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).

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