As always, click pictures to enlarge.
Well, we have almost recovered from a very tough but absolutely fantastic course with Sensei André Bertel, 6th dan. Sensei André was a personal student of the legendary Tetsushiko Asai Shihan. The course was hosted by Oliver and Yan Schoemburg of Yawara Dojo, in Ahrensburg, a half hour outside Hamburg city centre and attended by Karateka from all over Europe, including Italy, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland and more.
The course focused on Asai-ha Shotokan Bujutsu Karate, designed to be highly efficent for self protection. From the outset it was clear that the course was going to be something special, with Sensei André offering a whole new perspective on even the most basic of kihon techniques and really bringing everyone's Karate to life.
Working primarily on those core principles required to make ones' Karate real-world effective, such as correct distancing - always making contact with our enemy at 75% of full extension in order to ensure maximum transfer of impact - leading all our punches from the hips, with maximum body contraction and expansion as key for generating a fight stopping blow and much, much more, it really was a fantastic and highly informative (if at times painful!) seminar.
There were a great many highlights for those of us from Ireland who attended,including performing the Asai kata Meikyo Nidan in a car park in the snow in the middle of the night after a really enjoyable dinner with Sensei Bertel and our German hosts!
Sensei André is surely one of the world's best Karateka and yet is humble, friendly and enormously helpful both in and out of the dojo, yet he always makes sure to push everyone and brings out the best in all those who train with him.
It really was a wonderful to meet and stay in the dojo with so many friendly and enthusiastic Karateka and we look forward to training together at the next course.
Needless to say, we have absolutely loads of great new material and information which will be our focus in the dojo for the next while. Looking forward to it :) OSU!!
Here are some excellent videos of the course made and posted by Oliver Schoemburg. Thanks also to both him and Yan for their immense hospitality and assistance.