Kawazoe Sensei - JKA HQ 2011
With Kawazoe Sensei at JKA Sohonbu Dojo - October 2011
I had heard that Kawazoe Masao Sensei was "back with JKA" which sounds ridiculous - as if he'd been on some kind of forced absence or retirement or worse - as if he'd actually stopped training..!
Well, any 'lifer' can spot another and I knew nearly 4 decades ago that this man with the gift of near flawless Karate, would be punching and kicking all of his life. How could he not..?
I worked out that when he first came to our Dojo in Scotland, he would have been just 28 years old. Most of those 28 years were spent amongst a generation of peers and mentors that are now considered the vanguard of modern Japanese Karate.
Leave..? I don't think so.
Fast forward to the Nihon Karate Kyokai Sohonbu joint Autumn International Training Camp in Tokyo Japan October 2011. (BTW, I have lived and trained in Australia for 30 years while Sensei continued to live and train in the UK). I join the senior (by rank) class for the first of 7 sessions over 3 days and, in a Dojo filled with more big names than I care to recount, I spot Kawazoe Sensei quietly preparing for Keiko like everyone else.
After the first class, in which I noticed he was extemely relaxed but powering through better than anyone, I made my way toward him and re-introduced myself in Japanese. He thought for a minute before declaring that he remembered me..!
Over the weekend in the various classes I partnered Sensei a lot, especially in Kumite drills - and there were no allowances made for 'old times sake'. He was in magnificent shape and moving like the wind - Fresh as a Daisy at 66 years of age.
Of all my trips to Japan this one is a stand out. To catch up with Kawazoe Sensei after all this time and to partner him at training - SUGOI DESU NE.