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:
Please title the email RENSHUSEI APPLICATION. 
 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2019).