4 minutes reading time (823 words)

Keinosuke Enoeda

1935 - 2003

enoeda_01Keinosuke 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.

So it was, that in 1965, Sensei Enoeda found himself in a place called Liverpool, where he was to spend some considerable time. He had a flat in Percy Street, in Liverpool City Centre, close to the Anglican Cathedral, and his transport was a bright orange Volkswagen Beetle.

He was instructing full-time at the Liverpool Red Triangle Dojo, and the quality of instruction and the spirit he engendered was soon to bring the club competition success. If you were there in those early days, you would have found it difficult not to be inspired by the intensity of his coaching. No less inspirational was the intensity of his training - every morning at 7am in Sefton Park he would meet with a small group of students and train with them, showing by example that even All-Japan champions need to make training part of the daily lives. These students included Andy Sherry, Terry O'Neil, Bob Poynton, and Bill Christall.

When he went to Australia for the World JKA Championships in 1989, he would have the British Squad out training every morning at 7am. Sensei would talk about how his life had changed since he had left Japan to teach in England in 1966. He confessed that he had worried about the changes he would have to face - both in culture and climate - something he had not experienced so much when, for example, he was teaching in Hawaii. The climate there is similar to the Summer months of Japan, and there is a long established Japanese community.

At first he found English food strange - he could not believe we make a pudding from rice! - and the British weather! What did emerge from the conversation however was that he had grown to love the British people and their culture, and that he was so proud to be Chief Instructor to the KUGB.

He was once asked was he getting used to British food and he replied "of course! I feel that now I AM British!".

Enoeda and his wife, Reiko (married in 1969), settled in Surrey. In 1973, Enoeda led a demonstration of karate on live television for the BBC. Part of the Open Door series it was the first British TV programme entirely about karate. The demonstration included kihon (basic techniques), kata (patterns), Enoeda sparring multiple opponents, Enoeda against Tomita with a large blade, and Dave Hazard breaking a piece of Japanese hardwood.

While Chief Instructor of the KUGB, Enoeda was assisted by: Sadashige Kato (from c. 1966–1973), Shiro Asano (from 1968–1974), Hideo Tomita (from 1973–1974), Masao Kawasoe (from 1974–1982), and Yoshinobu Ohta (from 1982–2003). Around 2000, Enoeda was ranked 8th dan.

Enoeda wrote several books on karate, including: Shotokan: Advanced kata (1983, in at least two volumes), Shotokan Karate (1996), Shotokan Karate: 10th Kyu to 6th Kyu (1996), Shotokan Karate: 5th Kyu to Black Belt (1996), Karate: Defence and attack (1996, co-authored), and Shotokan Karate: Free Fighting Techniques (1999, co-authored). Enoeda used to promote his dojo with "Dynamic Karate" posters on the London Underground. He continued teaching karate, at the Marshall Street Baths near Carnaby Street in London, until his death on 29 March 2003. Shortly after his death, the JKA awarded the rank of 9th dan to him. Enoeda left behind his wife, Reiko, and children Daisuke and Maya.

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