You mentioned earlier that Enoeda sensei
would sometimes instruct alongside Kanazawa sensei, did any other JKA
instructors come to visit the London dojos also?
Oh yes, during this period, and because of Kanazawa sensei's fame and
reputation in Japan, Hawaii and Europe, other Japanese JKA instructors
would come to visit the honbu dojo (headquarters)
in order to train and assist in classes taught by him. These would include
the following sensei: Kase, Shirai,
Myazaki, Nagai, Takahashi and Sumi.
On rare occasions we would have the privilege to see short but spectacular
impromptu displays of free fighting when they would pair up and demonstrate
their favourite fighting techniques, including Kanazawa sensei performing
his famous Yoko-Tobi-Geri or flying side thrust
kick. This certainly was the golden era for British karate in my opinion,
and how lucky I was to have been taught by these great masters.
With films such as James Bond 007, 'Pink Panther' with Kato films and
television programs like The Avengers that made people more aware of
Martial Arts at that time, did Kanazawa sensei ever get invited to show
karate and meet any of the stars who appeared in these?
Yes, John Chisholm, who was one of the grades senior to myself, worked at Elstree Studios and invited Peter Sellers to come to
watch a Karate demonstration given by Sensei's Kanazawa and Enoeda. The usual loyal group of students including
myself had to perform in a 'mini' Karate class taken by them. Afterwards,
Peter Sellers was asked if he would be the Hon/Sec of the KUGB but he was
unable to do this.
Did any other celebrities come to see karate demonstrations which were
given by Kanazawa sensei or Enoeda sensei?
Yes, Lee Marvin and John Cassavetes were working
on the film 'The Dirty Dozen'. So John invited the two film stars to watch
a Karate demonstration of free style sparring and kata
which was put on by sensei's Kanazawa and Enoeda
at the Chiswick dojo which John had recently opened up. Along with some of
the Chiswick dojo members, I as a purple belt and the usual group of loyal
students participated in this demonstration by performing basic techniques.
The two film stars, watched in amazement as the demonstration ended with
Kanazawa sensei breaking a four inch block of Obeche
wood with a reverse punch. After the demonstration, I made my way down the
corridor to get changed and suddenly, Lee Marvin came around the corner and
towards me in the opposite direction. As we passed each other, I asked him
what he thought of sensei's Kanazawa and Enoeda's
demonstration. In that deep, gruff voice he answered. "It's Zen. It's
just pure Zen".
You mentioned that you attended the BKF Lilleshall
one week course in Shropshire as a white belt. Were there any other courses
held during Kanazawa sensei's stay in the UK?
Yes. There was a one week course held in Colourcoats,
on the north-east coast of England which was given by Kanazawa Sensei and Enoeda sensei. Mick Randall and I met up with Jack
Johnson in London and were driven all the way there in his car. Michael and
Jack were brown belts and I was a purple belt. My brother Chris was
supposed to come along also but that morning was quite sick with a migraine
and therefore couldn't join us.
When was the first KUGB Summer Course held at Crystal Palace?
I can't really remember, but I know that I attended the first of these and
was perhaps a 3rd kyu brown belt. I attended most
if not all of these Crystal Palace courses until around the grade of 3rd
Who instructed on these Crystal Palace courses and how long were the
Usually, the following sensei instructed: Kase,
Kanazawa, Enoeda, Shirai,
Kong, Asano, Kato, Nagai, Takahashi, and Sumi. On
one of the Crystal Palace courses, the Chief Instructor and head of the
JKA, Masatoshi Nakayama Sensei instructed and of course this was very
special. As far as the classes were concerned, there was a morning and
evening class and each one lasted for three hours. When the first of these
week long courses was to be held, I remember Kanazawa sensei explaining to
us, his London students that, the first day will seem impossible. The next
day your muscles will start to hurt and you will be very stiff and feel
incredibly tired. On the third day, you will feel that you can't move your
body at all and want to give up. On the fourth day you will feel a bit
stronger, looser and healthier with more stamina. On the fifth day your
body will feel as it did when you started the course but, you will be so
much stronger, looser, faster and healthier. When you finally have to go
home, you will find it very strange and miss all the hard training. I can
only say from my own personal experience of these that the above was
exactly true for me.