On the warmest day of the year so far, a large number of CFTS students of varying ages and grades met up at our usual course dojo in Kempston for a much-anticipated seminar to be taken by Shihan Paul Herbert who is a Shotokan 6th Dan. His dojo is known as Kiryoku which is the collective name of his group. He has instructed Traditional Shotokan Karate, Sport Karate and Personal Protection since 1996. Shihan runs a traditional dojo teaching the principles of Japanese Karate along with a contemporary and progressive approach incorporating reality based self defence and modern competition training. All this is very similar in ethos, psychology and philosophy to that of CFTS.
Paul Herbert Sensei was a student of the late Keinosuke Enoeda (4 July 1935 – 29 March 2003) who was an 8th Dan Japanese master of Shotokan karate and Chief Instructor of the Karate Union of Great Britain. Enoeda Sensei was an exceptionally gifted karate-ka respected all over the world for both his prowess as a karate-ka and as a very capable and knowledgeable instructor.
Paul brought fellow karate-ka Sensei Mark Raven (3rd Dan) to assist him. Also in attendance was Sensei Maureen Day (3rd Dan) who only the previous weekend took the gold medal in ladies senior individual Kumite and a silver medal in Ladies Kata at the 25th SKDUN World Shotokan Karate Championships in Eger, Hungary. Sensei Day gave us an excellent performance of Sochin, proving why she had done so well at the championships. Faye Manning (1st Dan) also came along for the afternoon, having become runner up gaining a silver medal in the women's kumite at the same championships in Hungary the previous weekend. Many congratulations to them both.
The afternoon began, rather than finished, with our now traditional group photograph which was taken outdoors taking advantage of the excellent weather. Once back inside, we were warmed up by Sensei Mark Raven who handed over to Sensei Herbert for the remainder of the afternoon’s tuition.
We began with very simple basic punches and blocks, first stationary, then moving up and down, being shown how to generate more power and speed. This then lead in to a training drill performed as a mini kata generating powerful twists and turns. We completed this part of the course in lines of four, close together, watching we didn’t trip or collide with one another whilst performing the drill. The principles taught here could, if practiced correctly, be utilised to enable much stronger and dynamic kata. All students of all grades and ages enjoyed this section of the course which sadly was over too soon but as they were sweating and in need of refreshment were pleased when Sensei called for a break.
After a short break taking on liquids, sensei took us through some Gyakuzuki training paying particular attention to pointing the rear foot forwards and 'loading' the rear leg for speed and power. Judging by the merriment from all participants, the training was being enjoyed by everyone there. We then paired up for some light sparring using Gyakuzuki combinations following up with Kizamizuki. The combination ended up with a take-down. On many occasions Sensei’s assistant Mark Raven received a Gyakuzuki to the throat (Not to be recommended in competition) only then to be thrown to the floor. We have it on good authority, though, that he received no lasting injuries. It was just part of a good afternoon’s spirited training and demonstration of excellent spirit and control on both parts.
Before all the students had truly had enough, the clock defeated us and it was time to finish. Shihan Herbert thanked everyone for their attendance and diligent participation. In turn, Renshi then thanked Shihan for being our Sensei for the afternoon and for his capable assistants for their help in making the afternoon so memorable. All the students were then handed a certificate of participation by Shihan and his fellow instructors.
After the course as most were departing and saying their own farewells and thank you, Sensei Andy Gillies (CFTS) asked if Sensei Herbert had any anecdotes from training with Enoeda Sensei. The following was his reply;
“I have many stories from over the years and some are very personal, but one that always makes me smile goes back to my first trip to Japan in 2000. After an evening class at the JKA honbu, I was approached by an older Japanese karate-ka who asked me in broken English who my Sensei was and where I was from. When I told him that I was from England and that I was a student of Enoeda Sensei he let out a booming laugh, slapped my back and immediately proceeded to remove what seemed like all of his front teeth. `Awww Enoeda Sensei – we were young men, very, very good punch!!!’. When I returned to London, I relayed the story back to Sensei one evening in the ‘Old Coffee House’ pub, and after numerous feeble denials he reacted with a wry smile and finally proclaimed ‘Hai, maybe true. Many, many people block with face when I was younger man...'
Many thanks to Shihan Herbert and his students and fellow karate-ka for visiting our dojo and for taking us. We are already eagerly anticipating your return, which we know you have already agreed to.