Tuesday 31 December 2019


I have uploaded a slow performance of 掌手 (Shoute) kata. This is the version taught by my late teacher, Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei.

Tomorrow 国際空手道松濤館 (IKS - INTERNATIONAL KARATE SHOTOKAN) will release a website. It will be under construction for some time yet, but there!

Lastly, I'd like to wish everyone a very happy new year and new decade.



© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Sunday 29 December 2019

Trainee from Pretoria (PART 2): VIDEO

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Trainee from Pretoria, South Africa: Simone Roig Collado (PART 1)

Simone Roig Collado (5th Dan) from Pretoria, South Africa, just completed 10 days here in Oita City as a Renshusei at my dojo.

During her time here I saw her greatly increase her skills via studious training and increased self-awareness skills: both are at the core of the IKS 国際空手道松濤館  (International Karate Shotokan) Renshusei Program. The essence of this is to gain measurable results which are tangible. In sum, the training here is all about getting real results—immediate and long term improvements, as opposed to stylistic differentiations—which are largely irrelevant in the greater budo/bujutsu context.

This is why I don’t correct differences, I only correct biomechanical errors and advise about superior application methodologies.

While I'll not go into the specific training that Simone received, as a Renshusei (as always, that is for her and whom she wishes to share it with), I will say that a lot was covered in depth. Amongst the lesson contents included 鶴翼 (Kakuyoku), 青柳 (Seiryu), 明鏡二段  (Meikyo Nidan) and most notably, 掌手 (Shoute).

Throughout the time 'trainee specific' 基本 (Kihon/fundamentals) were covered such as improvements/advancements of koshi no kaiten, tai no shinshuku, teashi onaji, shime, and so forth. Needless to say, everything was related directly to effective application in 組手  (Kumite/unarmed self-defense).

Taken as a whole, Simone did extremely well and, as previously stated, really improved each day. I’d like to once again congratulate her. Added to this, she became the first non-Japanese Renshusei to train at the new Oita-Prefecture Showa Denko Budojo.

Outside of the dojo it was great to spend lovely times with Simone, her husband Carlos, and their little daughter Natalia. We wish you all the very best for the final week of 2019 and, indeed, in the New Year.

 André Bertel

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Tuesday 10 December 2019


In a mere few weeks we will be entering into a new year and, also, a new decade! While theres still another 21 days of training left to do, Im beginning to do my annual wind-down training, by going through the new 国際空手道松濤館 (IKS: International Karatedo Shotokan) grading syllabus—基本 (Kihon), (Kata) and 組手 (Kumite).

Working through the updated syllabus, just a few days ago, I made a trip to train at Futagoji, which is another famous temple here in Oita Prefecture.

Located deep in the Kunisaki Peninsula, Futagoji was founded over 1,300 years ago. While, indeed, this iconic temple is in Oita, it still took me a few hours (from my home in central Oita City) to get there. As a result, it’s been over 12 years since I last visited and practiced Karate there.

Ever since I first came here to Japan in 1993, I’ve enjoyed training at shrines and temples. I’m not a Buddhist, nor follower of Shinto; however, the architectural beauty and immersion in nature, make them ideal for highly concentrated and intense karate practice. Here in Oita, such traditional places are so vast and, unlike more populated regions of Japan, it is possible to visit them without disturbance.

Lastly, I would like to say that announcements will be made soon:

(1) Regarding dojo and group affiliations to Japan with IKS.

(2) The new examination syllabus.

Osu and greetings from chilly Oita City, Japan. - André

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Sunday 1 December 2019

紅葉 (Koyo) Part Two: 百聞は一見に如かず

右上段手掌突き (Right upper level palm heel thrust). Kihon training in beautiful Yufuin, Oita.

Enjoying Koyo with my daughter before commencing my daily self-training.
Kata: 八門 (Hachimon)
 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Saturday 23 November 2019

紅葉 (Koyo)

I have recently updated my daily self-training regime. This update coincides with the beautiful 紅葉 (Koyo) here in Japan.

基本 (Kihon)
My present Kihon routine is currently two dimensional; that is, (a) highly generic covering the complete IKS syllabus; and (b) my usual ‘specialization practice’—which is specific for my own development.

Today, for example, I worked on the fifth and final set of Kihon. This comprises of three Ido Kihon combinations, one stationary combination and idomokuhyo with gyaku-zuki. Each day I switch between levels one to five of the grading syllabus.

My kata, too, has been diverse. Today it comprised of  順路 (Junro) and 常行 (Joko) for fundamental refinement; whilst yesterday it was 岩鶴 (Gankaku) and 二十四歩 (Nijushiho). To elucidate the variety of my kata practice, earlier in the week it was Tekki and Chinte.
組手 (Kumite)
Presently my Kumite practice is focused on Kaeshi Ippon Kumite; that is, counterattack(s) as an extension of Jiyu Ippon Kumite; furthermore, the ‘level-up’ of this aptly nicknamed ‘ping-pong kumite’. In particular, as always, the key point is that one’s  body power is maximized in every action (via optimally applying the fundamental principles from the basis of Kihon and kata). Overall, each days kata practice is directly influencing my strategies and and counterattacks in kumite; hence, as always Kihon, Kata and Kumite form a harmonious trinity for maximum results/development of skill. 
Usually my routine is not so colorful, however, I’m pushing forward with strong and measured skill advancement and also really enjoying the practice. Best wishes and training from Oita City, Japan.

André Bertel
 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Monday 18 November 2019

Renshusei from Australia: Don Walker Sensei (5th Dan)

 Don Walker Sensei (5th Dan) recently came for several days of private training with me. Originally from Scotland, Don (and his wife Bev who accompanied him) are based in Western Australia.

Candidly speaking, it was really great to catch up them both. I first met Don and Bev when the late Carl Marriot Shihan hosted me for a seminar in 2012.

Training wise I’ll not detail what knowledge I shared with Don Sensei, as he came as a renshusei; therefore, sharing is at his personal discretion. However, I will say that a lot was passed on.

All the very best Don Sensei and Bev! Great training and lovely to catch up.

Osu, André

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Monday 11 November 2019


Today I travelled deep into the countryside of Oita Prefecture to train at Fukiji Temple, which is a National Treasure of Japan. The last time I self-trained at Fukiji was, I think, 2007… So it’s been a fair while… Located in Fuki Oaza, Bungo Takada Shi (right in the center of the Kunisaki Pininsula).

My reason for not training there in over a decade is quite simple! Oita Prefecture is filled with such wonderful traditional places to practice Karate-Do!!! Furthermore, due to Fukiji’s location—in relation to my home in central Oita City—it is too time-consuming for me to get there: especially due to my schedule.

Excuses, excuses………..To make me feel less guilty about not visiting the temple for so long, it still existed 1000 years since my last visit 10+ years ago. In fact it is said to be the oldest wooden building in Kyushu: said to be built in the year 1000.

I’ll not detail my practice today except to say it was Kihon and Kata—centric. Photos and are better than text. In sum, I'm coming back to a 'restart phase'... START AGAIN...


© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Saturday 9 November 2019

Renshusei from Frankfurt: Janine Krekel

 Janine Krekel from Frankfurt, Germany, came for eight hours of training as a Renshusei at my dojo here in Oita City.

Over the days the training included kata: 五十四歩小(Gojushiho Sho), 五十四歩大 (Gojushiho Dai), 曇手 (Unsu) and 落葉 (Rakuyo).

Extensive fine tuned kihon and applications were practiced in relation to these four kata; furthermore, connections to the shitei-gata and sentei-gata.

Overall, Janine was extremely focused and did very well. As a result, she clearly lifted her skill level over the days and, beyond that, left with plenty of budo/bujutsu karate 'homework'.

Congratulations Janine on your improvements. I wish you the best in your on-going training. Osu, Andre


For those wishing to book places as Renshusei next year, applications are now finally open. I recommend booking at least three months in advance to secure days and times. For non-Japanese karateka, you will need to arrange your own visa. Bookings are arranged by email: andrebertelono@gmail.com
Please title the email RENSHUSEI APPLICATION. 
 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Sunday 27 October 2019

2020 Deutschland Seminar Announcements

I will be again conducting two International Budo Karate Seminars in Deutschland next year. 

The first will be in April in the South (Seehausen, Bavaria). Direct link: http://bodhidharma.de/downloads/bertel_bavarian_budo_experience_flyer_2004_dft.pdf

The second will be in the eastern side of the country (Freital, Saxony), which will be held in September. Direct link: 

These two technical seminars, while related, will involve different content. As always my objective is to share a wide range of knowledge, however, this early establishment of two seminars in Germany provides a platform to do this with greater effectiveness. For those wishing to attend I thoroughly recommend getting in early. See you next year in Deutschland!

Osu and greetings from Oita City, Japan.

 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Morgan Sensei, Brad, Paul and Steve from Aotearoa - New Zealand

Morgan Dilks Sensei from Palmerston North, New Zealand, came with three of his students: Brad Stevens, Paul Mangin and Steve Brown.
The training was focused on a significant number of key points of Kihon underpinning karate as bujutsu; furthermore, this was furthered by practical oyo (applications), which was the requested focus. Primarily sequences from Enpi kata were analyzed—in context with iriguchiwaza, also kihon ukewaza, freestyle and foundational unsoku (footwork) and so on. 
Overall, as always, it was super to be with Morgan: both in and out of the dojo. Also it was awesome to catch up with Brad, and forge new friendships with Paul and Steven. All the best guys for your remaining time here in Japan. We wish you a safe and fun journey home to Aotearoa New Zealand. Osu, André

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).

Monday 21 October 2019

Renshusei: Peter Lampe Sensei

Peter Lampe Sensei (and his lovely wife Birte) came for private training over the last few days. So much was covered that I am simply going to post a few photos: as opposed to transcribe everything.

Lastly I want to congratulate Peter on his technical progression and greater understanding of budo karate.

Away from training lots of fun was had. A big thanks to you both and congratulations Peter on your karate development. 

Osu, André

Movement one of Shotei (Dai) Kata.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).