A Trip Down Brighton's Memory Lanes
I was inspired recently when I started reading a book written by a Karateka who has deserved the status “legend” over his many years of training. Renowned as a hard man both in the dojo and outside of it, Sensei Dave Hazard is from the old school Shotokan that he and I were both lucky enough to be a part of back in the nineteen seventies. In one chapter Sensei Hazard recalled the first time that he ever did Kumite with my first ever Shotokan Instructor, Sensei Mick Dewey, who when I first met him was a KUGB second Dan.
Sensei Mick and his fellow instructor Sensei Phil Elliott, second Dan, were back then two really sharp, aggressive, and skilled exponents of the art of KUGB Shotokan, as inspired back in the day by the Master himself Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda. I will never forget going to the dojo in Brighton for the first time and watching the guys in the club. The intensity and concentration demonstrated by the students was palpable and I could not wait to join. And what I find really inspiring is that today all these decades on, the respect and reverence that still exists for these legends of Shotokan is as strong as ever.
My own Sensei for over 30 years, Shihan Cyril Cummins, held Sensei Enoeda in the highest regard. Je followed him all over the country and never once missed the infamous Sensei Enoeda Summer Courses, held at Crystal Palace which on occasions I also attended with Sensei Cummins. Just how Sensei Enoeda was able to inspire so many has always intrigued me, but he did just that; he inspired tens of thousands of students around the world but we were lucky that he was based here in the UK, which is why we were lucky to have so many gifted and skilled Karateka.
And a precious few from the many like Sensei Hazard, Dewey, and Cummins have in turn inspired many more thousands over their long and illustrious careers, and I remain as grateful to Sensei Mick Dewey as the first day, when as a young 17-year-old who had to lie about his age (like Sensei Hazard back in the day), so I could join the Brighton Shotokan Karate dojo as, I do to this day.
And this is the thing: you never know who will inspire you and maybe one day you might inspire people as well.
Sensei Austin Birks, 5th Dan