The Legacy Of Shotokan: RIP Sensei Bob Poynton A Good Man
I was quite simply lost for words this week when I read a post on Facebook that Sensei Bob Poynton had died suddenly. I was surprised at just how sad that I was because even though I had known Sensei Bob since I was 19 years old, and had known him up to a point over my life, I was not close to him. But, I always really liked the man, he was a great Karate Sensei, and a very skilled competitor who won many prestigious awards back in the day. When I first met him, he was at the height of his competitive prowess, he was also the Sensei who did the gradings at my University dojo in Manchester. He was an excellent teacher, but he never compromised on the standard expected as taught to him by the KUGB and of course the Red Triangle in Liverpool.
One of the things that I always liked about him, was that whenever the gradings ended, he would always come back with us to the bar, and be very open, engaging, and funny. He had that Scouse wit, that I have always enjoyed. Some few years after I left university, my dear friend Mike Woods and I opened a KUGB dojo in Worcester as we had both settled there after we graduated. Bob was always supportive and very helpful with all the administration that was required. Always patient, easy-going but thorough, he always made sure the boxes were ticked, and I recall, every year a KUGB Christmas card would arrive, personally signed by Bob with a personal message.
Funny thing is that some time after I had left the KUGB, I always kept those Christmas cards, still have them somewhere. The other thing that I always did was to buy my Karate suits from Kamae, the superb merchandising company, that Bob ran. Last time I checked, I still have 11 suits. The very last one that I brought was at Christmas 2018. I was about to open my own dojo, Enso Shotokan and wanted a new gi, with my own logo. Bob went the extra mile and ensured all arrived in good time. He was also really good to my Sensei Cyril Cummins, one of the longer-serving members and one of the seniors of the KUGB for some years. After Cyril suffered major heart problems, Bob was the one man who came to see him in hospital, as he did after Sensei Cummings suffered a major stroke, even though he had moved on from the KUGB. And indeed, when Sensei Cummings got cancer, it was Bob yet again who got in touch. He remained good friends with both Sensei Cummins and his wife, my dear friend Dorien Cummins.
So, like many others, I mourn his passing. He was a great advocate for both Shotokan Karate and the KUGB who he represented so superbly for many years, from its very founding to the last day of his life he was the embodiment of the union, and all it represented. I am proud to have known him, and I devoted the lesson on Tuesday in his memory, and many who trained with me were also known to him, and admired and liked the man, as much as I did. So RIP Sensei Bob Poynton, he will not be forgotten, and fondly remembered.