Sunday 18 June 2023

Seminar Report: BRAGA, Portugal -- June 2023 (Part ONE)

I just returned home to Japan from my second seminar in Portugal. I need to begin by thanking the hosts ‘Karate Braga’; in particular, dojo chief instructor Francisco Pinto Sensei, Paulo Araujo Sensei, and Tiago Gomes—whom greatly took care of me. But also I must thank all the seminar participants and their families; furthermore, both local government and businesses whom supported this great international karate event.

Besides karateka from across Portugal, and me coming in from Japan, there were also Karateka from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium, England, Jersey, Brazil, and other regions.

The four sessions over two days concentrated on traditional Shotokan Karate as pure budo. Particular focal points included: (1) kokyu (breathing), (2) junansei (softness), (3) shinko hoko (direction of movement) and (4) the unification of kihon, kata and kumite seeking to achieve ‘ichigeki-hissatsu’ (to be able to incapacitate the opponent with a single waza).

The kata I taught was 火手 (Kashu), which is also referred to as 火の手 (Hi no te). The aim of which was to ‘have a blank slate’ to further refine the aforementioned key points.

The version of Kashu that I taught at this seminar has never been shared outside of Japan before and significantly differs from others. Unlike the commonly practiced form, which has largely become more standardized, this rendition of Kashu is the refined Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei version. The essence of this kata is using natural energy and mimicking the movements of fire. Sensei emphasized the motions of flames in a forest fire.

Being very well looked after (from left to right): Tiago, Paulo Sensei and Francisco Sensei.

As always, more than the kata itself is the point of bujutsu for self-defense, which in budo karate intrinsically links kihon, kata and kumite.

In addition to the karate training itself, there were also great opportunities to socialize. The seminar dinner party was particularly memorable as it was a chance to catch up with many old friends and establish new friendships.

Below is a direct YouTube link to the seminar video. Especially if you attended please like, comment and share. Let’s endeavor to preserve Shotokan karate as Budo together!


© Andre Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2023).

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