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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.


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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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Who got Promoted in the JKA? The Official List

The JKA held its annual Spring Camp on April 11 to 14, 2019. During the event, the official award ceremony for the promotion of higher Dan ranks took place. We reported about the promotion of a 10th Dan to Ueki Masaaki.

Beside Ueki Masaaki several other instructors were promoted. Due to fact that the names of the awardees were not announced publicly we inquired at the JKA HQ and received the following list from the press office. The Shihankai Meeting on February 16, 2018 decided to award:

10th Dan

  • Ueki Masaaki

9th Dan

  • Sakai Ryusuke
  • Kano Tadahiko
  • Koyama Shojiro

8th Dan

  • Kawasaki Isao
  • Mera Junichi
  • Machida Yoshizo
  • Inoue Mitsuo
  • Kawazoe Masao
  • Aoki Osamu
  • Ogura Yasunori

Congratulations to all awardees, oss!

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Video of Ueki Masaaki´s 10th Dan Promotion

The Facebook page, The Martial Way, published footage from the 10th Dan promotion ceremony of Ueaki Masaaki. According to rumors did the ceremony take place on April 10, 2019. The video was published 12 hours ago on Facebook.

Link to the video!

Videos an pictures of other Promotions also appeared on the internet. Yoshizo Machida, for instance, was awarded the 8th Dan. The Shotokan Times will keep you updated.

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Official Answer of the JKA-HQ about Ueki Masaaki´s 10th Dan

Ueki Masaaki Shihan might had become the the first 10th Dan holder in the history of the JKA, as we have reported last week. We came to this conclusion because the website of the JKA indicated the award. However, no public announcement was made.

Speculations About Awarding of 10th Dan to Ueki Masaaki

Right after our report speculations occurred. Some supposed that it was high time for Shihan Masaaki to receive the award because Hirokazu Kanazawa and Teruyuki Okazaki already had been awarded 10th Dan. They are the same generation like Ueki Masaaki. Thus, the award was only consequential.

Others asserted that the award was given because of internal promotions within the Shihankai of the JKA. Takeshi Oishi, for instance, was awarded the 9th Dan. In order to maintain the hierarchy within the organization the promotion of Shihan Masaaki was a necessary step.

Message to JKA HQ: Why Did Ueki Masaaki Received the 10th Dan?

We wanted to know it directly from the JKA-HQ. That is why we wrote an email to the headquarter and asked about a statement. Yesterday, we received the short answer. The JKA-HQ wrote:

“Shihan Ueki was awarded 10th dan by recommendation of Shihankai. The first and second chief instructors were given the award too.”

As the most of you have speculated, it was an internal decision. Why the JKA did not report about it, is still up for speculation. But it seems theoretically plausible that such a forced promotion due to hierarchical and/or seniority reasons is not deemed as prestigious and honorable by the JKA in comparison to a granting of a 10th Dan by the Kokusai Budoin like Hirokazu Kanazawa received.

Why Was Decided This Way?

One would expect the JKA to utilize and explain this huge step. Because it is an important selling-argument for such an organization and a decision that only takes place every few decades. In the history of Shotokan, only a handful of people have hold a 10th Dan. The awarding should therefore be something special and highly valued. Under those kind if circumstances it seems odd that the JKA did not announce the award. We again requested an official press release by the JKA in which they might explain the decision and to prove all speculations wrong. The answer is still pending.

However, for many JKA members this might also been sad. The social media response on our report showed that many had wished to celebrate the award with Shihan Masaaki. Some might also be disappointed because the JKA did not inform its members about the decision. That reveals a gap between the Shihankai and the members. Some members might have felt left out although they are strongly committed to the organization, its values, and their chief instructor. We hope the JKA finds a way to solve this issue.

If we receive further information we will report immediately.

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Shihan Ueki Masaaki of the JKA awarded 10th Dan?

It would be the first living 10th Dan in the History of the JKA. According to the JKA website, Shihan Ueki Masaaki was awarded the 10th Dan. When, why, and by whom the award was overhanded is currently unknown. The Shotokan Times has contacted the JKA Headquarter in Tokyo by email for further information. Perhaps, it might be a writing mistake. But against this hypothesis stands the fact that on two different pages of the JKA website the rank of a 10th Dan. This award would come as a surprise. Up to now, the JKA has not released an official statement in English that The Shotokan Times is aware of. When we have further information we will immediately report about the topic.

The picture shows the profile of Masaaki Ueki on the website of the JKA.
The picture shows the profile of Masaaki Ueki and other high ranking instructors on the website of the JKA.