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Andre Bertel Seminar 2020 Sadly Postponed

The pictures shows Andre Bertel doing a mae geri.

The Andre Bertel Seminar 2020, which was scheduled for April 4-5, 2020 in Bavaria, Germany, has been postponed. Andre Bertel is going to visit Bavaria on July 25-26, 2020. The Shotokan Times is the official media partner of the seminar.

Many karate events and seminars worldwide have been canceled or postponed in order to limit the Corona virus outbreak. According to rumors, even the Tokyo Olympics 2020 might become postponed.

The picture shows the new poster for the Andre Bertel seminar 2020 in Bavaria. The seminar has been postponed to July 25-26, 2020.
The new date for the Andre Bertel Seminar is going July 25-26, 2020.

Punito Aisenpreis, head of the organizing Dojo Bodhidharma, sent the following announcement:

Dear Budoka, dear Bushi,

with a heavy heart we have to postpone the course with Shihan Andre Bertel in April 2020. 

Travel restrictions and measures against the Corona virus in both Germany and Japan have made it necessary to postpone the date. 

We are in close contact with the local health authorities and Shihan Andre Bertel to make a new appointment in a more favorable time in the summer of 2020, on 25. And 26 July 2020. Then Bavaria will show itself at its most beautiful and warmest side!

As Budoka, we choose our path with a sense of proportion and the unwavering fighting spirit and submit to the inevitable! 

Shihan Andre Bertel sends you good wishes and a strong Genki! He will send you a message of greeting via video in the next few days. 

We thank you for your understanding and wish you a healthy and powerful training time!  As soon as we have further news, we will get back to you!

Osu und Yoroshiku

The whole team of The Shotokan Times hopes for a fast resolution of the Corona virus crises. We also hope that our global Shotokan community stays save and sound. If we can support you, just let us know. We wish you a great Andre Bertel Seminar 2020.

Oss!

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Shinji Akita in Malta: A Seminar Report

Shinji Akita in Malta

Shinki Akita hold a seminar in Malta. The focus of the course laid on efficient technique and mindful bodywork. A seminar report by Luke Rocco

Between October 18 and 20, 2019, Shotokan Karate-do Association Malta hosted world-renowned Shinji Akita Sensei, 6th Dan, to lead a training seminar for the first time in Malta. Amongst the 100 Maltese participants, were also international guests from Belgium and Scotland. All came to Malta specifically to join us for this special event.

  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta

Focus of the Seminar

The three-day seminar focused on intriguing concepts in Kihon, Kumite and Kata. It emphasized especially on using body bio-mechanics to enhance the effectiveness of technique regardless of age or gender. Akita Sensei’s passion for deep technical knowledge was effortlessly conveyed to all students. He utilized simple, practical exercises that lead to

  • immediate improvement in effectiveness of technique,
  • a gradual progression in mindful bodywork,
  • integrating proper posture, shime and spirit to produce an even more powerful technique.
  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta

Shinji Akita

Shinji Akita Sensei started his karate journey at the age of 12 under Matsuda sensei and Aragane sensei. Then he joined the famous Takudai Karate Club at Takushoku University, Japan. Here he trained under Katsunori Tsuyama Sensei. He later moved to Europe, founding the Shotokan Karate-Do Association International (SKAI). His ultimate vision for the SKAI was to create a platform for high standard, traditional karate regardless of gender, age, race and politics.

  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta

About SKA Malta

SKA Malta always strives to seek further knowledge and promotion of true traditional Budo-Karate. We give this opportunity to all who want to grow within their martial art journey, irrespective of any political backgrounds. We would like to thank Akita Sensei for sharing his exceptional knowledge throughout the seminar. His dedication and genuine approach towards teaching traditional Karate made it a truly memorable event for all.

We also wish to thank: The Shotokan Times, ST Hotels, Media-Link, Union-Print and Chamar D Owl Photography for their outstanding support at Sponsoring this Event.

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2nd Yamato Cup: A Tournament Report

The 2nd Yamato Cup took place in Düsseldorf, Germany, on last Sunday. It was an event full of emotions, ups and downs, comebacks, victories, and experiences. The head of the organizing committee and chairman of The Shotokan Times, Thomas Prediger was very happy with the tournament. “Since last year, the number of starters has risen of about 50 percent. But we still maintained a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. So everybody had a great time with a lot of experiences and fun. Next year, the 3rd Yamato Cup will be even bigger. And we will work even harder so that everybody has a good time in Düsseldorf.” The Yamato Cup was jointly organized by the Dojo Yamato, Düsseldorf, and the SC Taisho, Siegburg.

  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.

Yamato Cup: Bigger and International

150 starter from 16 dojos met to compete for the individual, team, and the overall victory. The tournament was open for children and teenager from age 6 to 17. All of them fought in two pools about the victory. Most excitingly, a dutch team, the Centrum Weng, from Beek in the Netherlands took part in the competition. Therefore, the 2nd Yamato Cup became unintentionally but very appreciated an international tournament.

  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.
  • The picture shows participants at the 2nd Yamato Cup.

The competition categories comprised:

  • Individual kata
  • Individual kumite: Kihon ippon, jiyu ippon, and shiai (from age 14 and older)
  • Team kata
  • Team kumite: Shiai

Offering a Space for Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Growth

The guiding idea behind the Yamato Cup described Thomas Prediger as follows: “We want to bring children and teenager from different associations and dojos together so that they can compete with each other. The aim lies not on winning. But we focus on mental, spiritual, and physical growth. We want to give them a secure and structured space. Within this space they can make challenging experiences and we support and guide them on their way.”

Fairness as Central Aim of the Yamato Cup

In opposite to other tournaments the Yamato Cup brought karateka and dojos from different associations together. “The tournament is open to everybody, who practices Shotokan”, said Thomas Prediger. To guaranty fairness the organizers chose a sophisticated approach. Instead of favoring a system of rules from one of the attending associations, all starters had to comply and were judged according JKA Japan rules. That created a level playing field for all children and teenager. Because all had to prepare for this rules in particular.

In addition, the referee body consisted of 15 referees from a variety of dojos and associations. The attending dojos were invited upfront to send referees to the tournament. As head of the referee body the organizers could also win Jörg Reuß from the Shotokan Karate Dojo Tsunami in Cologne, Germany. During his competitive career Jörg gained huge international experience. He won the a gold medal at the World Games in 1989, became 2nd at the JKA World Championships, and won several European Championship titels. After this active career he also became an international referee for the JKA.

Moreover, every referee had to take part in one of the four preparation seminars. These seminars took place in the weeks prior to the Yamato Cup. There all referees learnt the system of rules for the event and how to conduct the competitions.

Starters and Dojos were Happy

Dojos and karateka alike expressed their gratitude and how much they enjoyed the Yamato Cup. All of them want to come back and look forward to the 3rd Yamato Cup in 2020.

Overall Winner: Centrum Weng

The overall victory went to the Centrum Weng from the Netherlands. With highly engaged and passionate fights the dutch team won the most medals throughout the whole competition. Therefore, the Centrum Weng took the challenge cup back home. Tamara Wewengkang, head coach of the team, was more then happy and proud when Thomas Prediger handed her the Cup. However, the other dojos have the chance to win the trophy on the next Yamato Cup in 2020. After the Cup means therefore before the Cup.

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Takashina Memorial Camp 2019 Picture Gallery

This year, we were official and proud sponsor of the Shigeru Takashina Memorial Camp. The camp honors the late master Shigeru Takashina and his tireless efforts to spread and teach Shotokan karate in North America.

As instructor the Shotokan Karate Center in Coral Springs could win 5 times JKA All Japan Kumite Champion, Keisuke Nemoto. In the upcoming weeks, we will provide you with an extensive report about the seminar.

Keisuke Nemoto at the Shigeru Takashina Memorial Camp

But so far, we kindly recommend this incredible picture gallery by Elton Pride. Just press the button.

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We Sponsor the Takashina Camp 2019 with Keisuke Nemoto

We are very proud to announce our sponsorship of the Master Shigeru Takashina Camp 2019 with Keisuke Nemoto as head instructor, in Coral Springs, Florida.

The seminar will be hold in memory of Shigeru Takashina, who devoted his life to teach and spread the art of Shotokan karate.

As special guest Sensei Keisuke Nemoto, 5 times JKA All Japan Kumite Champion and JKA instructor, will teach at the seminar.

The Seminar is going to be held from:

Sep 26, 6:30 PM EDT – Sep 29, 12:00 PM

Venue: Delray Beach Community Center, 50 NW 1st Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33444, USA

For registration press the button!

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Karate and the Olympic Games: A Long Conflict is Over

The picture shows the Rings of the Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games have long been a dream and a field of conflict for many karateka. However, the decision of the french national Olympic committee to not include karate in 2024 is only the finally to a several decades long conflict which has come to an end now. By Dr. Christian Tribowski

According to an article by the BBC at the beginning of this year, the organizing committee of the Olympic Games 2024 in Paris will Karate not include Karate in the program. The article says:

“Karate will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Games but has not been included on the shortlist of proposed sports for the Paris Games four years later.

Therefore, the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will be the only occasion for Karatekas to fight for Gold.

Budo-oriented Karateka express relieve

For some this announcement came as a relive. The doubts about a participation among budo-oriented Karateka increased in the last few years. They feared that Karate would lose its ethical foundation. In addition, Sport Karate would turn a value-oriented endeavor to the perfection of ones character into a profane business. Above all, the “traditional” Karate community did not feel represented by the World Karate Federation.

Sport Karate Community Deeply Disappointed

Others, on the other hand, expressed deep disappointment. In addition, the decision by International Olympic Committee came as a surprise by the proponents of the participation of Karate in the Olympic Games. Some saw their dream been crushed.

The WKF president Antonio Espinos commented immediately on the announcement:

“Our sport has grown exponentially over the last years, and we still haven’t had the chance to prove our value as an Olympic sport since we will be making our debut as an Olympic discipline in Tokyo 2020”

Long and Conflict Laden History of Karate and the Olympic Games

Independent of which side one stance, the history of Karate and the Olympics dates back to the 1970. Even back then conflicts emerged, which organization has the right to represent Karate on the global and Olympic stage. In 1988, John K. Evans wrote an article in which he described this difficult relation. The Black Belt Magazine published the article. It can be found here: THE BATTLE FOR OLYMPIC KARATE RECOGNITION WUKO vs. IAKF. (The Shotokai-Encyclopedia provides the article. We highly recommend the encyclopedia because it is a very concise and enlightening compendium.)

Evans described in his article, how the different Karate Do organizations emerged and developed certain political interests. It becomes obvious that Karate in general but Shotokan in particular was from the beginning a field of conflicting positions and groups. Unfortunately, the article leaves out important historical parts like the emergence of the WUKO. In addition, the independence of Evans can be doubt. Because he served a high official for the WUKO back then. However, the article gives a first hint about the history of Karate Do and the Olympics. And it reveals that the dispute dates back much longer than the most think.

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2nd Düsseldorf Special 2019 with Koichiro Okuma

The picture shows Koichiro Okuma teaches the application of Kanku Sho at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special. Kanku Sho is a kata of Shotokan Karate Do.

The Düsseldorf Special with Koichiro Okuma has become a fix event in the annual European Shotokan Karate calendar. Here we report from the 2nd special in Düsseldorf. By Jeffrey Evers

One year after the outstanding success of the 1th Düsseldorf Special, 130 karateka from all over Germany and beyond visited the Dojo Yamato. They all attended the joint Seminar with Sensei Koichiro Okuma and a get-together with friends during the long Pentecost weekend.

  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special

From Kata to Kumite: The 1st Day of the Düsseldorf Special

From Taikyoku Shodan to Kanku Sho

The first training session began 10 am on Saturday. Koichiro Okuma Sensei started the seminar by sharing an anecdote of his karate career with the junior Kyu grades. Concentrating on kumite for the majority of his early competitive career, his focus moved to kata as time passed. Yet, never losing the aspiration to improve his kumite skills. This essence, improving kumite through kata, was the pivotal topic of the 2nd Düsseldorf Special.

The Saturday morning session aimed at body-shifting. Okuma Sensei used Taikyoku Shodan and Heian Shodan to teach the junior kyu grades how to move their balance point. Instead of concentrating on minor details, he emphasized the overall feeling while performing the katas. His means of choice was Kanku Sho. Okuma Sensei pointed out, why this Kata is the best preparation for kumite. Above all, the great number of direction changes fosters the feeling for shifting the bodyweight. His several demonstrations showed impressively what great impact this basic skill can have on speed and power.

  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special

From Heain Nidan to Hangetsu

After a brief lunch break, the 3rd and 4th sessions took place. The junior grades sessions emphasized the Heian Nidan to Godan. Okuma Sensei used several kata sections to emphasize that the main intention for performing Kata was Kumite. In the senior grades’ sessions, he focused on the deeper meanings of Hangetsu. The dynamic switches from slow and smooth movements to fast and devastating techniques can be utilized as tactical elements of Kumite. Okuma Sensei showed how the tension from nervous movements will lead to a frantic confrontation. On the other hand, smoothness will calm down our opponent’s suspense. This creates the opportunity to strike, surprise and overwhelm opponents.

  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special

The first day closed with a joint Dinner at a Chinese buffet.

From Kata to Kumite: The 2nd Day of the Düsseldorf Special

The Mirror of Tekki Shodan

On Sunday morning, the junior and senior groups trained together. Okuma Sensei introduced the junior grades to Tekki Shodan. To leverage the learning experience, he instructed the Dan grades to be a mirror for the colored grades. Both groups faced each other, so that they learnt the kata much faster through observing their counterpart. Okuma Sensei emphasized the divergent movements of the kata in order to underline blocking and simultaneous counter attacking.

  • The picture shows members of the Dojo Yamaton at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows members of the Dojo Yamaton at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special

Legwork and Bassai Sho

The senior grades focused on legwork. In particular, Okuma Sensei taught the right pushing and pulling of the body. Starting with the Kata Bassai Sho, he used the sessions stress and repeat push and pull movements many times.

  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special
  • The picture shows Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special

In last session of the seminar, all grades trained together again. The focus lied mainly on Zuki combinations with a partner in the final class. All the different topics of the before kata classes came coming merged in this session. It was the last step in preparation for kumite. Okuma Sensei began with Oi-Zuki-Gyaku-Zuki combinations. He remined all participants that the fists are important since they hit the opponent. However, it is all about leg work and the usage and feeling of the hips eventually. Okuma Sensei added to the Oi-Zucki-Gyaku-Zuki combination also a Kizami-Zuki-Gyaku-Zuki sequence, and later a Gyaku-Zuki-Gyaku-Zuki combination. The major aim was to increase speed and will power of the participants. The Seminar ended at 4 pm on Sunday.

Okumas Sensei Enjoyed the 2nd Düsseldorf Special

Sensei Koichiro Okuma stressed after the seminar, that all participants spent much effort and showed a strong will to learn during the classes. The atmosphere during the breaks and the dinner was warm and welcoming. He enjoyed his time in Düsseldorf a lot and met plenty of old and new friends.

The picture shows the Dojo Yamato with Keigo Shimizu and Koichrio Okuma at the 2nd Düsseldorf Special.
Koichiro Okuma and the Dojo Yamato

Dietmar Vetten and Keigo Shimizu about the 2nd Düsseldorf Special

Dietmar Vetten, head of the organizing committee, and Sensei Keigo Shimizu, head instructor of the Dojo Yamato, also expressed their satisfaction with the event. “The atmosphere among the participants was just fantastic. Many wished for a 3rd Düsseldorf Special next year”, said Dietmar Vetten. “We are very glad to have welcomed such an esteemed and excellent JKA Instructor in Düsseldorf for the second time. Okuma Sensei is an excellent Karateka and an outstanding personality” commented Keigo Shimizu. Koichiro Okuma and Keigo Shimizu relates a long friendship that dates back to their time at Dokkyo University. Both studied in the University´s Karate Club under the guidance of Osaka Sensei and Naka Sensei.

The picture shows Keigo Shimizu and Koichrio Okuma 2nd Düsseldorf Special.
Keigo Shimizu and Koichrio Okuma

Gratitude to the Volunteers

Okuma Sensei, Dietmar Vetten, and Keigo Shimizu expressed their gratitude to all the volunteers who made the event exciting and pleasant for everybody. A special thank you goes to Sandra „Sandy San“ Brenscheid, who conducted the warmup before the sessions.

The picture shows Jens Förster und Anke Schulle-Vetten, who helped to organize the 2nd Düsseldorf Special.
Jens Förster and Anke Schulle-Vetten

3rd Düsseldorf Special?!

The planning for a 3rd Düsseldorf Special in 2020 has already began. As the people in Düsseldorf like to say: After the 3rd time, everything becomes a tradition.