John Pont started judo at the age of 18 at a club in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire. He then found a club in Bracknell where he went as an orange belt where Don Werner taught.
On his first session he got a complete hiding and thoroughly enjoyed it and asked if he could go back the next week. From then on he was hooked and joined Bracknell Judo Club which went on to become Pinewood Judo Club.
He was the worst kind of fighter, someone who never gave up. He was extremely fit and trained with complete dedication.
One of his favourite throws was a low seoi but he was most dangerous on the ground. He used to fight on his back like the Japanese, spin with his legs, armlock, strangle or hold you down.
In 1977 he started a club in Basingstoke at Brighton Hill School.
He worked full time as a window and carpet cleaner, train at Pinewood on a Tuesday and Thursday and would teach and train at Brighton Hill on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Brighton Hill Judo Club was a very successful club winning a number of National Medals. Kate Howey first started there at the age of 7 and stayed until she was about 15 when she left to train full time and went on to be very successful and won a silver at the Sydney Olympic Games.
He was a very modest man, who never shouted about his success as an individual or as a coach.
He gave his life to judo.
At the age of 40 he became ill with a bone marrow disorder where his was no longer able to participate in the sport physically but went on to help other people. He was Hampshire Junior and Senior Squad manager for many years. John was also a qualified Senior Examiner for the Hampshire Counties and alongside Keith Adams was the only other seriously active Senior Examiner in the area and ran Dan Gradings all over Hampshire. John was always highly critical of technical deficiencies in Theory.
John was also a 6th Dan.
He was a fighter on and off the mat and wouldn’t let anything beat him. He came close to death a few times due to his illness in the later stages of his life; even then he found it hard to give in. He was told he only had six months left to live so his daughter, Annette had to move her wedding forward, ten years later he was still fighting.
Unfortunately, John lost his battle on Wednesday 13th March 2013 when he died peacefully at home at the age of 63.
He was such an inspiration to all that met him and was always willing to help and improve people’s performance. He will sorely be missed.
The funeral will be held on Wednesday 27 March at 2pm, at St Marys Church, Church Lane, Mapledurwell, Hampshire, RG25 2LH.