Andre Bertel Sensei’s first visit to South Africa was organised by USR Chairperson, Gary Grapentin in 2013. The Seminar was a tremendous success, and unquestionably Bertel Sensei left a lasting impression on all who were fortunate enough to attend. Bertel Sensei’s close association with Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei (1935-2006) combined with his relentless training and continuous study, makes for a special form of Shotokan rooted in traditional Japanese Budo. With Bertel Sensei’s dynamism as a karate practitioner and instructor, and with an unparalleled knowledge of Shotokan Karate as a form of Japanese Budo, it is not difficult to see why he is so highly-regarded and internationally sought after.

Bertel Sensei’s return visit to South Africa was attended by one hundred participants from KwaZulu-Natal, Orange Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. The two day Seminar was held at the Fairview Sports Centre in Port Elizabeth on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2019, and organised by United Shotokan-Ryu.

Bertel Sensei focused on the devastating self-defense techniques practiced in pre-World War 2 Shotokan Karate. Since the internationalisation of Shotokan Karate, many of these techniques and applications have been almost forgotten.  It is therefore reassuring to know that this rich legacy is being preserved by a practitioner as devoted and accomplished as Bertel Sensei.

Originally from New Zealand, Bertel Sensei first travelled to Japan 26 years ago in order to hone his skills by training with some of the world’s finest Japanese Shotokan Karate Masters. Bertel Sensei currently resides in Oita City (Oita Prefecture) and has been a full-time resident in Japan since 2013. In addition, he received private and special tuition from the late Japanese Shotokan Karate Master, Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei (1935-2006) over a period spanning two decades. As a result, Bertel Sensei was one of the few students to be taught many of the ancient kata (forms) researched and refined by Asai Sensei. When he is not teaching overseas, Bertel Sensei instructs an ever increasing number of foreign karateka who seek out his training in Japan, as well as numerous Japanese karateka.