Friday 29 March 2019

Video of Kakuyoku Shodan (Performed slowly)

As promised, here is a video of 鶴翼初段 (Kakuyoku Shodan) kata performed slowly. This was filmed yesterday prior to my training.

It is primarily for seminar attendees. I hope that this video helps you to review the key points covered and, consequently, results in your increased technical effectiveness.

Best wishes from Oita City, Japan.

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

Monday 25 March 2019

Freital, Germany Seminar 2019 (Part V)

Brief seminar video, as a very subtle reminder of key underlying key points I taught, during the Freital 2019 Seminar.

These points generically cover one of the dimensions imperative for street effective karate - irrespective of ryuha/kaiha; that is budo/bujutsu karate.

By the way, we'd like to hear feedback on the seminar!! Video comments are always very appreciated.


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

Sunday 24 March 2019

Freital, Germany Seminar 2019 (Part IV)

Click on the link below for another excellent and fun article (in both Deutsch and English). Many thanks to Oliver Schömburg Sensei!!

A drone was used by the host club to capture images.

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

Friday 22 March 2019

Freital, Germany Seminar 2019 (Part III)

Here is another excellent summary of the Seminar, in Deutsch, by Andrea Haeusler Sensei (Karateschule-Muenster).

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

Thursday 21 March 2019

Freital, Germany Seminar 2019 (Part II)

Here is the official report on the Freital Seminars—in Deutsch—composed by Andy Nietzold Sensei, including the two official videos and numerous photographs.


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

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Freital, Germany Seminar 2019 (Part I)

To begin, I would like to offer my thanks...

Firstly, to the main organizer of the seminar and my host, Stephan Pilz Sensei (3rd Dan), also his lovely family, who took very good care of me.

Secondly, Andy Neitzold Sensei (2nd Dan), who also administrated the seminar; furthermore, translated, amongst other things. 

Thirdly, Marco Herrmann Sensei (3rd Dan) who was the seminars MC).

Fourthly, the members and families of the Shotokan-Karateverein Freital e. V. club.

And fifthly, all of the karateka from across Europe whom attended.

A big "OSU" to you all from Oita City, Japan.
Official T Shirts from the 2019 Freital Seminar.

Shotokan-Karateverein Freital e. V.

Founded 1984, current round about 90 members. Leading instructors Stephan Pilz Sandan, Marco Herrmann Sandan. For those interesting in starting karate or finding a club in the Freital area here is their official website:

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

Friday 15 March 2019

South Africa 2019 Seminar (Part Four)

Here is the fourth and final post on my recent seminars Karate Seminars in South Africa. Below the newpaper report are links to the first three parts. Osu, Andre
Click on the newspaper report to read.

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

Monday 11 March 2019

South Africa 2019 Seminar (Part Three)

Finally here is some video footage from my 2019 South Africa International Seminar. Please note the video footage has been cut in a way which allows the seminar participants to see key points (hints/reminders), without revealing too much. Why? Because that knowledge is for those who came and trained!

I must add that a couple of important foundational points of Budo/Bujutsu Shotokan-style karate, are shown clearly; nevertheless, again, without attending, these could still easily be taken out of context and trained in a counterproductive manner. It elucidates the old saying: 'Practice doesn't make perfect' but, rather, 'Perfect practise makes perfect'.

The question about feedback/comments on my YouTube Channel:

Many people have asked me about commenting on my videos. In sum, I really appreciate comments as they confirm people's interest and, in turn, they really encourage me to post new footage. Again, as stated above, the videos often reveal things subtly (that is, only those who have trained with me in person WILL UNDERSTAND). Moreover, as training continues, deeper levels will be revealed to these karateka; thereby, resulting in continuously increasing levels of technical skill and increased effectiveness/application.

Lastly, I would again like to thank Gary Grapentin Sensei and Maureen de Jager Sensei, and all of the other instructors, and members, of USR (United Shotokan Ryu). Indeed, I also extend this thanks to all of the other wonderful people, who attended, from other karate groups. I have a term 'Karate Family', which is what I believe all authentic traditional/budo karateka are.

For me personally, it was great not only to teach karate outside Japan—which is always a great honour, but to also catch up with old friends and forge new friendships as well. I am very positive that this year’s seminar in South Africa will lead to an immense amount of technical growth there – for those who practise what was covered.

In conclusion, I hope to see you all there in South Africa again, in the near future, and/or here in Japan for training at my dojo. Kindest regards and all the very best from Oita. Osu, André

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

Wednesday 6 March 2019

South Africa 2019 Seminar (Part Two)

In this second post I'd like to look at USR - UNITED SHOTOKAN RYU. With a great attitude, the seeking of top level karate for its members, and wonderful people, I believe that USR will have a bright future in South Africa and, indeed, internationally. Greetings from Oita City, Japan. Osu, Andre
One of the group photos from the March 2019 South Africa Seminar, hosted by USR. - Photos courtesy of Maureen Sensei.

United Shotokan-Ryu

United Shotokan-Ryu (USR) is an independent Shotokan group which was formed in South Africa during 2018. USR currently comprises eighteen different dojo situated in various towns and cities in the provinces of the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng. The Union is run by a working committee overseen by Gary Grapentin who holds the position of Chairperson. Other senior members include Alta Venter and Kenny Tawse.

USR’s priority is to preserve the practice of Shotokan Karate in South Africa as a true form of Japanese Budo. In order to achieve this, world class Shotokan instructors who focus on Budo are brought to South Africa to conduct seminars on an annual basis. Not holding an international style-affiliation enables USR greater freedom in accessing some of the world’s most talented and highly-regarded contemporary Shotokan Karate Masters. Space permitting, USR International Seminars are open to all Shotokan karateka irrespective of affiliation. USR embraces the opportunity to build friendships with karateka from other Shotokan groups and karate styles.

USR recognises the need for transformation, specifically within a South African context, and strives to support members from previously disadvantaged communities in their practice of Shotokan Karate. In terms of community and social development, karate training is offered in Alicedale, Joza (Makhanda) and at the MTR Smit Children’s Haven in Port Elizabeth. USR believes in equal opportunities for its members, irrespective of race, culture or gender and prioritises an investment in the next generation of karateka. 

For further information regarding USR, Gary Grapentin may be contacted at

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

Monday 4 March 2019

South Africa 2019 Seminar (Part One)

This will be the first of several articles/posts on my recent seminar in South Africa. Hosted by USR—United Shotokan Ryu, this was my second time teaching on the African continent.

Before I go on I’d like to thank Gary Grapentin Sensei and Maureen de Jager Sensei for bringing me back and, again, taking very good care of me. I’m also very thankful for the awesome feedback that I’ve received from the participants.

OK, so here is Part One… A premier, via the Port Elizabeth Newspaper ‘Talk of the Town’. You can click on the JPEG below to read. Stay tuned for more articles, photos and videos, which will be coming soon!
 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).