training of them all.

 Needless to say, this was a fun training, rather than a serious one. I think it is important to occasionally `just enjoy training’

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Current self-training regime

Here is my current daily self-training regime, which I have used over the last month and a half. As followers of this blog around the world know, this training, which I undertake each day, is reflective of the daily socho-geiko (morning training) of my late teacher, Asai Tetsuhiko Shuseki-Shihan.

Finishing training at Gokoku Jinja, Oita.
基本 (Kihon): Currently I am working three techniques: firstly, oi-zuki; secondly, gyaku-zuki; and thirdly, mae-geri keage. However, Im  training all three with the following variations of karada no buki (weapons of the body): seiken, nakadaka ippon-ken, hiraken and shihon-nukite for both punches; and koshi/josokutei and tsumasaki for mae-geri. Taken as a whole, the aim is optimal form and trajectories, explosiveness, maai, maximum impact power and appropriate targeting; in particular, 急所 (kyusho). I would like to add here that these points are nothing secret; rather, they are merely the weak points of the body (derived from the meridian points of traditional Chinese medicine). Enough on that topic today: as nothing beats a poke in the eyes and kick to the testicles. 

Asai Sensei applying what he called 'koken' and what is more commonly referred to, in Shotokan, as kakuto. His unpredictable timing and impact power was nothing less than incredible. Nothing like the karate of the present time.
  (Kata): My kata training is currently quite broad to wrap up 2017. Im practising the following: (1) Taikyoku Shodan as a kihongata specifically for shomen and hanmi in zenkutsu-dachi, kakato-chushin, and the forward channelling of power; (2) Tekki Shodan for jiyu-kumite/self-defense, in particular, utilizing and optimizing ground power with lateral movement; (3) Enpi for the aforementioned points in Taikyoku and Tekki: but with a great focus on chikara no kyojaku; (4) Nijushiho for fine tuning―especially in regards to transitions; and (5) a Koten-gata, which varies every few days, based on my condition and any aspects I decide to further address; for example, yesterday I practised Kakuyoku Sandan to further work on my use of 重力 (juryoku/gravity) in techniques. 
Kotengata: Kibaken, which I originally learned from notes (kindly provided by Jon Keeling Sensei of Northern California).

組手 (Kumite): My kumite training at present is focused on the bujutsu karate applications for self-defence. The techniques and principles Im working on are directly related to my current kata practise. In sum, this includes aspects which I have never taught other karateka before. I will begin disseminating this deeper well of knowledge in Europe next year.

Soon I will change this routine as it has recently passed its peak. This process and analysis is how I have continued to grow especially in the last two decades. One of my motto's is "never seek mediocrity". This includes technique, application and dry humour. I will end on this note. Train hard and smart. Osu!!
Mae-geri kekomi utilizing tsumasaki as the karada no buki.
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Monday 11 December 2017

Joshua Block from Germany visits

Over the weekend Joshua Block, from Germany, came for training here in Oita City. Of course, in addition to karate practice, it was lovely to catch up with him.

A.    Kihon: The main thing we worked on was using ones ‘kinetic chain’ correctly for optimal ‘snap’—in combination with applying the maximum amount of bodyweight: when executing various karate techniques.
B.     Kumite: The aforementioned aspects were then practiced in various forms of kumite with the most emphasis being on Kihon Ippon Kumite and Jiyu Ippon Kumite. 

C.     Kata: Again, to further in-still the correct use of ones kinetic chain and weight transfer into the target, the kata Seiryu was practiced; and its oyo (applications).  This essentially summarized all the previous technical points covered over the weekend, but from a more advantaged angle; thus, providing a window for deeper physical understanding. The training of Seiryu was the technical high point of the weekend.


In sum, it really was a great weekend of training and nice times. It was especially heartening to see him lift his technical skills, in several key domains. All the very best Joshua for your remaining time here in Japan. It was great to have you here! Osu, André

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Wednesday 29 November 2017


Over the weekend karateka from Australia visited Oita—to practice Budo Karate with me—for two days. One of the practitioners was Don Walker Sensei whom I met, through the late Carl Marriott Shihan (whom first brought me to Western Australia), several years back.The focus during the six hours of training was ‘Karate as a martial art of self-defence in the real world’. This was achieved by the transmission of the foundational knowledge of Bujutsu Karate from which one can return Karate to its original potent form. While this certainly exists within the broad category of `Karate-Do’, for most karate around the world, it is either not practiced at all or, more commonly, practiced incorrectly.

I will not detail the trainings but will say it was a highly productive time and a great chance to spread Karate-Jutsu to Australia on a higher level. 

Overall, we wish you all the very best for your remaining time here in Japan. Osu, André

 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Monday 13 November 2017

順路初段 (Junro Shodan)

The 順路 (Junro) and 常行 (Joko) kata are essential for those who wish to achieve a very high level; however, they must be practiced properly. The problem is that very-very few know the correct movements, key points, and applications. Many organizations have simply 'turned the Junro and Joko kata into Heian movement'.

Today lets consider the objectives of Junro Shodan, followed by an outline...

The 40 movements of this kata, done in the way 'they were originally designed', result in a catapulted progression. Sadly, 'Shotokanization' of this kata for competitions (and, indeed, the other kata from my late Sensei), have largely invalidated their 'purpose of design'. Some have attempted to 'stylistically' imitate the Junro; however, this is again pointless, as it misses their application for actual fighting.
Tsukiwaza in kihon, kata and yakusoku kumite keeps the heel down and foot flat, but in freestyle practice, the heel drives then lifts. This is a critical understanding in Karate.

The key points of Junro Shodan are as follows:

1. The main theme is: push and pull.

2. Next, is gravity.

3. And equal to gravity is ground power.

4. Un-weighting the lead leg to transfer weight (and timing of techniques in relation to this: for maximum impact). This point transcends Junro and is one of the core aspects that separates sports karate and the bujutsu (martial arts) karate of the past.

5. And, finally, related to point one and underpinning any optimal use of the body, maximising the kinetic chain for maximum effectiveness.


1. Drop down moving the left leg outward to form kiba-dachi and execute hidari sokumen gedan-barai.

2. Pull back the left foot to heiko-dachi apply hidari sokumen jodan uchi-uke.

3. Advance into hidari zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan nobashi-zuki.

4. Kaiten shinagara migi gedan-barai (migi zenkutsu-dachi).

5. Hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.

6-10. Turn 180 degrees and repeat movements 1-5 on the opposite side.

11. Turn 90 degrees to face shomen in hidari zenkutsu-dachi with hidari gedan-barai.

12. Pull the lead foot back into hidari ashi mae neko ashi dachi (Hidari chudan uchi-uke).

13. Drive forward into hidari zenkutsu-dachi with migi chudan gyaku-zuki.

14-16. Repeat movements 11-13 on the opposite side.
Tenshin is an essential aspect of Asai Sensei's karate and is found throughout the Junro, Joko and Koten-gata.

17. Advance with migi chudan gyaku-zuki in hidari zenkutsu-dachi (KIAI). 

18. Turn 270 degrees into hidari kokutsu-dachi with migi jodan-barai.

19. Pull back the lead foot into migi ashi mae neko ashi dachi with migi chudan soto-uke.

20. Drive forward into migi zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.

21. Zenshin migi chudan gyaku-zuki

22-25. Turn 180 degrees counterclockwise and repeat movements

18-21 on the opposite side.

26. Turn 90 degrees clockwise and make migi gedan-barai facing ura shomen in migi zenkutsu-dachi.

27. Pull back the lead leg forming migi ashi mae neko ashi dachi with migi jodan age-uke.

28. Migi kizami mae-geri.

29. Drive forward with the lead leg into migi zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.

30-33. Repeat movements 26-29 on the opposite side.

34. Zenshin hidari chudan gyaku-zuki in migi zenkutsu-dachi.

35. Advance with the left foot (tsugi-ashi) then pivoting 270 degrees on the left heel move into hidari kokutsu-dachi with migi chudan uchi-uke.

36. Migi jodan shihon nukite (yoko nukite) transferring into migi-zenkutsu.

The points found in Junro Shodan expand to the most advanced Koten-gata and, in turn, boost the understanding of the standard Shotokan-Ryu kata.

37. Hidari chudan oi-zuki.

38-40. Turn 180 degrees and repeat movements 35-37 on the opposite side.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Thursday 2 November 2017

Peter Sensei and Rainer San 2017 (PART TWO)

Only photos to reflect a great time of Budo Karate, Bujutsu Karate and friendship with Peter and Rainer from Germany.

Osu, Andre

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Peter Sensei and Rainer San 2017 (PART ONE)

Peter Lampe and Rainer Schone (from Borgholzhausen, Germany) dropped by to Oita, for the weekend: to train at my dojo and hang out. Needless to say it was fun to catch up and practice karate together. Peter and Rainer have come to train in Japan with me before but, this time, they also travelled with their very cool partners: Birte and Christiane... We were honored to have them here and enjoyed very nice times!!

Training-wise, we covered many things—I will post some photos and, perhaps some video footage, of the practices soon. 

Peter and Rainer, I look forward to seeing your continued development. It is always great to spend time and practice karate with friends: who are also purely seeking karate as traditional Budo (martial arts). Birte, a fellow teacher, and Christiane, a fellow practitioner of Karate, thank you for the time together. My family and I wish all four of you a wonderful time for your remaining days, here in Japan, and hope to see you all soon very again, Osu, André.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Yann and Phinh return to Oita

Yann and Phinh Robert from Paris, France, once again returned to Oita to train and catch up. This was their second time to come to Oita to train; furthermore, they have also attended several of my technical seminars in Europe.


I’ll not outline what we practiced—as that is for them—however, I will say that I’ve seen their karate greatly improve since our first meeting. Needless to say, this clearly reflects a combination of regular and conscientious budo karate practice by both of them; moreover, a streamlined training methodology, which will certainly result in continued and on-going improvement. While not being an official pedagogical term, this is what I refer to as ‘snow ball improvement’.

 In sum, I was very pleased to see these technical developments; and indeed, to be able to enjoy nice social times together. Yann and Phinh, I wish you the very best for your remaining time here in Japan. Next time I know you will both be better than now, and your return vist, like everyone else, is reflected by tangible outcomes. Until we meet again, Osu!
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Tuesday 24 October 2017


Here is an interview, about my recent seminars in Germany, in the Krefeld local magazine, KR-ONE. Osu, Andre

Direct links to previous four parts





© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Monday 23 October 2017


Here is an excellent summary—in Deutsch—of my recent seminar in Krefeld, Germany, composed by Andrea Haeusler Sensei (Karateschule Fuji San Munster). This summary is featured on her blog/site, which I highly recommend: 

This 'summary' in conjunction with the videos will allow all of the participants, in Krefeld 2017, to thoroughly review the underpinning aspects of the seminar.

 Thank you very much Andrea for once again transcribing my seminars into Deutsch!!

I'll be conducting the conclusive part two of the seminar in another region of Deutschland next year. This will be officially  announced soon!!

Until then please check out the latest seminar video on YouTube and if feel free to make a comment! I really appreciate feedback.
© Andre Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).