Robert Porterfield began his training with Master Harold Long in 1969, was promoted to sho-dan in 1972, and presently holds the rank of 7th degree black belt. Robert was one of the most highly influential black belts of his era. During his early years, Robert competed in Kata as well as Kumite: he was always recognized as an extremely smart and physical fighter, winning dozens of trophies, including Grand Championships. One of the greatest fights of the 1970s in the southeast was a featured full-contact fight at the Knoxville Coliseum between Robert and Jimbo Butler from the Nashville Dojo.
Because of his outstanding kata technique, Sensei Porterfield was the featured karate-ka in the first two volumes of the 1978 edition of Dynamics of Isshin-Ryu Karate, written by Masters Harold Long and Allen Wheeler. In addition to tournament competition, Master Porterfield has been an instructor of Isshin-ryu karate at the Harold Long School of Karate as well as a long-term instructor at Wheeler's School of Isshin-ryu Karate. He credits Master Long, Master Wheeler, Master Cas Cox, and Master Glenn Webb as his instructors.
Master Porterfield is a Vietnam War veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy (1965-1968). He is a successful business man, having operated his own business for forty years. Robert is married to another early Isshinryu Black Belt, Becky Porterfield, and he is the father of three and grandfather of three.
Master Porterfield was recognized for his outstanding contributions to Isshin-ryu Karate in 2015 by induction into the IIKA Legacy Circle of Honor. When "old timers" in the southeast name premier karate-ka, Robert Porterfield is always in their first few names.