Saturday, 24 June 2017

Updated training regime for Tsuyu


A daily and very simple mix of Sonoba-Kihon followed by Ido-Kihon. In sum, the core kihon “with a big of a twist”… My reps at present a quite low ranging between 30-40 including a warm up of each technique 10 times slowly. The overarching theme is `effective high-quality` execution.


At present I am practicing three different kata per session, the first for my base training, the second for my personal advancement and the third for `technical variation`. I execute each kata at least four times each.

(1)  Each day one of the SHITEI-GATA: either Heian Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan or Tekki Shodan.

(2)  Nijushiho

(3)  A random kata: from standard Shotokan-Ryu or a Koten-gata. 


(a)   Kihon Ippon Kumite

(b)  Jiyu Ippon Kumite

(c)   Uchikomi

Kihon Ippon Kumite and Jiyu Ippon Kumite once slowly then twice a regular speed. Attack with, and defense and counters against: (1) JODAN—jodan oi-zuki; (2) CHUDAN—chudan oi-zuki; (3) MAE-GERI—chudan mae-geri keage; (4) YOKO-KEKOMI—chudan yoko-geri kekomi; (5) CHUDAN/JODAN MAWASHI-GERI—either chudan mawashi-geri or jodan mawashi-geri (please announce); and (6) USHIRO-GERI—chudan ushiro-geri kekomi. Just to confirm, yes I am also practicing mawashi-geri and ushiro-geri in Kihon Ippon Kumite, which is not in the syllabus.

Uchikomi: Firstly, standard practice, Kizami-zuki, Chudan gyaku-zuki, Jodan gyaku-zuki, Jodan oi-zuki, various renzokuwaza with tsuki, chudan mae-geri, chudan mawashi-geri, jodan mawashi-geri, legs followed by hands; and finally, creative/spontaneous renzokuwaza.

Taken as a whole, this current training is reflective of the Summer arriving here in Japan. With the rainy season starting, the humidity is once again rising alongside the temprature, making warm ups and stretching easier, and training harder. As the saying goes, “…we must take the good with the challenges”. I personally believe that the good things are bonuses and the challenges are where the real gains can be made. What I am trying to say is that everything can be looked at in a positive light. I wish you the very best from Oita City, Japan. – André

Now in my 40s, with huge support from masters here in Japan, I will focus on Budo Karate without all of nonsensical politics; that is, our objective is to make truly great karateka and karate instructors here in Japan and around the world.
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Monday, 19 June 2017


Today marks a DECADE—yes, literally 10 years—since I made my first post on this blog. Appropriately, the title was ‘Yoroshiku onegaishimasu’. Please look back if you want to understand this site and my Karate path, which is now in its 36th year.

Taken as a whole, I’d like to thank all of my seniors, peers, and students here in Japan, and around the world for your wonderful support.

In the following video there is nothing special, just regular hard daily training... However, I guess it is special as it is behind the scenes, which normally is not shown.

In sum, pertaining to this training, kihon until the body fails is imperative, as 'flashy instruction', lots of talk, and 'feelings', are now commonplace in the world. Needless to say, this theoretical karate will break under overwhelming strength. This is the technical essense of Budo Karate. That is, the Martial Art of Karate-Do.
With much thanks and appreciation from Kyushu, Japan, for those who have supported this site for the last 10 years. I am still surprised that a blog dedicated to hardcore karate, and Shotokan specific, could have over 1.5 million visits. Then again, I am not surprised as many people are still seeking the true martial art of Karate and, even if not, are unable to ignore it.


Osu, André Bertel

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Trainee from Kazakhstan: Tuleukhan Iskakov

Mr. Tuleukhan Iskakov travelled all the way to Oita City—from Kazakhstan—to be a renshusei on between June 15th and 16th.

I will not disclose what was covered, during Tuleukhan’s time training here in Japan—that is for him to keep and share at his own discretion; however, I will say that it was great to see him improve his karate, moreover, leave with the tools to decisively ’snowball’ these improvements: via diligent practice.

As Tuleukhan booked me several months in advance, he easily managed to be accepted as a renshusei and, more advantageously, flexibly choose his training times. For others,—wishing to be a renshusei—his very early booking is a great example. In this regards you can email me at:

Overall, I would like to congratulate Tuleukhan on completing training here in Oita; furthermore, we wish him the very best in his future Karate-Do endeavours. 押忍, André
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Friday, 16 June 2017

Foreign Renshusei (Trainees)

The following list includes the non-Japanese karateka who have come to Japan and had private lessons with me. Others have come to train, but the following karateka have: (1) officially applied to be renshusei; (2) have been accepted; and (3) completed training as renshusei. To those on this list, "Omedetto gozaimasu!!!"

1. ISKAKOV, Tuleukhan (KAZAKHSTAN) 2017



4. ARNDT, Joerg (GERMANY) 2017

5. FRASCH, Peer (GERMANY) 2017


7. HAEUSLER, Andrea (GERMANY) 2017

8. UHLEMANN, Torsten (GERMANY) 2017

9. SCHOEMBURG, Oliver (GERMANY) 2017

10. LAMBEIN, Kathleen (BELGIUM) 2017

11. ANG, Eden (SINGAPORE) 2016

12. BARR, Michael (ENGLAND) 2016

13. MINEGHISHI, Natsuko (AUSTRALIA) 2016

14. ROBERT, Yann (FRANCE) 2015

15. ROBERT, Phinh  (FRANCE) 2015



18. MORALDE, Noel (AUSTRALIA) 2015

19. MORALDE, Heidi (AUSTRALIA) 2015   


21. LAMPE, Peter (GERMANY) 2015

22. KÖHLER, Frank (GERMANY) 2015

23. SCHÖNE, Rainer (GERMANY) 2015

24. PINTOS, Leo (AUSTRALIA) 2014

25. JORDAN, Pietro (ITALY/CANADA) 2014



28. RIVAS, Sergio (SPAIN) 2013

29. DUKAS, Bryan (SOUTH AFRICA) 2010


31. JEHU, Lyn (WALES/JAPAN) 2009

32. DILKS, Morgan (NEW ZEALAND) 2008

33. LEHMANN, Christa (SWITZERLAND) 2008

34. KELLY, Ben (IRELAND) 2007 

PLEASE NOTE: This list will be periodically updated and re-published when foreign karateka come and complete training at my dojo.
Application to be a renshusei: To apply please email me directly at: In your email include the following: i. your proposed dates to train; ii. full details: if other karateka will be coming with you; iii. dan rank(s); iv. age(s)—please note, those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/caregiver; and (v) any questions/inquiries that you may have.
 © André Bertel. Japan (2017).

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

2nd Time Renshusei: Sergio Rivas

Sergio Rivas of Basque Country, Spain, returned to Japan for private training at my dojo between Thursday, May 20th, and Monday, May 24th. His first time as a Renshusei was in November of 2013 However, his second time as a Renshusei was very different because, this time, he travelled with his lovely wife Maitane and heart-stealing five month old baby-daughter.

I will not specify the high-level training that Sergio received—this is for him and for others who come as Renshusei—however, here is a brief overview:

(A) KIHONSpecific for second-time renshusei and tailored to Sergio’s current stage. In particular, grounded power and momentum were emphasized.

(B) KATA (a) Shitei-gata: Heian, Tekki; (b) Sentei-gata: Enpi; (c) Tokui-gata: Gojushiho Sho and Gojushiho Sho Kumite No Oyo; and (d) Koten-gata: Senka. Sergio learned the kata Senka for the first time. This kata was used as clean canvas to develop the heightened aspects of kihon (fundamentals) and oyo (applications) that he learned over the four days.

(C) KUMITE Yakusoku Kumite, Jiyu Kumite and Oyo-Kumite/Self-Defence. Everything was aimed to make effective techniques in the context of real fighting: to literally make kihon, kata and kumite one.

In sum, Sergio was loaded up with many advanced aspects of Karate-Do, so I am 100% sure that next time I teach him, he will be even better than now. The future is bright. Osu, André
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Deutschland Renshusei (May 2017) Video

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Renshusei from Deutschland

Concluding the first four hours of training: Kihon-Kata-Kumite--the trinity of Karatedo to achive optimal effectiveness.

Four more karateka have come as international renshusei (trainees) here, at my dojo, in Oita-City. The four fromドイツ (Germany) included:  Joerg Arndt (6th Dan):; Peer Frasch (3rd Dan); and Axel Hoffmeyer (2nd Dan); and, second-time renshusei, Frank Kohler (3rd Dan).
Explaining a key Budo Karate point kept within the elite Shotokan schools here in Japan. Focused faces and great karate spirit!

The focus of the weekend was the correct and elite practice of Kihon, Kata and Kumite - in combination - to achieve effective 'fighting ability', which is at 'the technical heart' of traditional Budo Karate. While I won’t go into details—as these are for Frank, Axel, Peer and Joerg—I will say that extreme technical improvement was made by all four trainees over the eight hours. So I was very impressed by their physical effort, karate no seishin (karate spirit) and overall determination to make changes to improve their karate. Perhaps a short video, giving a few glimpses will come. Last, but not least, I'd like to once again thank Morooka San for his great assistance. Osu, André.

At my weekly 'outdoor dojo' here in Oita... Yusuhara Jinja.

The conclusion of 8 hours training... From left to right: Frank, Joerg, Morooka San, yours truly, Peer and Axel.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).


For those wishing to be renshusei at my dojo in the future, please remember: it usually requires booking at least three months (in advance) due to my schedule within Japan. For those wanting to ensure their dates, and times, you need to email me at: and complete an official application.


Monday, 15 May 2017

What kata do I teach outside of the standard 26?

Tobi yoko-geri kekomi on Andrew Makin (3rd Dan).

Kakuyoku Shodan
The opening of the 'Falling Leaf' kata: Rakuyo. It is the third in a series of kata, which includes Hachimon and Senka.

There have been some questions about what I teach outside of the 26 standard Shotokan kata, at my private dojo—International Karate Shotokan—here in Oita City, Japan. In the past I had more kata (which we still archive), but our official koten-gata have been abbreviated: to what I have deciphered as being utterly essential for my senior students across Japan and abroard.

None of these kata are compulsory, within our group, except (1) Junro Shodan for Nidan karateka; (2) Junro Shodan or any other Junro kata (free choice) for Sandan karateka; and (3) a Jiyu-gata for Yondan karateka and above. ALWAYS...Compulsary are the five Heian,  Tekki Shodan and the four Sentei-gata (Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Enpi and Jion).

The following 'KOTEN-GATA' list is what we have been following the last seven years, since 2010. I will not go into oyo (application) publicly but we have a very unique system, which is organizationally in-house, and strongly connects with Okinawa and China; furthermore and more importantly, contemporary military CQB (Close Quarter Battle).


1.       Junro Shodan

2.       Junro Nidan

3.       Junro Sandan

4.       Junro Yondan

5.       Junro Godan


6.       Kibaken

7.       Kyakusen (Ashi-barai no kata)

8.       Joko Issei

9.   Joko Nisei

10.   Joko Sansei

11.   Joko Yonsei

12.   Joko Gosei

13.   Rantai (Ransetsu)

14.   Seiryu

15.   Meikyo Nidan

16.   Meikyo Sandan

17.   Kakuyoku Shodan

18.   Kakuyoku Nidan

19.   Kakuyoku Sandan

20.   Sensho

21.   Shotei

22.   Hachimon

23.   Senka

24.   Rakuyo

25.   Kashu (Hi no te)

26.   Roshu (Nami no te)

27.   Suishu (Mizu no te)

28. Hushu (Kaze no te)

29.   Raiko (Kaminari-arashi)

The rationale behind practising these additional kata is "karate as effective martial arts". Learning new kata for 'kata sake' (pun for non-Japanese readers intended) has no meaning. These additional kata are for kumite/self-defence training 'specific for individuals'. In this regard, to individualistic specificity, they are very useful for developing high level 'Martial Art Karate' skills.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Video: Transition from basic tsuki to application

Here is a new video from last year in Mira, Venice (ITALY) where I taught a seminar on Budo Karate. Special thanks to Mauro Shihan and Silvio Sensei for this footage. Osu.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2017).

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


To clarify to everyone around the world:

(1) I have total respect for the 日本空手協会 (JKA - JAPAN KARATE ASSOCIATION); furthermore the JKA Sohonbu Instructors.

(2)  My objectives in Karate-Do are twofold: firstly, to improve my waza, and kokoro, via daily training; and secondly, to optimally instruct others--so they can achieve a high level in Budo Karate.

(3)  I will continue to give seminars within and outside of Japan; furthermore, I will continue to accept Japanese and non-Japanese renshusei: as I have done for many years. These are my personal Karate-Do activities and have no relationship to any organization.

(4) These private activities have never been claimed as being 'JKA'/ '協会' but, rather, 'Andre Bertel' trainings/coaching events.

(5) Irrespective of any outcomes, I offer my deepest respect to all karateka in JKA Japan (instructors and members), JKA karateka around the world and, indeed, all Budo Karate groups and styles.

押忍!アンドレ。バーテル (Andre Bertel)
May 2nd, 2017. - Oita City, Japan.