Monday 25 September 2023

Andre Bertel 2023 Sindelfingen Seminar - Part 3 (YOUTUBE VIDEO TWO)


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

Sunday 24 September 2023

Andre Bertel 2023 Sindelfingen Seminar - Part 2 (YOUTUBE VIDEO ONE)


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

Friday 22 September 2023


Sansaru-Kai produces their own ‘SSK dogi’ range, and today I’ll review one of their brands.


Before I do so, I want to say that I always wear Hirota, so my perspective comes from mainland Japan’s top dogi maker.


My test of any dogi is based on several factors. So, I’ll address these all here in my evaluations:


1. Firstly, the SSK dogi sits well. It correctly shows your stances and techniques, without distorting them. In my opinion, this is the 'number one' attribute: that all good dogi MUST have. 


2. Secondly, it’s strong enough for grappling, which is personally important to me.


3. Thirdly and lastly, it has a nice traditional style logo, which I think is particularly sophisticated. However, I have to admit, I'm biased about anything with 'tora no maki' (the tiger emblem of Shotokan) on it.


Overall, the SSK dogi is a good karate uniform for beginners right through to instructors), and very reasonably priced.

Here is a direct link to the website for enquiries:



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

Wednesday 20 September 2023

André Bertel 1st SINDELFINGEN SEMINAR (September 2023): Part One—Seminar Overview

Last weekend I taught my first international karate seminar in Sindelfingen (Baden-Wurttemberg), Deutschland. I am writing this as I fly back home to Japan.

 Besides karateka from all over Germany (and me from Japan), there were also participants from:

-              Switzerland

-              Poland

-              France

-              UK

-              Hungary

-              Austria

-              Netherlands


Organized primarily by Thomas Heinlein Sensei, Andy Fields Sensei, and their respective dojo team members. This resulted in an event where I could ‘purely focus on teaching and training’, and also have a chance to relax. In particular Thomas Sensei kindly ensured this and made sure I also had a wonderful time. This of course contributed to my recovery times between sessions and, now, as I begin my voyage home to Japan: not the usual aches and pains! So I’m very thankful!!!


As it was my first time in Sindelfingen, I focused on the core underpinning of budo bujutsu karate 基本 (Kihon); nevertheless, the focal points were arranged uniquely. This is representative of future seminars where I will share much more untaught aspects.


On this subject, the kata I taught a version of 浪手 (Roshu) never taught openly before. It differs from the commonly practiced versions and is the main rendition of the kata. The seminar participants, therefore, experienced the version of Roshu only practiced and taught behind closed doors in Japan, and only by a handful of instructors. Again, I will continue sharing kata, and their respective applications, in future seminars.


The Kumite practice was focused on correct 間合 (maai) and control. My main point was that “control is not reaching the surface of the target (at extension) but, rather having reached the target with full commitment of the hips and “…having the option of optimally penetrating the target”: in other words, perfectly positioned for a potentially finishing blow”. In addition to this—and directly complimentary—I also sampled the classical Shotokan 応用技 (Oyo-waza), which are the classical and highly effective self-defense techniques from the kata.


In sum, the focus was karate as budo for holistic health and art; moreover, as bujutsu, for effective ‘reliable self-defense’, which is the essence of ‘true karate shotokan’.


It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and make new friendships as well. The ‘genki’ atmosphere of the seminar, I believe, was a result of Thomas, Andy and their respective groups warmness. I must say it’s great to simply train with great people, improve in skill, share some smiles and have no politics. Only Authentic Budo/Bujutsu Karate! This is imperative in my mission of sharing Asai Tetsuhiko Shuseki Shihan’s advanced Shotokan techniques, exercises, additional kata, and applications: the extension of ‘JKA-style karate’. Very big things to come, so, until next time, 押忍!!!


Lastly, for more information on the hosts of this seminar please visit the following pages: and

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

Thursday 7 September 2023

Daily Training Update

Migi tate ippon-ken jodan sokumen-zuki: Self-training - September 6th, 2023.






1. 上段追い突き

Jodan oi-zuki


2. 上段揚げ受け・上段逆突き

Jodan age-ukejodan gyaku-zuki


3.  中段外受け・中段横猿臂  (騎馬立ち・裏拳横回し打ち

Chudan soto-ukechudan yoko-enpi (kiba-dachi)uraken yokomawashi uchi


4.  中段内受け・上段刻み突き・中段逆突き

Chudan uchi-ukejodan kizami-zukichudan gyaku-zuki


5.  転身下段払い・中段逆突き

Tenshin gedan-baraichudan gyaku-zuki


6.  手刀中段受け (後屈立ち)・中段縦四本貫手

Shuto chudan-ukechudan tateshihon-nukite


7.  中段前蹴り蹴上げ・中段追い突き

Chudan mae-geri keage chudan oi-zuki


8.  連蹴り:  中段前蹴り蹴上げ・上段前蹴り蹴上げ

Ren-geri: Chudan mae-geri keageJodan mae-geri keage


9.  横蹴り蹴上げ・横蹴り蹴込み (騎馬立ち)

Yoko-geri keageyoko-geri kekomi (kiba-dachi)


10.  回し蹴り・中段逆突き

Mawashi-gerichudan gyaku-zuki


11. 中段前蹴り蹴上げ・中段横蹴り蹴込み・回し蹴り・中段後ろ蹴り蹴込み・裏拳横回し打ち・中段逆突き

Chudan mae-geri keagechudan yoko-geri kekomimawashi-gerichudan ushiro-geri kekomiuraken yokomawashi uchichudan gyaku-zuki


12.  手刀上段外回し打ち・手刀上段内回し打ち

Shuto jodan sotomawashi uchishuto jodan uchimawashi uchi






A.  順路初段〜順路五段 (Junro Shodan ~ Junro Godan)


B.  松濤館流型 (Shotokan-ryu kata): RANDOM



I. 順路型組手の応用 (Junro kata kumite no oyo)

II. 自由一本組手 (Jiyu ippon kumite): IKS variations



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

Saturday 2 September 2023

Kumamoto Jo

 A couple of images of Kumamoto Jo (Castel), which is located directly opposite my hotel. The castle is still going under major restorations from the 2016 earthquake; nevertheless, the work is being carried out at a rapid state. Having lived in Kumamoto between 2013 and 2015, I was thrilled to see the castle returning to its former glory.

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

Friday 1 September 2023

Shototakuhirokan, Kumamoto City: September 1st, 2023.

Today I had the honor of teaching the black belt training at the Shototakuhirokan in Kumamoto under the supervision of chief instructor Nakamura Masamitsu Shihan.


Two of the attendees are still actively competing, so Nakamura Shihan had me take them through Jion and Enpi; furthermore, I included thematically important kihon pertaining to these, and the other standard Shotokan kata. From a budo/bujutsu standpoint, I also demonstrated and explained selected Oyo.

In these regards, Nakamura Shihan always says to my wife "Tell André not to change to the new style of Shotokan. Keep the budo way". To me, this is the ultimate compliment, but also sad, as it seems the 'old way' is being erased by sports karate.

In regards to budo/bujutsu I stressed three major specializations of Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei’s karate; namely, (1) tenshin—rotation; (2) junansei—softness for snap; and (3) head movement—ducking, slipping etcetera. Again, these aspects perfectly tie in with waza found in the kata I was told to instruct.


Overall, I am very thankful to Nakamura Shihan, Akiyoshi Sensei and the Nakamura family. Also, to Ogasawara Senpai, and the three other trainees. It was also wonderful to catch up with Hiyoshi Sensei, who kindly drove me back to my hotel (and also provided the dojo photos here).

Next time I go to Kumamoto, rather than teaching, I look forward to being taught by Nakamura Shihan. His training and Shotokan knowledge is invaluable, and every piece of advice lifts one’s entire skill level. What’s more, he only ever focuses on what really matters. This is, in my opinion, is what defines a master-instructor. And yes, Nakamura Shihan is a true Shotokan karate master of the highest level. 

OSU, André

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