Sunday, 24 January 2021

IKS OFFICIAL KATA





                                © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).

Saturday, 23 January 2021

The IRON PALM kata

There are three ‘iron palm’ kata, from Asai Style Karate in 国際空手道松濤館 (International Karate Shotokan), these are:

 

旋掌(Sensho)

 

掌手大   (Shote Dai)

 

掌手小   (Shote Sho)

 

Like all of the other karate from Asai Sensei, they are 自由型 (Jiyu-gata); that, is free-choice for those holding Dan. While they are not ‘compulsory’ they are quite popular as they possess many excellent bujutsu-karate waza.

Needless to say, the main weapon is SHOTE itself (the palm hand), which is more commonly referred to as TEISHO (small palm) in Shotokan circles; however, all three of these kata contain many other open-handed weapons of the body such as kakuto, shuto, haito, haishu and others.

Furthermore, all three feature only one keriwaza: Kizami mae-geri. While josokutei (the ball of the foot) is targeted chudan, it can naturally also target gedan where haisoku (the instep) can be employed. Furthermore, the chambering of the kick, in close range, can be used as a knee followed by a low mae-geri.


In Sensho the jodan palm attacks impact on a light angle. As its name suggests, ‘turning palms’ is its combative theme. Shote Dai and Shote Sho drive through with the jodan palm thrusts. Shote Dai is more linear, Shote Sho is more circular and has more complex combinations better suited to higher graded practitioners. All three kata are directly applicable as is, but also contain a deeper layer of applications.


I practice and teach unique versions of these three kata, which retain the way Asai Sensei taught and applied them. For the last week, them and their respective applications have dominated my kata and kumite practice/training; hence. That motivated me to discuss them briefly here today.

 My hope is that everyone is well, positive, practicing and improving! Greetings from Oita, Japan. Osu, André

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

寒稽古 (KANGEIKO) – Part 2: Video

 寒稽古

Here is a brief YOUTUBE VIDEO of my KANGEIKO I uploaded today. It is not about nice technique, it’s all about ‘trying to overcome the cold’ and ‘relax’ while doing hundreds of repetitions: both kihon-waza and calisthenics.

 The scenery is not special, just a local jinja (shrine) near my home. Unlike when I was living in other parts of Japan, when I trained in the snow, there has only been light snow fall here in central Oita City. That being said, in my mid-40s, while I’m by no means old, it is still tough enough.

 

If you saw the recent video of my training at the waterfall, Ameushi no taki, that session was VERY TOUGH as rocks were sharp, not level, and extremely slippery. Furthermore, my dogi was saturated by freezing cold water.

 

While the temperature is colder now than the end of December, the Akeuchi no taki training wins the prize (so far): as my toughest kangeiko session this season. So… I might just have to visit another waterfall somewhere else here in the Prefecture.

 

Please, if you have a moment, like—share—and comment on the video! I really appreciate these actions and it quite literally motivates me to post more! POSITIVE ENERGY and a BIG “OSU” from Oita City, Japan.

押忍!

アンドレ

 

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).

Monday, 11 January 2021

寒稽古 (KANGEIKO) – Part 1: Article

 寒稽古

Kangeiko late 2013/early 2014 in Kumamoto.

The term 寒稽古 (KANGEIKO) is a special training, in various forms of budo/bujutsu, in which practitioners endure training in the cold. This midwinter practice is meant to strengthen not only the body, but the mind. While this definition is fine, to me it doesn’t highlight the real technical benefit of engaging in Kangeiko. That is, what one can technically gain from doing it? Really! What can you get?

For me, this runs parallel with one of the things Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei intermittently did in his own karate practice; that is, ‘holding his breath when stretching’! Now, before you start saying how ‘bad’ this is, let me explain his rational. Remember, he didn’t do this every time (nor for all of his stretches); rather, he effectively used this methodology to maximize his incredible elasticity.

 

Obviously, it is correct to breathe deeply from the diaphragm when stretching. This is not only good for your health but, indeed, results in relaxing—and going deeper—into your respective stretches.

 

So why did Asai Sensei sometimes practice ‘not breathing when stretching’? The answer: “If you can ‘stretch well’, when not breathing, then you will gain more flexibility when you breath correctly”. In text, this sounds illogical—perhaps even a little crazy, but contrary to how it sounds, it is actually very true. Yes, it works and it works very well! Returning to Kangeiko and the parallel it has (with this manner of flexibility training): “…being in the cold makes moving harder as the muscles are naturally tighter and less elastic. Occasional practice like this—especially during the annual Kangeiko—“…will result in learning to move more softly; moreover, when in a regular state, this will increase one’s speed and explosiveness”, amongst other aspects.

 

In sum, if you want to perform at your best, Kangeiko is never going to be optimal: as the environment is against this. Being cold is a being in a hostile environment for peak performance, just as holding your breath when stretching makes life difficult. Nevertheless, if you want to improve—and you are in good health—both these practices can result in valuable gains.

 

To conclude, I’d like to say that often I see that ‘the physical benefits of Kangeiko get overlooked’. Accordingly, I hope that this short article has elucidated how this special winter practice can literally benefit your physical prowess in Karate: in addition to the mental strength/grit that it can help to develop.

 

PS – A brief YouTube Video (PART TWO) will be coming soon…


押忍!

アンドレ

 

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).

Saturday, 9 January 2021

脚戦 (Kyakusen)

 

脚戦

脚戦  (Kyakusen) is often spelt and pronounced incorrectly by karateka who do not read or write Japanese. So I’d like to begin by helping with this today. Firstly, a background… It seems many people get confused between the names ‘Kyakusen’ and 鶴翼 ‘Kakuyoku’, which, are of course, completely different kanji and have completely different meanings. Whilst Kakuyoku means ‘Cranes wings’, Kyakusen translates as ‘Fighting with the legs’.

 

The correct pronunciation, for those of you who know katakana, it's:

キャクセン (KYA-KU-SE-N).

 

This kata is also referred to as ‘Ashi-barai no kata’; nevertheless, whilst ashi-barai is right through this formal exercise, it certainly doesn’t sum it up—as there are just as many ‘ashi-ukewaza’ (leg receptions). A lot of waza are directed diagonally (which is generically imperative for optimizing 'the line' when applying leg techniques) and the signature movements are the four ‘dropping’ sweeps in the last section.

 

There were originally seven Kyakusen—Shodan to Nanadan, which makes them the longest series of kata in 'Asai-style Shotokan'; however, Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei abbreviated them into what is now 乱雪 (Ransetsu), which is more commonly known these days as 乱腿  (Rantai).

 

Kyakusen (Shodan) has 45 movements with both kiai interestingly on hidari chudan gyaku-zuki: movements 24 and 45 respectively. What is fascinating about this is that Asai Sensei emphasized to preliminary actions/positions for these two tsuki. The first was to come down from tateshuto-uke balanced on one leg. And the second was to come up from the ground after the fourth final dropping sweep. I must point out that Asai Sensei taught this sweep as a ‘ducking technique’ which, of course, was one of his specialties in jiyu-kumite.

 

Lastly, before I briefly describe each movement in this kata, I want to say that it is unique for me. This is because Kyakusen is one of the very few that Asai Sensei himself never personally taught me. In this way, I feel it is a kata that I didn’t properly learn; that being said, I have kept practicing it, as it has still been beneficial for my ashiwaza. In this regard, I hope that this post will help you benefit from it also. Osu, AB

 

MOVEMENT ONE: Turn 90 degrees leftward, in migi ashi-dachi, with hidari uchi ashi-uke doji ni hidari shuto uchimawashi uchi.

 

MOVEMENT TWO: Make migi chudan gyaku-zuki whilst moving into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT THREE: Migi ashi-barai.

 

MOVEMENT FOUR: Advance with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki into migi zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT FIVE: Turn 180 degrees rightward, in hidari ashi-dachi, with migi uchi ashi-uke doji ni migi shuto uchimawashi uchi.

 

MOVEMENT SIX: Make hidari chudan gyaku-zuki whilst moving into migi zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT SEVEN: Hidari ashi-barai.

 

MOVEMENT EIGHT: Advance with migi chudan gyaku-zuki into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT NINE: Turn 270 degree with migi jodan haishu age-uke into migi zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT TEN: Migi ashi soto-uke, hidari ashi-ashi, doji ni migi jodan sotonagashi-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 11: Migi naname chudan mae-geri keage.

 

MOVEMENT 12: Punch hidari chudan gyaku-zuki whilst transferring into migi zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 13: dvance with hidari jodan haishu age-uke into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.


MOVEMENT 14: Hidari ashi soto-uke, migi ashi-dachi, doji ni hidari jodan sotonagashi-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 15: Hidari naname chudan mae-geri keage.

 

MOVEMENT 16: Punch migi chudan gyaku-zuki whilst transferring into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 17: Make migi hiza-uke, in hidari ashi-dachi, doji ni migi uraken uchimawashi uchi (diagonally forward to the right).

 

MOVEMENT 18: Advance forward on the angle to with hidari ashi-barai, migi ashi-dachi, doji ni hidari sho nagashi-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 19: Hidari shuto uchimawashi uchi into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 20: Turn leftward facing 45 degrees to the opposite side and make hidari hiza-uke, migi ashi-dachi, doji ni hidari uraken yokomawashi uchi.

 

MOVEMENT 21: Advance forward on the opposite angle with migi ashi-barai, hidari ashi-dachi, doji ni migi sho nagashi-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 22: Migi shuto uchimawashi uchi into migi zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 23: Centralize with migi ashi uchi-uke, hidari ashi-dachi, doji ni migi tateshuto-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 24: Step down into migi zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki – KIAI!

 

MOVEMENT 25: Step back diagonally with the left foot with migi ashi-barai, hidari ashi-dachi, doji ni migi jodan sotonagashi uke.

 

MOVEMENT 26: Move into migi zenkutsu-dachi with hidari gedan gyaku-zuki (target the myojo).

 

MOVEMENT 27: Step back diagonally with the right foot with hidari ashi-barai, migi ashi-dachi, doji ni hidari jodan sotonagashi uke.

 

MOVEMENT 28: Move into hidari zenkutsu-dachi with migi gedan gyaku-zuki (target the myojo).

 

MOVEMENT 29: Step back onto the centerline with the lead right foot into migi ashi-dachi doji with hidari ashi-uke doji ni hidari tateshuto-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 30: Step back naturally one more time but with the left leg into hidari ashi-dachi, with migi ashi-uke doji uken jodan-zuki.

 

MOVEMENT 31: Step down into migi zenkutsu-dachi with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.

 

MOVEMENT 32: Turn 90 degrees leftward moving forward with the migi hiza-uke, hidari ashi-dachi, doji ni migi tateshuto-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 33: Advance into with hidari chudan gyaku-zuki into migi zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 34: Drop into a low migi ashi-dachi with hidari kyakusen no ashi-barai.

 

MOVEMENT 35: Punch migi chudan gyaku-zuki whilst rising up and moving into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 36: Turn 180 degrees clockwise and move forward with hidari hiza-uke, in migi ashi dachi, doji ni hidari tateshuto-uke.

 

MOVEMENT 37: Advance punching migi chudan gyaku-zuki whilst moving into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 38: Drop into a low hidari ashi-dachi with migi kyakusen no ashi-barai.

 

MOVEMENT 39: Punch hidari chudan gyaku-zuki whilst rising up and moving into migi zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 40: Turn 90 degrees rightward (facing ura-shomen) and block with migi ashi uchi-uke, in hidari ashi-dachi, doji ni migi shuto uchimawashi-uchi.

 

MOVEMENT 41: Naturally step down and slight forward with the right foot then make hidari kyakusen no ashi-barai.

 

MOVEMENT 42: Punch migi chudan gyaku-zuki whilst rising up and moving into hidari zenkutsu-dachi.

 

MOVEMENT 43: Turn leftward/anticlockwise 180 degrees with hidari ashi uchi-uke, in migi ashi-dachi, doji ni hidari shuto uchimawashi uke.

 

MOVEMENT 44: Drop into a low hidari ashi-dachi with migi kyakusen no ashi-barai.

 

MOVEMENT 45: Punch hidari chudan gyaku-zuki whilst rising up and moving into migi zenkutsu-dachi – KIAI!

 

 

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).

Friday, 1 January 2021

Happy New Year from Oita City, Japan.

 

明けましておめでとうございます

I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year

押忍

 

アンドレ バーテル

André

 

 

 

To begin my posts in 2021, here is a review of videos publicly uploaded on my YouTube Channel in 2020. I’d like to thank everyone who provided the footage. What's your favorite video from these and why? Moreover, what would you like to see in 2021? Please like and, leave comment on the videos in this regard: should you have some requests. Lastly, I hope to continue to contributing online during this difficult time! 

Best wishes and positive energy from Japan, OSU!


1  BE LIKE WATER... Kangeiko (Cold Winter Training): December 26th, 2020.

2.     直突き (Choku-zuki): Straight punch.

3.     Good bye running shoes.

 4.     ASAI SENSEI and uchideshi André Bertel.

5.     Pre training warm up jog and push ups

 6.     André Bertel 7th Dan Japan

7.     Some tips from Osaka Sensei on Bassai Dai

 8.     Video compilation from one of my students

 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).