Tora is the Japanese name for is also the nickname by which Keinosuke Enoeda of the Japan Karate Association was known during his fighting days in Japan. The J.K.A. is the organisation that represents the Shotokan style of Karate, the most widely practiced style in Japan and throughout Europe, which has produced a great many famous instructors.

Of this elite group, one man stands out for his tremendous fighting spirit - Enoeda `Tora' is renowned all over the world for his indomitable spirit and truly dynamic teaching style. A descendant of two famous samurai lines that date back to the Meiji period, Enoeda carries on the warrior tradition admirably.

He was born in Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan on July 4th 1935 and practiced martial arts from an early age. Whilst his brother and sister played games, he, at the age of seven, began Judo. Continuing his training through his high-school days he regularly entered Judo competitions and was once runner-up in the All Japan High School Championships. At the age of 17, shortly after he gained his second degree black belt, he watched a demonstration given by two members of the Takushoku University Karate Club in Tokyo. He was won over and the sport of Judo lost a good up and coming player.

Keinosuke Enoeda

Aside from any academic merits, Takushoku University was well known for its strong martial arts, particularly its tough Karate section and this was Enoeda's main reason for enrolling at the university.

After two years training he passed his first degree black belt examination, and then two years later, aged 21, he was made captain of the Karate club. It was during his university training that he received instruction from the great master, Funakoshi Gichin - the Okinawan who first introduced Karate to Japan.

After graduating in 1957 with a degree in commerce, Enoeda was invited to take the special instructors course at the J.K.A. headquarters. He accepted and for the next three years studied long and hard on a daily basis under Masatoshi Nakayama, the chief instructor of the J.K.A. and Hidetaka Nishiyama, a leading senior.

Always a keen competitor, Enoeda regularly entered the various tournaments and achieved several victories, including the East University Karate Championships. Then in 1961 he won third place in the kumite division of the J.K.A. All-Japan Championships and also finished high in the kata event. The following year he repeated his kata placing and moved another step up in the kumite by finishing second - losing to Hiroshi Shirai, a fellow J.K.A. instructor. Then in 1963, after another year's hard preparation, Enoeda turned the tables on Shirai in the kumite final and became the All-Japan Champion, again being placed as a kata Finalist.

In those days many credited Enoeda with possessing the strongest punch in all Japan, as a result of his tremendously powerful hip action and constant practise on the makiwara or striking board.

Up until his 1963 triumph, he had only taught locally at the Tokyo Art College and a military university but this was soon to change. Among the spectators at that year's championships was President Sukarno of Indonesia and so impressed was he with the strength and fighting prowess of the winner, that he made negotiations for Enoeda's services. Together with Master Nakayama, he spent four months in Indonesia teaching the President's personal bodyguards and at the Police and military establishments.

Following the J.K.A.'s expansionist policy of sending its best instructors out from Japan to spread Shotokan Karate, Master Enoeda began his worldwide travels that were to culminate in his settling in Great Britain as the Shotokan Chief Instructor. He has also spent considerable time in South Africa and the U.S.A. and regularly travels throughout Europe spreading the Karate gospel.

By developing a countless number of fine Karateka and many leading champions in the art, Master Enoeda has been instrumental in making Great Britain one of the strongest Karate nations in the world. He has also found time, over the years, to coach many celebrities for their 'fighting scenes' in films - Lee Marvin, Michael Caine, Sean Connery and Edward Fox - have all defeated their 'enemies' with his help, and leading actress, Ingrid Pitt has continued to train with him for many years now.

Of all the top Karate Sensei I have seen and trained under, Master Enoeda stands out. Of course he is one of the fittest, most powerful Karate technicians but he has another, less definable quality. His energy and charisma - almost an aura - are something special. He has that ability to bring out the best in a student. He forces you to perform better Karate - to kick and punch with more accuracy and power, to leap into the attack with gusto, to push yourself past previous self-imposed limits.

Standing before him in the class, his presence alone demands your very best, you just have to put more of your ¡¥inner-self' into the various movements - nothing less will suffice. I have trained under this great teacher for more than seventeen years now and he impresses and inspires me as much today as he did the first time I saw him. When I see his Karate, I think "Yes, that's how it should be done! I want that, I want to be able to move like that - to have that spirit". I and thousands of others continue to emulate his dynamic approach to the art of Karate. I know he is only flesh and blood and therefore his level must be attainable, then again there are many species of cat but only one Tiger!

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By Terry O'Neill 6th Dan JKA
From the Forward to Shotokan Advanced Kata - Volume 1 by Keinosuke Enoeda

Sensei K. Enoeda 9th Dan 1935-2003

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