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Page 3

Taken from an interview on the Karate history of Nicholas B Adamou
By Steave Austin 5thDan

Please note that all information
was correct at time of publishing.

Copyright 2006 N.B. Adamou

N. Adamou 5thDan performing an oi-zuki while Sensei Kanazawa 8thDan counters with an yoko-tobi-geri to the head. This picture was taken form a comprehensive article written for a Paris publication. The article demonstrated the unique and explosive techniques within karate. France 1983.

S.A.
How long after this visit to the Kentish Town dojo was it, before you actually joined the BKF?

N.A.
I believe I received my BKF Licence at around the beginning of December 1964.

S.A.
And was this when you started karate?

N.A.
No. my first Karate lesson was held at the Upminster Dojo some weeks afterwards. I think this was on 13th December 1964 at 10.00am on a depressingly dismal and cold Sunday morning.

My brother and I got up at around 7.30am to catch the 144 bus to Turnpike Lane Station. From here we travelled on the Piccadilly, Northern and District line Undergrounds to Upminster. As we walked from Upminster Underground station to the dojo, which took about twelve or fifteen minutes, we passed a fair haired woman on the way walking in the same direction as us. I jokingly said to Chris that perhaps she was a karate expert. After we had changed into our Judo uniforms which we had bought a few weeks earlier from Dr. Bell, and were lined up with the other students in the dojo, that same, fair haired woman who we had just passed in the street came into the dojo and also lined up. This was Pauline Laville (now Pauline Bhindra of Blitz Martial Arts) and, like us, she was also wearing a white belt.

It seems strange when I think that in approximately three years to the day from that first meeting with Pauline, she, my brother and I would all take our Shodan Black belt gradings together, under Kanazawa sensei.

S.A.
How often did you train Nick?

N.A.
Well initially I only trained once a week at the Upminster dojo but after about a month, I also trained at the Kentish Town dojo. So I was therefore training twice a week.

S.A.
In those early days of British karate, who were your instructors and who else used to train along side yourself under these instructors?

N.A.
In the first five months of my karate training, my fellow karate-ka were Eddie Whitcher, Mick (Michael) Randall, Ray Fuller, Mick Peachey, Chris Adamou, Jack Johnson, David Johnson, Peter Labasci and Pauline Laville (now Pauline Bhindra). Later on, Andy Sherry, Bob Poynton, Steve Cattle and Terry O'Neil would sometimes visit and train at the London dojos. Instruction was given by Jimmy Neal, Terry Wyngrove, and Robert Williams as well as Dr. Bell.

S.A.
So the first five months of your karate practice was under British instructors, when did you hear of the possibility that Japanese instructors (sensei) might be visiting the UK dojos to teach and also to demonstrate at various venues in London?


N.A.
I can't remember exactly, but I think this was around the end of January 1965. A rumour had started to circulate that four of the best karate instructors from the Japan Karate Association (JKA) would be visiting the UK to hold karate demonstrations throughout the country and also to teach karate at most of the BKF dojos. Over the weeks this rumour gathered more and more momentum until, one evening after one of the classes, Dr. Bell turned the rumour into a fact by announcing that, Taiji Kase (6th Dan), Hirokazu Kanazawa (5th Dan). Keinosuke Enoeda (5th Dan) and Hiroshi Shirai (4th Dan) would be arriving in the UK and coming to our dojo around the end of April. The qualifications and experience of these JKA instructors was staggering. Shirai sensei had been a JKA Grand Champion in 1962 and Enoeda sensei was the winner of the JKA kumite title in 1963. Kanazawa sensei (now in his 70s, and world famous as a 10th Dan) had gained a phenomenal reputation in Japan as he was the winner of the first, All Japan Karate Association championship held in 1957 which he won whilst he had a broken hand. He then went on to become the JKA Grand Champion the following year by winning both the Kumite (Free-Sparring) and Kata (Formal Exercise) titles in 1958. Dr. Bell also told us that Kanazawa sensei was renowned for his incredibly high kicks. Because of Kase sensei's seniority, he had been a JKA judge and referee. He then explained that he had invited Kanazawa Sensei to be the resident instructor of the two London clubs based in Kentish Town and Upminster.

Page 3

 

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Copyright 2012 N.B. Adamou