Saturday, 24 January 2015

Being in the moment

Hidari chudan jun-zuki.
Outlined below is my latest training regime, which I began upon returning from our recent trip to New Zealand. Essentially, the focus--in kihon, kata and kumite--is simplicity and `connectedness'; namely, Shin-Gi-Tai. Paradoxically, my ido-kihon and kata practice is relatively advanced: but I believe this better serves the aforementioned objectives. Before I launch into my practice outline, I thought to leave you with a quote from Funakoshi Gichin Sensei, which pertains to my current focus: "Kantan na momo yoku kachi o seisu" ("The balance between victory and defeat often hangs on simple matters").


Stationary kihon: 1. Migi gyaku-zuki (hidari zenkutsu-dachi); 2. Hidari gyaku-zuki (migi zenkutsu-dachi); 3. Mae-geri (heisoku-dachi); 4. Migi mae-geri kara yoko-kekomi soshite ushiro-geri (hidari zenkutsu-dachi); and 5. Hidari mae-geri kara yoko-kekomi soshite ushiro-geri (migi zenkutsu-dachi).

Ido-kihon: 6. Kizami-zuki kara sanbon ren-zuki; 7. Jodan age-uke kara chudan soto-uke soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; 8. Ipp sagatte jodan age-uke kara mawashi-geri, uraken soshite chudan jun-zuki; 9. Chudan uchi-uke (kokutsu-dachi) kara kizami-zuki soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; 10.  Ippo sagatte gedan-barai kara chudan jun-zuki soshite chudan jun-zuki; 11.  Chudan shuto-uke (kokutsu-dachi) kizami mae-geri soshite shihon nukite; 12.  Mae-geri kara yoko kekomi, mawashi-geri soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; 13.  Mae-geri kara yoko-kekomi soshite chudan gyaku-zuki; 14.  Yoko-keage ashi o kaete yoko-kekomi (kiba-dachi); and 15.  Oi komi gyaku-zuki (jiyu-dachi).

* Reps: I am presently doing less reps than usual. Stationary kihon only 30 of each (+ one set of 10 slowly as a `junbi-undo'). My ido-kihon is five repetitions up and down the dojo once slowly, then repeat twice with maximum snap. When I make any errors, or fail to be satisfied by my execution of any aspect, I perform an additional set (or sets if need be).

a.      Nijushiho
b.      Gojushiho Dai
c.       Random selection from the six shitei-gata (Heian 1-5 and Tekki-shodan).

* Reps: My kata training is where the hard work is at the moment. This is partially why repetitions of kihon are presently lower than normal. Looking at the last few practices and I've been averaging eight to twelve Gojushiho-dai, the same with Nijushiho, and randomly going through the shitei-gata twice each. Needless to say, upon finishing kata, I have jelly-legs: especially my left leg (all of you Gojushihodai fanatics out there will know what I mean)...


Yakusoku kumite: I. `Gohon kumite’ (jodan , chudan); II. `Kihon ippon kumite’ (jodan, chudan, mae-geri and yoko-kekomi); and 'Jiyu ippon kumite' (jodan, chudan, mae-geri, yoko-kekomi and mawashi-geri).

* Reps: My present kumite practice is more technical than full-on; again, this relates to the physical pressure from my current kata training... Consequently, I am only twice going through Gohon, Kihon Ippon and Jiyu Ippon Kumite; however, both times with maximum speed/explosiveness. All counters are either chudan or jodan gyaku-zuki. When I self-train, I am doing this as kihon, and when with a training partner, both kihon then as `kumite' in the standard form. Again, this is very simple practice, yet VERY challenging as it is `pure'.
To conclude, my present training gives me nowhere to hide the numerous weaknesses in my karate; hence, I hope to use it to mitigate these and continue to improve throughout 2015. Irrespective of this, my focus remains on the journey by `being in the moment'. Best wishes from Kumamoto-ken, Japan. Osu, André.
© André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto. Japan (2015). 

Monday, 19 January 2015

New Zealand Seminar Video: January 2015

This video is a mere technical reference for the karateka who attended! Osu, André.

I'd like to also give a very special thanks to my friend Hanshi Renzie Hanham (8th Dan) for making this seminar possible. For more information on Seido Karate Christchurch please visit their website:

Lastly, here's a link to an interview I did with Hanshi three years ago:
© André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto-Japan (2015).