Article written by Simone Roig y Collado (5th Dan)

During December 2019, I had the privilege of travelling to Ōita City, Japan, for a period of ten days to undertake the private renshusei training programme conducted by Andre Bertel Sensei (7th Dan).

Ōita City is the capital city of Ōita Prefecture, located on the island of Kyushu, Japan. It is a beautiful city and a true hidden gem in Japan, with numerous traditional sites void of tourist traffic.

Andre Bertel Sensei is a world famous karate instructor originally from New Zealand, and now residing in Oita City, Japan. He is a 17 times New Zealand national karate champion, as well as the only non-Japanese to win the Kumamoto Prefecture Karate-Do Championships in the Male Individual Kata event. However, and most notably, he is renowned as being a personal student of the late Shotokan karate legend Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei (10th Dan).  He is the director of the revolutionary karate organization International Karate Shotokan (IKS).

He has a pedagogical approach to teaching, resulting in a teaching manner that is based on scientific, technical and psychological principles. Andre Bertel Sensei’s teaching is second to none and is guaranteed to bring both immediate and long term results. 

Daily training consisted of a minimum of four hours private training at various dojos within the area. Often, this training was supplemented with additional outside training at a nearby temple or shrine. Training was challenging, both physically and mentally, with a high volume of knowledge transfer from Andre Bertel Sensei.

Training was tailored to address fundamental areas that needed improvement and/or refinement. Kihon topics included koshi no kaiten, tai no shinsuku, te-ashi onaji and shime. In addition to all 26 Shotokan kata, the kata Kakuyoku, Seiryu, Meikyo Nidan and Shoute were covered. The final result of this all was the effective application in kumite. Outside of training times, the Bertel and Roig families spent lovely time together socializing and exploring the beautiful city of Ōita.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Andre Bertel Sensei for his patience, professionalism and quality of training during this period. The time spent together has been invaluable for my personal karate journey.

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