Tuesday 27 February 2024

PART ONE - SOUTH ISLAND... February 2024: Christchurch, New Zealand Seminar Overview

 On February 10th and 11th, I conducted a Technical Seminar in Christchurch City, New Zealand, which so happens to be my hometown.

The course was an exclusive event, which only a small number of places available, making it very personal. It’s been five years since I’ve taught in New Zealand, so it was a chance for me to review a lot of past content—already taught elsewhere around the world—and also pass on some new material: not properly taught outside Japan before (in a budo/bujutsu context). The chief organizer, Peter Burtenshaw Sensei (5th Dan) was nothing less than an excellent host, along with the guys at the Christchurch club. Allan Sensei, organizer of the Kapiti Coast (North Island) Seminar attended, which was awesome; also, Peter Sensei from Wellington enthusiastically attended both events. A few hardcore lads from Australia also came: Grant Sensei (from Perth), and Bryan Sensei and Morney (from Noosa). Yet others travelled from other parts of the South Island. It was also great to have karateka from other styles. A big bow to everyone.

In all cases, I’m always deeply honored to teach and hope that everyone gained from the experience; furthermore, that each individual had a fun time doing so. By request, the kata covered were 半月 (Hangetsu) and 水手 (Suishu). These were covered in context with Budo/Bujutsu Karate Kihon and Oyo/Jissen-Kumite applications.
Primarily, this YouTube video is for those who physically participated and provides reminders/cues about several of the key points covered. I need to add here that the kata notes and supplementary video links have been provided to Peter Burtenshaw Sensei (to share accordingly, with all of the participants).

Overall, it was wonderful to practice with these wonderful people and also spend some enjoyable times outside the dojo as well. I wish you all the best of health, happiness and excellent training.

Stay tuned, a report from the Kapiti Coast Seminar, and video will also be uploaded soon.


To watch the YouTube video: click on the following link:
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2024).

Friday 2 February 2024

義理 (Giri)

 Continuing on from my last article brief article on Japanese culture, relevant to the practice of Karate,  ‘On’, today I’ll explain 義理 ‘Giri’ (Social Obligation). Once again, I’ll begin in 日本語 (Japanese language) followed by English.

義理 (Giri)





The term ‘Giri refers to the obligation to act in relation with other people, with whom has some particular social relations. It is a duty that obliges one to observe reciprocal relations. For example, to help those who have helped us; or, to do favors, for those who’ve done favors for us.

 In feudal Japan, the obligation of Bushi (Warriors) was to serve their respective lord, even at the cost of their own lives, and repay the favor received from the lord, such as land or stipend.


Even now, in contemporary Japan, the observance of Giri is an indication of high moral worth in society; furthermore, and more importantly, to neglect Giri obligation results in the loss of trust and support of other people.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2024).

Thursday 1 February 2024

花より団子 (Hana yori dango)

Today, being the first day of February, rather than write an article I thought to simply post some images from my daily self-training. Today's practice comprised of the IKS Shodan Ido-Kihon; Tekki Shodan, Hangetsu, Raiko and the two Maizuru Kata - Dai and Sho; and Kumite (Uchikomi): Jodan kizami-zuki kara jodan gyaku-zuki.

The Japanese kotowaza (proverb) I used to title this post: 花より団子 (Hana yori dango) literally means "Dumplings rather than flowers".

Its meaning is "TO PREFER FUNCTION OVER FORM" as in to prefer to be given functional, useful items (such as dumplings) instead of merely decorative items (such as flowers). This is the difference between sports and budo/bujutsu karate/shotokan.

I hope that this post finds everyone training well and in good spirits. Greetings from Oita City, Japan.


 © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2024).