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In the past 50 years I have been most fortunate to not only meet but study with many of the great Budo Masters who have visited the UK and Europe. I would like to place my memories on record in the hope that they may one day be of interest to others in the Martial Arts.
I began my Martial arts journey in 1956 at the now famous Hut Dojo. I started with Judo under the instruction of Ken Williams Sensei. Abbe Sensei had arrived in the UK in 1955 at the invitation of the London Judo Society ( LJS ) . He would soon become disillusioned with the LJS and join forces with Matsutaro Otani Sensei which would eventually lead to the formation of the British Judo Council ( BJC ) – British Kendo Council (BKC )
British Aikido Council ( BAC ). Williams Sensei was there with Abbe Sensie at the very beginning of this exciting period in British Martial Arts history. The new association with Otani Sensie would make Abbe Sensei a regular visitor to the Hut Dojo. Which would soon be renamed The Abbe School of Budo. I first saw Abbe Sensei when he attended a grading at the Hut. I realised even on this first occasion that I was in the presence of someone very special. Abbe Sensei appeared to me to be an awesome man . I would later get to know sensei much better and engage in some conversation although his English was very poor. Many people today claim to have been friends of Abbe Sensei, I never met one person who was a friend of Sensei, we were all privileged students. I would soon start Aikido and would see Sensei on both the Aikido and Judo classes. I also became a regular at Abbe Sensei’s own Sandwich Street Dojo in Kings Cross, London.
At this time Abbe Sensei was in his early 40’s and still a force to be dealt with in randori or competition. I was not at the LJS when the following happened, Sensei thought that he did not receive the respect due to a man of his lineage and stature, he lined up all the 31 Judo dan grades and walked along the line and told them individually what technique he would use on them and whether it would be right or left handed, he did exactly that, he went down the whole line and beat each and every dan grade.
1935 - 2003
Keinosuke Enoeda was born in Kyushu, an island in the South of Japan, on July 4th 1935. A strong and natural athlete, he initially took up baseball, kendo, and judo, as did many of his contemporaries - these being the popular sports in Japan at that time. He proved particularly adept at Judo, and by the age of 16 he had reached 2nd Dan. However, as is often the way, fate guided him to a demonstration by two top Karate exponents from the famous Takashoku University. The two Karateka, Senseis Irea and Okazaki, so impressed him, that there and then, he decided to channel his energy into Karate.
He enrolled at Takashoku University, joined the Karate section, and within two years was the proud holder of Shodan. Another two years found him Club Captain.
One his teachers was the great Master and founder of modern Shotokan Karate, Funakoshi Gichin, whose instruction and advice is still a source of inspiration to him to this day.
He graduated with a degree in economics before joining the JKA instructors class which he attended for three years, during which time his main instructor was Sensei Nakayama. He also trained with many of the top Sensei of other schools and styles of Karate. It was this quality of instruction, combined with a fiercesome determination, which moulded Sensei Enoeda into one of Japan's finest ever competitors and instructors.
After achieving his aim of becoming JKA Champion, Sensei began to receive invitations to instruct in various countries - Indonesia, South Africa, Hawaii - and eventually joined his friend, Hirokazu Kanazawa, to instruct in England.
Letitia Carr of Wellington, competing for New Zealand at the 2009 Karate World Games on the back of her wins at the 2008 Oceania Karate Championships becomes New Zealand’s most successful Karate Athlete narrowly losing to Slovakia 6-4 in a thrilling final that until the last 25 seconds she was leading 4-1. Silver in the open kumite event is New Zealand’s first medal at a senior WKF tournament in more than 35 years of trying and we are sure it is just the beginning, at 19 years of age she will be a force to reckon with on the world stage.
PA: Thank you for the opportunity to interview you Letitia. What got you interested in the martial arts and how old were you when you started training?
Letitia Carr: I wanted to learn self-defence, I started when I was 11 years old.
PA: Which style do you study?Letitia Carr: I started off doing Shotokan karate, but now train Goju-Ryu karate.
PA: How long have you been training?Letitia Carr: 8 Years (had 1 year off)
PA: How often do you train and what does your training consist of?Letitia Carr: Average training a week consists of about 7 sessions per week. During the lead up period to major competition there can be up to 9-10 training sessions per week. Training sessions consist of karate, plyometrics, power/strength, agility and fitness training.
PA: Do you supplement your training at the gym or other exercise such as yoga or pilates etc?Letitia Carr: Yes, plyometrics, power/strength, agility and fitness are all trained in the gym.
1915 - 2009
Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois was born on the full moon day of July, 1915, Guru Purnima day. His ancestral village, Kowshika, near Hassan in Karnataka State, is inhabited by maybe 500 people and has one main street. At one end of the street is a Vishnu temple, just next to Pattabhi Jois’ home. At the far end of the street, just 100 yards away, lies a small Ganapati temple, and just opposite, a Siva temple. Both are several hundreds years old, and are the focus of the village.
Pattabhi Jois’s father was an astrologer and a priest, who acted as the pujari for many of the families in the village. From an early age, as most brahmin boys, Pattabhi Jois was taught the Vedas and Hindu rituals.
When Guruji was 12 years old, he attended a yoga demonstration at his middle school in Hassan. The next day he went to meet the great yogi who had given the demonstration, a man by the name of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, who had learned yoga for nearly eight years from his Guru, Rama Mohan Brahmachari in a cave in Tibet. For the next two years, Guruji learned from his Guru every day. When Guruji turned 14, he had his brahmin thread ceremony. Krishnamacharya left Hassan to travel and teach, and Guruji left his village to go to Mysore.
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, François Damiens, Zinedine Soualem, Karim Belkhadra, Jean-François Wolff, Anne Paulicevich, Liliane Becker
The film establishes Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is playing himself in an alternate reality, as an out of luck actor. He's out of money, his agent can't find him a decent production, and the judge in a custody battle is inclined to give custody of his daughter over to his ex-wife. He returns to his childhood home of Brussels: where hes still considered a national icon.
Starring: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Siu-Wong Fan, Ka Tung Lam, Yu Xing, You-Nam Wong
Ip Man is a 2008 Hong Kong martial arts biopic that is based on the life of Ip Man, the celebrated martial arts master of Bruce Lee, and the first to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun openly. The film focuses on events surrounding Yip that took place in Foshan between the 1930s to 1940s during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Directed by Wilson Yip, the film stars Donnie Yen in the lead role, and features fight choreography by Sammo Hung. Ip's two sons, Ip Chun and Ip Ching, along with several Wing Chun practitioners also appear in the film. Ip Man is the first film to be based on the life of the martial artist.