Craig Raye

In Karate, you start with nothing, you’re not given anything. It’s just you alone and what you get out of it is personal, the training is hard but what you achieve is done by you alone.

Craig Raye

A highly-respected practitioner, Craig Raye has been involved in Shotokan Karate for over 45 years. A big man, who is proficient in both kata and kumite, he is known for having superb technique and for being extremely fast for a big man.

Craig Raye was born on 24 September 1961 in Kensington, London. Growing up he attended Holland Park School.

Raye was very athletic. In 1976 he joined a boxing club. He had previously practised gymnastics. He was also a keen cricketer. In 1978 he was offered a trial at the Glamorgan County Cricket Club.

In August 1978, Raye began learning Shotokan Karate at the Budokwai Dojo, located in Hammersmith, London. He trained under instructors, Herbert Noel, Paul Louis, Alan Wallace, and Ceaser Andrews. The Budokwai was the oldest martial arts dojo in England.

The emphasis of the training at the Budokwai Dojo was mainly on kumite rather than kata. Guest instructors like Vic Charles, Tyrone White, Andy Sherry, and Bob Poynton were invited to teach at the dojo.

Looking to expand his Karate, Raye also began training at the Earls Court dojo of Masao Kawasoe. Dave Hazard also trained at the dojo. One of Raye’s first classes at the dojo was taught by Hazard.

Training at the Earls Court dojo was very technical. A graduate of Takushoku University, Kawasoe was a strict and demanding instructor.

Raye trained at both the Budokwai and Earls Court dojos. He also had the opportunity to travel to Japan with Kawasoe and Steve Cattle. He trained at JKA dojos in Kyoto and Gifu.

In 1981 Raye was promoted to 1st Dan. That year he began actively competing and was selected to be a part of the England KUGB Junior Squad.

As a member of the KUGB squad, Raye made frequent visits to Liverpool for KUGB squad training sessions. He trained alongside the likes of Frank Brennan, Ronnie Christopher, Elwyn Hall, and Richard Amos, to name a few.

Raye also had the opportunity to train with Vic Charles and Geoff Thompson in 1981, for the London Youth Games. The Karate team was comprised of members from different styles of Karate. Raye’s team finished in fourth place.

In 1985 Raye began training at Keinosuke Enoeda’s Marshall Street dojo, which had been established in 1973. The dojo was known for its etiquette and excellent students. He trained three days a week at the dojo, with the likes of Ray Fuller, Pauline Bindra, Dave Hazzard, and Elwyn Hall. He went onto represent the dojo in 14 team kumite and kata KUGB finals.

In 1988 Raye represented the Marshall Street Dojo at the KUGB Southern Region Championships. Squad training sessions were very tough. Over the years the dojo won twelve titles.

Raye was promoted to 4th Dan by Enoeda in 1990.

In 1997 Raye, alongside Ray Cudjoe, Robert Richards, Lupcho Apyepski, Paul Steadman, and Gary Stewart, represented the Marshall Street Dojo at the KUGB National Championships. They became the KUGB National Team Champions.

After many years, the original Marshall Street Dojo closed on 29 September 2000, after 30 years. It had seen many great karateka come through its doors. This included the likes of Stan Schmidt. Training continued at the Oasis Sports Centre in Holborn and the Budokwai.

Raye retired from actively competing in 2001.

On 29 March 2003, the Shotokan Tiger, Keinosuke Enoeda, died on a visit to Japan. His death left a hole in a heart of his students, especially Raye who had become very close to him, as the assistant instructor at the Marshall Street Dojo.

Twenty-eight days after Enoeda’s death, the KUGB National Championships were held at the Birmingham National Indoor Arena. Raye was the Team Coach of the Marshall Street Dojo. The team became the KUGB National Team Champions, in what was a fitting tribute to Enoeda.

Following Enoeda’s death, Raye remained with the KUGB. However, he resumed training with Kawasoe, until 2014.

In 2005, the “Craig Raye’s Kumite Sparring Tips” DVD was produced.

In 2011 Raye reopened the Marshall Street dojo in honour of Keinosuke Enoeda. He became the Chief Instructor of the dojo.

In 2020 the global COVID-19 pandemic affected much of the world. In March of that year, the Marshall Street dojo had to close due to the lockdown restrictions imposed by the British government. The dojo reopened on 24th September after a six-month hiatus.

Raye turned 60 in 2021. 2021 also marked the 10th Anniversary of the reopening of the Marshall Street Dojo. A celebration was held for him and the dojo, which reunited members of the original and new dojo.

On 22 February 2022, Raye and the Marshall Street dojo joined the JKA WF (Japan Karate Association World Federation), under Masao Kawasoe.

Currently holding the rank of 6th Dan, Craig Raye continues the legacy of Keinosuke Enoeda at the Marshall Street Dojo.

Raye worked for over ten years as a nightclub doorman. He also worked as a security consultant for the News of the World and the Daily Mirror newspapers.

Away from Karate Raye plays golf. He began playing golf regularly with Enoeda in 1998.

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