A few weeks ago, I had the chance to have a look into one of the books of Michael Ehrenreich. He argues in his book that the Karateka of the 50´s and 60´s were not the best technicians. However, their fighting power and spirit were much more advanced than today.
Rigorous Training as the Foundation for Fighting Spirit
The reason for this difference was the training regime. Makiwara training, self-defense and randori as well as a rigorous Kihon were the foundations of very tough fighters. The attitude towards fighting was also different. Ikken hissatsu, “killing with one blow”, was the dominant fighting strategy and philosophy. Practicing Shotokan Karate was a serious business and its purpose was to prevail in a street fight and to withstand several attackers at the same time. This rough training routine create very consequent and focused Karate personalities.
Happo Kumite with Shihan Enoeda
The following Kata and Happo Kumite demonstration by Shihan Keinosuke Enoeda shows this sort of mental focus and attitude towards fighting. His movements are powerful, consequent, and overwhelming. He does not play games. He fights for his life. That is how Shotokan should be taught!
Budo as the State of Mind for Shotokan Karate
Old masters stressed the budo aspect of Karate way more than today. In a recent interview, Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa also underlined the necessity to understand Shotokan as a “martial way”. Only such an approach leads to the positive and civilizing effects training can have. The mental state of Karateka and the way they deal with the constant changing circumstances of life stand for him in the center of Shotokan. Shihan Enoeda depicts this type of Karateka in an excellent way.
Full Biography of Keinosuke Enoeda
For a full biography of Shihan Enoeda visit the website of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB). Shihan Enoeda was the chief instructor of the KUGB and had a sustainable influenced on British and European Shotokan Karate. He was among the direct students of grand master Funakoshi and helped spread Shotokan Karate Do all over the world.
Dr. Christian Tribowski