Yes, that is very strange!! So Nick, I assume you went back to the library
to find out whether the librarian had come up with any clubs?
Yes. She told me that there was only one organisation in the whole of the
United Kingdom and this was the British Karate-do Federation (BKF) which
was headed by its founder, Dr. V.C.F. Bell. I therefore kept all the
relevant details regarding the BKF and immediately began to read the book.
Were you able to learn any karate from the book?
Well, as I imagined that all the information in the book was only for
qualified practitioners of the art, I didn't even consider that I might be
able to attempt this.
I see. Anyway, you went to Greece in July. Did you enjoy the holiday? I
imagine you must have had a great time there?
Oh yes. It was wonderful. What was especially nice was the journey. Train
from Liverpool Street Station to Immingham, then a seven hour boat trip to
the Hook of Holland. From there we spent two days and nights by train
travelling through Holland, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia (as it was called at
the time) and then all the way down the length of Greece to Athens. I
remember a gigantic, orange, neon sign which read 'BELGRADE' as the train
came into this city. We were all exhausted and hardly able to keep our eyes
open as the train finally wound its way into Athens at around 11.00pm at
night. Then, suddenly, as we rounded another corner, the Parthenon came
into view, all lit up in ever changing colours. Absolutely beautiful. Quite
I assume that you returned to England in September time. Did you contact
the BKF on your return?
Well, David and I began the journey back on our own, stopping off in
Salzburg for a day and then Vienna where we met up with my parents who were
holidaying with my mother's relations there. Chris stayed on in Greece a
little longer in order to visit Corinth and Mykonos.
From Vienna, David and I returned to England at about the middle of
I didn't contact the BKF on my return as I knew that if I started karate
I'd obviously have to pay for the lessons and, to pay for them I'd have to
have a job. I therefore spent about three weeks searching for a suitable
job which, after having just spent two years at college, the word
'suitable' just didn't fit into the equation and this was nigh on
impossible. I loved science and all subjects connected with science and
would have loved to have studied astronomy or astrophysics in order to
become an Astronomer. Whilst Physics and Chemistry were not too much of a problem
for me, maths was my big, weak point. So I had to face up to reality and
weigh up the options. Go back to college for another year in the hope that
my maths would improve, and thereby forfeit any chance of doing karate or,
get a job in order to pay for the lessons.
I can only assume that you did in fact get a job.
Yes, with a company called 'E & E Kaye Electricals' in Edmonton
which I managed to endure for about six weeks. It was around this time
also, about the middle of October, that my brother and I contacted the BKF
and had actually spoken to Dr. Bell on the telephone which I found to be
quite a daunting experience. On many occasions it seemed as if it was going
to be impossible to ever join the BKF and start karate.
What happened after this?
Well, with regard to finding another job, I decided to work in
London in order to earn more money and joined a solicitors company as a
clerk in Lincoln Inn Fields called "Woolley Tyler and Bury". By
the middle of November, when I had settled in to the new job, Chris and I
had been invited by Dr. Bell to observe our first karate lesson at a dojo
in Kentish Town which I believe was at the Prince of Wales Baths. This
would also be our first meeting with Dr. Bell which, just like the telephone
conversation, proved to be quite daunting. Training in that karate class
were, Eddie Whitcher, Robert Williams, Mick
(Michael) Randall, Mick Peachey, Brian Harper and Roy Merrick.