You said there were three demonstrations, what about the third one,
how did this go?
The third demonstration was at Poplar Town Hall, but I'm pretty sure I
didn't go to this one. If I did, I really can't remember anything about it.
So what happened to the four JKA sensei once the
demonstrations were over?
They all went with Dr. Bell to Liverpool for about a week I think and then
they came back to London from where sensei Kase, Enoeda and Shirai went to
South Africa for six months to teach. Enoeda
sensei returned to England and instructed in Liverpool and the North of
England. I can't remember exactly when this was but it may have been
immediately after the six months stay in South Africa.
And what about Kanazawa sensei?
Well, Kanazawa sensei stayed on in London for one year as an instructor of
the BKF after Dr. Bell secured a work permit for him which
would last up to March 1966 and, during this year he made regular visits to
other BKF dojos around the UK.
So, am I right in thinking Nick that, from the time when you started karate
in December 1964, up to the time when Kanazawa sensei started to instruct
within the BKF, in May 1965, some five months in total, you didn't take any
Yes, that's absolutely right. My first grading was held on either the 28th
or 29th July 1965 at the Lyndurst Hall in Kentish
Town under Kanazawa sensei and my brother and I went from white to yellow
belt 7th Kyu. Pauline Laville
(now Pauline Bhindra), who had started karate one
or two months earlier than myself and Chris, went from white to green belt
6th Kyu and Mick Randall and Mick Peachey who
were nine months my senior, received purple belt 5th Kyu.
Ray Fuller did exceptionally well by going straight to temporary 4th Kyu.
Did Dr. Bell organise any courses for the BKF students now that Kanazawa
sensei was in the UK for the coming year?
Yes, Kanazawa sensei instructed on two courses. The first of these, which I
didn't attend, was held in Chigwell around the end of August 1965. However,
I did attend the week long course that was held the following week at Lilleshall, in Shropshire.
Could you describe in detail everything relating to the course?
The first of the two hour classes started at 5.30am or 6.00am in the
morning and, before the class commenced, Kanazawa sensei led all of us in a
run around the grounds of the complex in our Gi's.
Before we could get onto the grass to start the run, there was an area of
gravel that had to be traversed which, when I gingerly walked across it,
felt like pins and needles in the soles of my feet. I hated running because
it used to trigger off my Asthma but, as I didn't want to be seen as a
coward, I never mentioned this. Luckily, I never had any Asthma attacks on
these morning runs, which was quite strange. During the run, and at certain
selected moments, Kanazawa sensei would shout out one, two, three, four all
the way up to ten in Japanese, i.e. "ichi, ni, san, shi" and so on
and he, along with the rest of us would perform Choku-zuki
(straight punch) to his count whilst we were running. On the tenth punch we
all kiai'd. I was always at the end of the line
or amongst the last to finish.
After the run, we would
file into the dojo, line up and then, after doing some warming and
limbering up exercises, the normal karate class would start.
These early morning classes
were a shock to my entire system as I hated getting up early in the morning
nearly as much as I hated running. However, I have to say that I really
felt physically and mentally brilliant afterwards. It was wonderful to meet
up with other karate-ka including, Andy Sherry, Steve Cattle and Alan Smith
who also attended the course. Apart from the karate techniques which
Kanazawa sensei explained and demonstrated so brilliantly, he also showed
the importance of using the stomach or 'Hara' when practicing karate. To
highlight this in one of the classes, he stood in Shiko-Dachi,
stance and then asked one of the larger built students to run at him in the
same way that Sumo wrestlers start their bouts. Starting his run from
around five foot away and accelerating to maximum speed, the student simply
bounced off of him as if he had hit a wall whilst Kanazawa sensei never
moved and seemed absolutely solid.
Continued on page 8...