Sensei Brian Middleton, RIP

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Sensei Brian Middleton on Thursday 12 January 2023. Brian founded Bath Shotokan Karate Club in 1969. He ran it for over 25 years before passing the torch on to Kieran Shore. He was an influential instructor – some say ‘a force of nature!’ With Brian’s instruction and guidance, at least 150 – 200 members of the club achieved their First Dan grades.

We will post a more complete account of his legacy in due course here and on our Facebook page. In the meantime, the ‘older’ members of Bath Karate Club send their condolences to Brian’s daughters and to Helen, his soul mate.

Bath Shotokan Karate’s new home

Bath Shotokan Karate has a new regular home for training. We now train at Hayesfield Girls’ School & Mixed Sixth Form, on Mondays and Thursdays at 7.30 pm. All members and newcomers (beginners or from other styles) are welcome to come and train. More details are given on our Training page.

This website is currently being updated, and in the meantime, up to date information on the club’s activities can be found on our Facebook page.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Training during the Covid-19 lockdown

We hope that all club members and their families are staying safe and well during these unprecedented times. The club instructors have created a videoconferencing account with Zoom that we are going to try to use for us to meet and train so we can keep our club community in touch, and for all of us to try to keep training during the lockdown.

Any club members who wish to participate, please send your name and email address to the club email account [bathkarate(at)gmail.com] so we can send you an invitation to join us online. Further details will be posted here, and on our Facebook account in due course.


Coronavirus – training suspended

Due to the latest government advice regarding the Covid-19 epidemic we are suspending training sessions for the time being. Hopefully we can get back to training in due course but in the meantime, keep stretching, practicing those katas and washing your hands!

We’ll update both this site and our Facebook page as we have something to say. Please keep an eye out for club members, friends and neighbours through this difficult and uncertain time.

Sensei Bob Poynton, 8th Dan 1949-2020

Bob Poynton

Bath Shotokan Karate Club is devastated to hear that Sensei Bob Poynton passed away on 10th March 2020. This is such sad news, our loss is almost impossible to put into words.

Sensei Bob Poynton was a great supporter of the Bath club, during a relationship that lasted over 50 years. As the National Administrator he frequently pointed old and new karateka in the region towards the Bath club to continue their training. Bob Poynton was our club’s examiner from the moment he became a KUGB instructor: Bath was the first club at which he held a grading. Most of us in the club took our Kyu, and Dan, gradings with him, and his support and encouragement have helped us all to progress. Sometimes Bob’s words of wisdom were literally in your face, whispered into our ears whilst we were trying to balance on one leg and concentrate on Sensei Sherry during a Special Dan Course!

Outside of the dojo Bob was a friendly and sociable instructor and would readily spend time with us, whether a 10th Kyu, a 5th Dan or a member of the wider Bath family. He had an incredible ability to lift peoples’ mood and spirits and his dry sense of humour will remain with us. We all have our own memories of Bob’s support and kindness, but one that stands out to me is as follows. I had the honour to train with Bob at his home club, the Red Triangle in Liverpool. Bob knew I was visiting and after training suggested that a few of us went out for a meal. When the bill came and I went to pay my share, Bob stopped me and said firmly, “you are my guest, you are not paying!”

Bob was very proud of his relationship with the Bath club and below are two photos that illustrate this: Bob attending our club Christmas meal  in 2012 and awarding Mark his Student of the Year award, and more recently, his delight at awarding Ron his 6th Dan.

Bob’s passing is a great loss to our club and the wider KUGB family – karate has lost one of its strongest ambassadors. Our condolences go out to Bob’s family and the KUGB.




Final Kyu Grading of 2019

The last kyu grading of 2019 will be held on Thursday 19th December with Sensei Bob Poynton, 8th Dan. Sensei Poynton will take an all grades training session first, starting at 7pm; the grading will then follow afterwards. The training and grading will be held in the Dance Studio at Oldfield School, Bath BA1 9AB. More details and costs are on our Events page. Please check with Ron or Kieran if you are planning to grade and make sure that your licenses are valid and in date!

Special Dan Course Training in Bath


Yesterday senior members of the Bath club took part in one of the KUGB’s biannual special dan courses, reserved for black belts only, and on our doorstep at the University of Bath Sports Training Village. The course instructors were the KUGB’s Chief Instructor, Sensei Andy Sherry, assisted by Senseis Bob Poynton and Frank Brennan. The two hour course focused on all aspects of the dan grade syllabus, in particular basics and compulsory grading katas. The session ended with pair work and kumite, the intensity of which can be seen in the hot but happy kareteka above. Thank you Senseis!

Grading Successes


Today, the KUGB Black and Brown Belt Course was held in Bath with our Chief Instructor Sensei Andy Sherry, 9th Dan and Sensei Bob Poynton, 8th Dan. Both instructors took training sessions with firstly, the brown belts, followed by the black belts, and for those taking gradings in the afternoon, focusing on aspects of the grading syllabus.

The Bath Club is pleased to report that we have three new black belts! Pictured above, from left to right are Adam Mutlow, Dave Thatcher and Adam McCarten. This success is testament to their hard work and dedication in preparing for the grading over the last few months.

We are also pleased to report that both Catherine Bridgman and Hailey Southgate took their gradings too, and both did very well only having to complete their kumite to earn their 1st Dans.

Well done to all of you from the Bath instructors.




Thank you JJ and Holly

20190706 - JJ and Holly

Bath Karate club were very pleased to host Senseis JJ Bruce and Holly Bruce as guest instructors today. The class was split into two with black belts and brown belts having their own Sensei Bruce instructing. The theme of the session was emphasis on developing maximum power by using the entire body. For example, not just punching with an arm alone, but driving the strike from the legs, through the hips, the upper body and finally to deliver the punch. The session also included kata development, with the brown belts focusing on Bassai Dai, and the black belts practicing Tekki Shodan and Jiin. The session was enjoyed by all those who attended, who also appreciated both Sensei Bruces’ karate ability, and their friendly and supportive instruction.

Upcoming Events

Although the website has been quiet recently, karate training hasn’t stopped! There are a number of events in the next few weeks that members should be aware of.

  • Sunday, 23rd June, Training and Kyu grading with Sensei Bob Poynton, SBL Oldland Common, Registration from 11.30.
  • Saturday 6th July, Training with Senseis JJ Bruce and Holly Stirling, Oldfield School, Bath, 10.00-12.00
  • Saturday 13th July, KUGB Black and Brown Belt Course, Bath (no excuse not to come and train!)

Details are on our Events page.