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Page 12

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

Steve Austin
Did you ever invite Asano sensei to your dojo Nick?

Nick Adamou
Mick Randall along with my brother and myself were actually the first U.K. instructors to invite Asano sensei to London. Initially, we organised regular, fortnightly classes for Asano sensei which were held on Friday evenings at the Winchmore-Hill dojo. Later on, regular three or four monthly weekend courses were held there, and in between the Saturday morning and evening classes of these weekend courses, we would have our own, 'Private, two hour free-style & kata' class with Asano sensei. There were also weekend courses which we organised with Kanazawa Sensei and Asano sensei and on some occasions, Kato sensei would also come to teach. This type of training regime, with Kanazawa sensei and Asano sensei continued from 1970 up until 1978. 1970 was incidentally when Mick, Chris and I were graded to Nidan (2nd Dan black belt) under Kanazawa Sensei and Asano sensei. Whilst all of this was going on, Mick, Chris and I were teaching four times per week at our own clubs and did our own, private, two hour training sessions with each other which were held one or two hours before the actual class that we were about to instruct. We did this whilst working at various jobs from 9am to 5pm on and off.

S.A.
It was during the 1970s that the JKA won the world karate championships in Paris. I believe that sensei Tanaka, Osaka and Yahara were members of the Japanese team that won. Did you get the chance be there at these championships Nick?

N.A.
No, unfortunately due to other personal family commitments, it was impossible for me to be there. However, Kanazawa sensei, who was 7th Dan at the time and coach for the Japanese team, along with Asano and Kato sensei brought Masahiko Tanaka, Yoshiharu Osaka and Mikio Yahara to the Winchmore-Hill dojo. The class began by Kanazawa sensei introducing the three team members to all of us after which he went through warming and limbering up exercises and then took all of us through basic techniques. Once this was over, we were asked to sit down. I knew we would be called up to pair up with these phenomenal fighters and found a little reassurance in the fact that they must have very good control.

S.A.
Did you in fact you have to pair up with them?

N.A.
Yes. They each called us up to perform Gohon-Kumite (five step-sparring) with them. They were just phenomenal. Speed, power, kime, spirit. Impossible to block any of their attacks. Truly amazing.

S.A.
Did you have to do any other form of sparring Nick, or did you only have to do Gohon-Kumite?

N.A.
No, Jiyu-Kumite (free-style sparring) was next and each of us paired up with one of the team members as Kanazawa sensei watched over the whole proceedings.

S.A.
Who paired up with who?

N.A.
Well, although many students did pair up with the three Japanese team members, I can only remember three bouts. The first one was my brother Chris being paired up with Yahara sensei. I seem to remember Chris doing his usual combination of step over Kizami-zuki, Mawashi-geri and Gyaku-Zuki after which I think Kanazawa sensei called "Yamae"! At the very instant that Kanazawa sensei started the bout again as he called "Hajime", Yahara sensei's leg was snapping back from a jodan Mawashi-geri to Chris's head and Chris was lying on his back practically knocked out. He was that fast. The next person who paired up with Yahara sensei was Gregory Durant. This bout lasted even less time than the previous one as Yahara sensei's brilliant Mawashi-geri was out and back in a split second and Gregg was on the floor, like my brother. Well, I had been watching all of this and, as you can imagine, a lot of thoughts were going through my mind. Fear was top of the list but I didn't want to miss such a brilliant chance of facing this amazing karate-ka and formidable fighter. As soon as Gregg was taken away I jumped up, bowed and said OSS and was invited up. I could hear my heart beating in my head and ears I was so frightened and excited all in one go. Standing in front of Yahara sensei felt a bit like standing in front of a massive, stone object that was in the process of toppling over and onto me. Suddenly he attacked and all I could do was step backward. I thought, "I'm still here" Then he attacked again and again with punches and kicks and all I could do was to constantly step back and out of the way until I fell down as my legs gave way. Kanazawa sensei' called "Yamae" and although I got off quite lightly, I was nevertheless, disgusted with myself.

Page 12

 

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Copyright 2012 N.B. Adamou