Bob Poynton

Bob Poynton has been involved in the upper echelons of British Karate as a top competitor, a respected instructor, and one of the top administrators in British Karate. Alongside the likes of Andy Sherry and Terry O’Neill, he was a pioneer of Shotokan Karate in the Liverpool area. A long time member of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) he has always been passionate about Karate.

Poynton was born on 30 July 1949 In Walton, Liverpool. He was educated at the De La Salle Grammar school. On leaving school he worked for the HMRC Customs and Excise as a civil servant.

In 1965 aged 15 years, Poynton started learning Shotokan Karate at the Liverpool Red Triangle Karate Club. The minimum age for joining the club was 16, so he lied about his age. The day he joined Hirokazu Kanazawa was teaching at the club. This was Kanazawa’s first visit to the Liverpool dojo. Poynton had started learning Karate because of the character Oddjob who appeared in the James Bond film “Goldfinger”. He received a lot of help from Andy Sherry. He also looked up to fellow student Terry O’Neill.

By 1965 Keinosuke Enoeda began teaching at the Liverpool dojo. Initially, the club lost members due to his militaristic approach to training. However, his discipline would make Liverpool dojo one of the strongest Karate clubs in the UK.

For the next couple of years, Poynton diligently trained under Enoeda and Sherry. In 1968 he was awarded his 1st Dan from Enoeda. That same year he left his job working at the HMRC Customs and Excise to become a full-time assistant and instructor to Andy Sherry. His mother had wanted him to become a Roman Catholic priest.

Poynton was known for his very good kicking techniques. His prowess soon earned him his first selection to the KUGB National squad, to compete at the IAKF European Championships in Austria. He was so excited by his call up that he forgot to pack his gi and had to borrow one.

From 1968 to 1985 Poynton represented both England and Great Britain. He was called up to various KUGB and All-Styles squads.

Poynton’s competitive career was often plagued by injury. At the 1974 European Championships held at Crystal Palace, he broke his shinbone on a German opponent’s arm while throwing around a roundhouse kick (mawashigeri). The following year he broke his shinbone while competing at the KUGB National Championships. This setback encouraged him to concentrate on developing his hand techniques, making him a more well-rounded fighter.

Poynton, as a member of the Liverpool Red Triangle Club, won numerous KUGB team kumite titles. He won his first individual KUGB title in 1976, beating Dave Hazard in the National Individual Kumite final. In the same year, he became Shotokan Black Belt Grand Champion. He repeated the feat in 1977 and 1978.

On retiring from competitive Karate, Poynton involved himself in the administrative side of Karate. In 1974, during his injury layoff, he began taking a more active role in the administration of the KUGB. That same year he was appointed the Affiliations Officer of the KUGB. In 1999 he was appointed KUGB Administrator and Finance Officer. In 2002 he became the KUGB’s National Administrator. He eventually became the General Secretary of Karate England, a governing body for all Karate styles in England.

Poynton qualified as an international referee. He has officiated in events held by the European Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA) and World Shotokan Karate Association (WSKA). He was also involved in the development of ESKA and WSKA competition rules and procedures. He is a member of the ESKA’s list of qualified referees. He is also a Director of Administration for the WSKA. In 2013 he helped bring the WSKA World Championships to his home city of Liverpool.

Poynton’s 2nd to 6th Dan grades were all awarded to him by Keinosuke Enoeda. In 2004, at the KUGB’s 38th National Championships held at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena, he was awarded his 7th Dan, alongside Terry O’Neill and Charles Naylor. They were presented their grade by Andy Sherry.

At the 47th KUGB National Championships Poynton and O’Neill were both awarded their 8th Dan. They received their certificates from Andy Sherry.

Poynton has been a stalwart of the KUGB. Starting as a student, then competitor, he has transitioned to an instructor and administrator. Alongside Andy Sherry, Terry O’Neill, Bob Rhodes, Billy Higgins and Frank Brennan he is a member of the KUGB’s Technical Committee. He continues to be an active member of the KUGB, running several clubs and organising gradings and various events. He continues to be an active member of English, European and World Karate through ESKA and WSKA. He remains passionate about wanting to see the growth of Karate around the world. He also wants to see proper governance for the art he loves.

Bob Poynton sadly died on 11 March 2020. He was survived by his sister Doreen and brother Jim.

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    • Deborah Robertson on July 6, 2019 at 11:22 am
    • Reply

    Why is there no link or write up for Sensei Bob Rhodes?

    1. Hello Deborah.

      I am am aware of Sensei Rhodes. He is on my list, I am currently in the process of doing research on him.

    2. Hello Deborah.

      As promised, I have now written a profile on Bob Rhodes:

    • Anonymous on April 21, 2020 at 5:05 pm
    • Reply

    Hello a sad loss to Karate and a friend of my father Sensi Ray VOUT who heard of his passing yesterday, our condolence to the family

    • Harry moore on April 29, 2020 at 10:42 am
    • Reply

    Respect Bob Rip, thoughts with Jim. Harry Moore.

    • Paul Kerrey on September 8, 2022 at 5:45 am
    • Reply

    Hi Anthony, Don’t know if you remember me ‘Paul Kerrey’ I was a 3rd Dan at Gosport , emigrated to Vancouver Canada 30 years ago,I have visited your Mum & Dad often when I return to the UK, kinda lost touch as they don’t seem to be comfortable with e-mail and computers. How are they doing?

      • ANTONY VOUT on September 8, 2022 at 11:46 am
      • Reply

      Hi Paul ,of course I remember you and my parents often talk about you fondly and of those days in the clubs ,I thought they were still in contact with you ,dad has a new computer and can pick up emails ok ,send him one and let me know how it goes ,also send me your email address if you can and I will pass it to then,hes still fighting but its the ageing process more these days ,mum is also still going ,but a lot slower

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2023 at 1:18 am
    • Reply

    Hi Anthony, How are your Mum and Dad doing ? I am still plodding along at 70 years old this June ‘ Bloody Hell’ I haven’t heard anything from Ray so I am interested in how everything is with them. My email is
    Hope all is well with you.


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