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Page 4

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

N. Adamou 3rd Dan , Dojo, Harrow Leisure Center, 1977. Performing; Juji-uke, from the kata, Heian Yondan.

Steve Austin
Were you given any suggestions or guidelines on protocol regarding these four sensei due to them being Japanese and also, because they were such famous karate instructors?

Nick Adamou
Yes, Dr. Bell explained how we should conduct ourselves in their presence along with many other facts and details regarding them. I remember him telling us that all high grade karate-ka always have a good complexion due to their overall health, fitness and good physical condition which is a direct result of their rigorous training. He also said that Japanese instructors always remember each and every student who trains under them and I found all of this very interesting.

S.A.
Did Dr. Bell prepare any kind of a campaign to promote the planned demonstrations leading up to the arrival of these JKA instructors?

N.A.
Yes he did, he handed out white, A4 leaflets and yellow, A2 posters which announced their arrival and the time and venue of the demonstrations. We were all given several of these to put up in shop windows and wherever else possible.

S.A.
So Nick, the scene was set and you had about another three months before the arrival of these four, very famous Japanese sensei. You must have been incredibly excited. What were your thoughts and feelings over those months leading up to their arrival?

N.A.
Well, I had only been practicing karate since the middle of December 1964, about two months in all, and of course loved every minute of it. My instructors, who I held in the highest regard and with absolute respect, were brown belts. To be told that, in just a few month's time I would be training under black belts, who were Japanese and who were four of the Japan Karate Association's very best instructors was thrilling and a bit terrifying all at the same time although, I was very excited of course.

S.A.
Can you describe the moment you first laid eyes on these four, very special Japanese sensei?

N.A.
Well, I was an eighteen year old, ungraded white belt, with a Karate Gi that was made for me by my next door neighbour, having discarded my judo Gi a few weeks earlier. It was a Friday evening, around the 17th or 18th of April 1965. I had taken the usual, one and a quarter hour journey by underground from Chancery Lane to Kentish Town in order to train at my usual Friday night dojo, which was at the Lyndurst Hall in Weldon Road. I really had no idea what a momentous occasion this was to be in terms of karate history or that I was to be amongst the very first UK karate students to train in the first lesson ever to be given in the United Kingdom by the best, Japanese sensei (instructors) from the Japan Karate Association (JKA). It goes without saying that I felt extremely privileged and excited to have the chance to train under these very special karate instructors.

S.A.
Were the four sensei at the dojo when you arrived?

N.A.
No, they hadn't arrived when I got there. The lesson began as usual and was taken by Jimmy Neal and Terry Wyngrove I think. Then, at about twenty minutes into the class, the doors to the right that we were all facing opened and one by one, the four Japanese sensei made their entrance, bowing and walking forward until they were all lined up in front of us. They glowed in their white karate Gi's and black belts. I have to admit that I'd never seen human beings look or 'feel' quite like this before as they simply stood there, hands down to their sides, heels together with toes pointing outward. There was a strength and power, a severity and kindness about them all in one go. Very impressive and quite strange.

S.A.
What happened after they lined up?

N.A.
Dr. Bell began by introducing each of them, starting with Kase sensei who was the most senior. Each sensei briskly took a small step forward and bowed as his name was called out. Then, Dr. Bell gave a short talk about that particular sensei. Once the introductions were over, Dr. Bell asked them what they wished to do. They decided that it would be a good idea to let Terry Wyngrove and Jimmy Neal continue with the class, whilst they walked in and around us in order to watch the way in which we performed karate techniques. This went on for about fifteen minutes after which time they asked us all to sit down, in order for them to demonstrate how the techniques should be performed correctly.

Page 4

 

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Copyright 2012 N.B. Adamou