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By Admin
10 March 2020 9:35 pm
Sensei Poynton presenting members with trophies at the Bill's Day competition, 2016.
Sensei Poynton presenting members with trophies at the Bill's Day competition, 2016.
It is with great sadness that we heard today of the passing of Sensei Bob Poynton (8th Dan).

Bob Sensei was a stalwart and ambassador of the Karate Union of Great Britain, who was truly committed to the organisation. As a competitor, Sensei was a member of the KUGB and all-styles national teams and was National Individual Kumite Champion in 1976. As a grading examiner and the KUGB’s National Administrator he worked tirelessly to train students and deal with their queries. When phoning the KUGB office it was so often Bob Sensei who would pick up the phone with his customary, “Hello, KUGB”.

Sensei Poynton has long been a regular visitor to Bristol and the South West, having been the main kyu grading examiner for three of our four instructors, going back to the 1970s.  He was held in high regard by all of the senior instructors in the area, conducting gradings regularly in both Clevedon for Sensei Bryan Evans and in Bath for Sensei Ron Hicks, where Backwell Karate members used to grade.

Sensei was also the instructor and friend of former Bristol SKC instructor, Sensei Bill Winfield. Sensei Bill passed away in 1994 and Sensei Poynton spoke at his funeral where he recalled a story of when he spoke to a receptionist to arrange a wake for Bill. When Sensei Poynton asked for a room with space for 100-150 people, the receptionist asked if he was “some kind of celebrity”. Sensei Poynton reflected on the fact that Bill Sensei had played such a vital role in developing Karate in the Bristol area and answered, “yes”. When we reflect on Sensei Poynton’s role as KUGB National Administrator, Affiliations Officer, the main KUGB co-ordinator in the latest English Karate unification talks and all the other roles that he played, we can easily draw the same conclusion when talking about him - Sensei Poynton was a celebrity. A renowned character of English Karate for decades.

Bob Sensei always encouraged people to train, whether they had a small niggle of an injury or there was anything else that might stop some people. Academy instructor Tim Griffiths recalls a Bristol Centre of Excellence session held one summer on the grass outside a school in Clevedon as the school staff had not turned up to unlock the training venue. 

His love of kihon drills, terminology and intricacy have been a hallmark of a Sensei Poynton class, as were the cultivation of indominable spirit. That spirit was essential when testing the quads during one of Sensei’s “keep holding your leg out in mae geri position” drills.

Sensei will be remembered for his dedication, warmth and wit. So regularly with a smile on his face, he always made time for a friendly chat, no matter how late he’d been working the night before or how many things he had on his mind. Sometimes short chats, often lengthy but always with an interesting or funny story or two.

Sincere condolences to Sensei’s family and close friends from all the instructors and members of Bristol Karate Academy. Sensei, you will be missed. The KUGB will certainly be much poorer without you.

O-kuyami mōshiagemasu.