Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word is formed from the Japanese words Kara (empty) and Te (hand), symbolising that its practitioners – Karateka – are unarmed, but use their hands and feet for blocking and striking. Training is conducted within an environment and code based on Japanese cultural practices, which are explained in more detail further on.
There are various styles of Karate and Shotokan is the most widely practiced style in the world. The originator of Shotokan was Gichin Funakoshi, an Okinawan school teacher, who first demonstrated his style of Karate in Japan in 1921. The following year he moved to Japan to teach and was elected honorary Head of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) when it was formed in 1949.
In 1965, the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) sent four of its most famous and talented Instructors, Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hiroshi Shirai to tour Europe and give demonstrations of Shotokan Karate. The British part of the tour was coordinated by the British Karate Federation, a group of 10-15 clubs which had existed since 1959.
In 1966, Sensei Kanazawa was invited to come to teach in Britain and the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) was founded from the British Karate Association (BKA) clubs as a democratic and non-profit making organisation for the development of Shotokan Karate, with Sensei Kanazawa as Chief Instructor.
In 1968, Sensei Kanazawa resigned to teach in Germany and Sensei Enoeda was appointed as KUGB Chief instructor and remained in this position until his death in 2003.
Sensei Enoeda was known throughout the world as the Shotokan Tiger and such was his renown, he appeared regularly in films becoming a friend and teacher to movie stars and members of royalty. He was a senior instructor in the JKA and the KUGB remained a member of this body until shortly after Sensei Enoeda’s death.
The number of KUGB clubs has now grown to over 300, making it Britain’s largest, longest-established and most successful single-style Karate Association and its current Chief Instructor, Andy Sherry, is acknowledged as Britain’s most senior Karate practitioner.
Sensei Enoeda photo courtesy of the KUGB.