There are some dojos around the world that are iconic in status, both for the standard and calibre of students produced there, and/or because of the figure leading the training. There are few dojos however that hold the same significance as the world renown Marshall St Dojo. This dojo was internationally renown for both the students that studied there, and because of the legend that was and is Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda 9th Dan, meaning karateka would also often travel from all over the world to get a glimpse of this extraordinary karate legend, and get a taste of the training he offered.
In September 2000, the dojo closed. This year however, on the 20th January, the dojo re-opens. Craig Raye 5th Dan KUGB, a close personal student of Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda, will re-open the dojo and continue the legacy both of the dojo and Sensei Enoeda within this iconic venue. Here is an interview conducted in December 2010 following the release of the news of the dojo’s opening.
Sincere thanks to both Craig Raye for kindly giving his time for the interview. Many thanks also go to Sensei Dave Hazard 7th Dan and Paul Herbert 5th Dan for providing testimonials.
Questions by THE SHOTOKAN WAY.
(Shaun Banfield) Hi Craig, thank you for agreeing to this exclusive interview at what must be an incredibly exciting time for you.
(Craig Raye) Yes it is an exciting time, and I am very aware of the history and iconic status of the original Marshall Street dojo, and in particular the association it had with sensei Enoeda and his legacy there.
(SB) This January you are launching the re-open of Marshall St Dojo. Can you please tell us what prompted this decision?
(CR) I learned of the redevelopment of the original Marshall Street building and leisure centre through my good friend, and long time training partner, John Quinn who has an office round the corner. He suggested to me that this was a great opportunity to bring back Shotokan to Marshall Street; and it was just too compelling to miss.
(SB) Can you please tell us a little about the history of Marshall St dojo, so our readers have a full idea of its iconic status in karate history?
(CR) Sensei Enoeda moved into the dojo in the early seventies, he built it up to be one of the most successful, professionally run dojos in the country. Marshall Street dojo, to sensei Enoeda, was the equivalent of the JKA honbu dojo in Japan, it was a full time karate club that was also his office, meeting place for business, and jka headquarters for Europe. It is where he developed strong karateka with a strong bond amongst his regular and loyal students. He wanted his club to be judged by its achievements, which in terms of the standard of training and karateka it produced was outstanding, until I joined in 1985 the club had not had a lot of success in tournaments.
This started changing in 1987 when the Marshall Street team began having great success, we won the Southern regions that year, which we went on to win another 11 times, we won the “inter regions” 5 times, and in 1993 we got seeded in the nationals. Then came the breakthrough we were striving for in 1997 when the Marshall Street team consisting of myself, Roy Cudjoe, Robert Richards, Lupcho Apcevski, Paul Steadman and Gary Stewart, won the nationals championships for the first time as Marshall Street. To sensei Enoeda this meant everything, and everything to the Marshall Street dojo and its history, the Japanese and the KUGB had always put a lot of emphasis on winning.
(SB) And what kinds of karateka would have come from there throughout its history?
(CR) There was always a large turnaround of students at Marshall Street, people came and went, we had multi millionaire’s, night club doormen, solicitors, a Policeman that looked after Margret Thacther, people from all walks of life; but all with the same intentions - to practice karate under sensei Enoeda.
I became friends with people from different countries and cultures through practice in the dojo, Marshall street always had a lot of overseas students, karate is classless, every one with a black belt on in the dojo is equal, until you work out a pecking order, sensei Enoeda always, if he liked you, treated you the same, whoever, wherever, you were from.
(SB) It has been said that the dojo had an atmosphere that was different to most typical dojos. Can you please give us your personal connection to the dojo and what it means to you?
(CR) The first seven years of my training was with sensei kawasoe who was a JKA instructor. So when I joined Marshall Street which again was a Japanese run dojo, the intense atmosphere and attitude to training seemed normal to me, in between this I had also been on the England junior squad which was run the same way. Many of the karateka who joined Marshall Street had maybe trained at dojos that didn’t have the same etiquette or discipline, which I was used to. I would like to run my own dojo along the traditions that I learned with Sensei’s Enoeda and Kawasoe.
(SB) You refer to the etiquette of such a dojo. How would you say this differs from other dojo – to give those who may want to visit you an insight into the atmosphere?
(CR) When I started at sensei kawasoes dojo, sensei Dave hazard was the most senior student training there, Dave created an atmosphere through his ability and attitude, I observed this and learnt from it, he had just come back from Japan, when the Japanese were at their best in my opinion, he kept everyone on their toes, this was similar to when I trained on the England junior squad and having frank brennan in the class, so to me this is the only type of etiquette I understand. It’s created by who’s training in the class and the attitude of the instructor. I realise allot of students have not had the opportunity to experience this on a regular basis, sensei enoedas, sherry’s, kawasoes dojos were very competitive due to their large numbers, reputations and quality of student.
(SB) Could you please share a few memorable or significant memories that you have of your time there?
(CR) Winning the Marshall Street individual kata and kumite club competitions 12 times meant a lot to me, the standard of the competitors in the dojo was very high, to get into the finals was a great achievement. The club competition helped create a “pecking order” in the dojo – which in my view played an important part in the “special” attitude and atmosphere that existed in Marshall Street. From my first final in 1985 against Roy Tomlins till the last one held in 1999 against Gary Stewart, I was in fourteen in all. Sensei Enoeda was always there at the head of the table, adding to the atmosphere, which was always intense and extremely competitive - during the competition there was no love loss between us!
Teaching squad sessions and evening classes was an honour and meant that sensei trusted my teaching ability at his dojo, getting private lessons from him for the team kata was also a great honour, experience, and memory.
(SB) You mention Sensei Kawasoe, who I know you have spent a great deal of time studying under. Can you please tell us a little about him as a man and as a karateka?
(CR) He’s a very humble man, down to earth, who has a love and passion for karate do, hes defiantly mellowed with age, like we all do, the last seven years I saw allot of similaiartys in him to sensei Enoeda when they played golf, very completive, wanting to win, and an attitude of never give up. Although that just might be a Japanese trait. Last year I went to Japan with him and 5 others students, he described me before going as one of his special students, not in terms of ability or closeness but in the fact that I trained with him years ago, of which he puts allot of emphasis on time, and knowing that I am a kugb student, an organisation he has allot of respect for, and allows me to train at his club. To which I thank him for, and with sensei sherry’s blessings.
I nicknamed him the karate doctor because he looks at you training and trys to fix your problems with your technique, you can pick up strange habits over the years that don’t get pointed out, hes great at mimicking what you are doing wrong and will spend 5 or ten minutes in the class with you trying to cure it. he’s open to any question you want to ask, as long as it’s not stupid, and will always give you an answer, he comes out with things that loose me as times as it’s very advanced what he teaches on occasions.hes told me he’s learnt allot off sensei nishiyama who he described to me as a very clever man.
(SB) What are the most important things he has given to your karate?
(CR) Just the belief in training hard, trying you’re hardest, being open minded, and most importantly the practice of basics. Which most senior instructors I have come across have the same opinion to these core fundamentals?
(SB) Coming back to Marshal St, this dojo will be a KUGB affiliated dojo. Is there some symbolic significance in this would you say?
(CR) When it closed in Sept 2000, it was a KUGB dojo, sensei Enoeda died as the Chief Instructor of the KUGB, the KUGB seniors are pioneers of shotokan karate in this country. I am very proud that I have been a member for 32years, and will remain so.
(SB) You are of course a close personal student of Enoeda Sensei. What are the primary features of his karate that you hope to ingrain in the new generation of students to emerge from this iconic dojo?
(CR) Nearly all the classes I did with him were very similar, whether it was Marshall street, the Crystal Palace courses, or squad sessions, he taught hard intense, uncomplicated, classes, at an incredible pace I believe in this type of class. Some instructors feel they have to do something impressive, or “flashy”, I am more along the lines of hard and intense. One hot evening sensei was teaching, his wife Reiko Enoeda, was down stairs, she said to me and another student Lupcho lapcevski – “please go in and enjoy yourselves”, me and Lupcho looked at each other as if to say “are you serious?”, his classes were so hard you just enjoyed getting to the end of them and surviving the session, I miss those feelings very much.
(SB) What are your future goals and objectives in opening and re-launching the dojo?
(CR) I firstly I want to point out that in no way do I think, or want to project the view that this is the start of a new era of what we had before at Marshall Street. It’s just nice to be in the same building with a new beautiful sprung floor with use of the steam room and swimming pool, and the memory’s I have of going there for the nineteen years I trained and taught there. My goals are to have a good bunch of students that train there with a good attitude, and I can teach karate that I believe in. I have seen in the last seven years so many students who are frightened to train at other clubs in fear of what there instructors might do if they discovered that they were training with an “outside” organisation, I will welcome all students with the right attitude.
(SB) So the dojo will have an ‘Open Door’ policy if you like? Is this an important feature in terms of the ethos of the dojo?
(CR) If students want to train with any instructor why shouldn’t they, people who try and stop you generally have a biased opinion for preventing students to train along one another, When we all started training for the first time, we didn’t say to ourselves I want to do Shotokan or wado ryu, or k.u.g.b, jka karate, we went along with no preconceived ideas. So yes the dojo will have an open door policy and I think that’s important.
(SB) What are the details of the dojo, i.e. Days and times of training so readers in the UK may get in touch to attend sessions?
(CR) At this point in time it’s starting off from the 20th January 2011 every Thursday 7.45 to 9.15, with the option to expand at a further point in time; I can be contacted on my email which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
(SB) Technically speaking, how would you describe your approach to karate? Naturally it will have the intensity and dynamism so synonymous with Enoeda Sensei, but from a technical perspective, how would you describe your karate
(CR) I believe in practicality, as well as teaching at many clubs I taught at Kingston university for 9 years, it’s a great learning curb, the first class I did there I had around 65 students in the class, 50 begginers,15 coloured belts, I learnt very quickly that you don’t just do basic’s only and treat students like babys,they pick up things very quickly, if I just taught basics in their formative weeks ,they wouldn’t turn up, of course you have to judge it by whose in the class, but generally I could have beginners blocking and countering within in their second or third class, and they would love it, and no one ever got injured. From a technical perspective, I am ok for my size and physique I realise I am not as aesthetically looking as some, I pride myself that I was in sensei enoedas, kawasoes kata teams for many years with great success .I would describe my karate as realistic. By the way I have had some of my fights and kata from Marshall Street, nationals put on YouTube it’s called Craig Raye clips, so you can judged for yourself.
(SB) Are there any points that you would like to discuss that I have neglected to ask you about?
(CR) No I think we have covered everything and thanks for the interest, and interesting questions.
(SB) Can I please thank you for giving us an insight into the reopening of the dojo and wish you the very best of luck with the dojo and I hope it’s a huge success for the future!
Dave Hazard 7th dan
Chief Instructor of the Academy of Shotokan Karate
‘I am delighted to hear that the Marshall Street Dojo is to open again.
Even more so knowing it is affiliated to the KUGB the association to which Enoeda Sensei worked so hard to develop and was so proud of.
But most of all the news that it is to be run by Craig Raye, one of Sensei's most loyal and gifted students. I am sure the Dojo will be a great success and I can hear Sensei's booming voice laughing in the back of my mind as Craig puts the students through their paces.’
Paul Herbert 5th dan