THE Queen’s Baton was in good hands last week, carried through Guildford by Swan View resident and karate teacher Bob Allen, in the lead up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The instructor who prefers to let his actions speak for themselves was honoured to have been chosen as one of about 310 baton bearers, relishing the opportunity to participate in the relay with many other distinguished community leaders and athletes.
Mr Allen or Sensei Bob as he prefers to be called was proud to have his family and friends with him to share the experience.
He said every year he set goals as to what he planned to achieve personally and professionally.
“I’ve been so fortunate recently that I’m beginning to run out of goals,’’ he said.
He has 55 years martial arts experience after starting his martial arts training in 1963, learning ju jitsu at the Midland Police and Citizens Youth Club.
He started Goju Ryu karate in 1969, began teaching classes in 1973, and opened his first dojo in Bayswater a year later.
Since then, Sensei Bob has taught about 2500 students.
Of these, about 50 younger students attained junior black belt rank, and about 60 adults have earned senior black belts.
Several of his students studied with him as youths, returning to continue their journey with him decades later. Others who continued training beyond the initial black belt level have achieved higher ranks and instructor qualifications.
Four of Sensei Bob’s most senior students have been awarded the rank of sensei, and with their assistance at his Swan Hills Goju Ryu dojos, students benefit from over 190 combined years of karate wisdom.
In addition to karate instruction, Sensei Bob has been a senior kata coach for the West Australian Karate Federation (WAKF) team since 2013.
Athletes coached by Sensei Bob have reached equal 6th place (and the top 8 for team kata) at the world competition level.
Under his guidance, competitors have won numerous gold medals in competitions in Oceania and at the national and state levels.
One of his students, Joe Coniglio, competed at the world level and was recognised by the WAKF as an outstanding sports star in 2000, 2003 and 2004.
Three other students have been appointed state team captains.
Sensei Bob also served as a state and national referee of kata and kumite for 22 years and on retirement from refereeing was recognised by the WAKF as referee of the year.
Sensei Bob has been the Western Australian shibu-cho (chief instructor) with Okinawa Goju Ryu Ryusyokai karate since 2012, and was given the title kyoshi (expert instructor) for Goju Ryu Australia in 2017.
He is the WA representative for Okinawa Matayoshi Kobudo Rengokai Sohonbu, a worldwide organisation dedicated to traditional Okinawan weaponry and also teaches tai chi to complement these disciplines.
Despite his illustrious CV, Sensei Bob likes to avoid the limelight, preferring to hone his own techniques and understanding to the highest degree.
By his own account, Sensei Bob started his karate as a struggler, progressing slowly, but through tenacity and continued practice he developed solid foundations for his karate.
He said not being a natural was a blessing in disguise as it forced him to work hard and analyse every move and he credited this attention to detail as key to his success.