Neil McCarthy and David Arnold

Discussion in 'Interviews' started by Melanie, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Melanie

    Melanie Bend the rules somewhat.. Supporter


    Neil McCarthy and David Arnold


    Both Black belts and principle teachers of the UK Kung Fu School


    The UK Kung Fu School was founded by Neil McCarthy and David Arnold. The school teaches a system of kung fu called TEH JI HAN JEUNG DAO.
    TEH JI HAN JEUNG DAO is a dynamic kung fu style that incorporates concepts and principle of fighting and self defence to create a style for you. Given this approach, regardless of age, gender and strength, TEH JI HAN JEUNG DAO is a creative style that works to strengthen your attributes and, whilst recognising your limitations, work to improve them. The style, at its simplest level of self defence and fighting, uses a centre line approach. Therefore early lessons develop the skills of protecting your centre line (eyes, nose, throat, stomach and groin) and if appropriate using these targets to disable an attacker.
    However, TEH JI HAN JEUNG DAO is much more than this. Once a basic understanding of these principle are taught, the depth of the style is endless. We believe that the only limitation you have will be your imagination, and once you begin to become creative in your thinking as a martial artist, we become your facilitators. We wholly encourage dissecting the style so you can take what works efficiently and effectively for you so that you become and efficient and effective martial artist.

    Why is this your main style?

    We both believe the principle behind UK Kung Fu is not having a specific style other than your own. Therefore we do not teach this technique for this situation, but feel the individual must find their own for their specific attributes. For example, teaching the same technique to an 18 stone male and an eight stone female, believing that both can be pulled off, is not done. What we do is take the attribute of those individuals (weight, gender, reach, height, size, speed, ect) and then work techniques for their preferred body style and size.

    How long have you training in the arts?

    Neil started training in Judo when he was eleven and began teaching when he was eighteen. Running parallel to this, Neil also studied Chang Chuan Shu (long fist art), a kung fu style with Chris. Ellerker. Neil has also trained in Thai boxing, kickboxing, Tai Chi, Hsing-I, Ba Gua and Aikido.
    In total, Neil has been training for 22 years.
    He started his martial art training at thirteen years old where he studied Kyokushinkai Karate for three years with Bernard Creaton
    He decided that his future within karate was limited and so started researching other combat systems. Amongst these were Ninjitsu, Hsing-I, Wado Ryu Karate and various other Japanese styles. He came to the conclusion that a Chinese style was best suited for him and has been studying the style of Teh Ji Han Jeung Dao Kung fu since he was eighteen.
    In total, David has been training for 17 years.
    The UK Kung Fu School prides it's self on the experience of the teachers combining 39 years of knowledge.

    Any advice for people starting up in the arts?

    Martial arts today has changed so much. Even in the last ten years there has been a real shift in thinking. This has led to many new clubs opening up with a slightly different emphasis to each. Finding a style that meets your needs is like winning the lottery. The chances of finding something first time round that meets your needs is extremely difficult. Therefore, we advise that you genuinely ask why you want to training and then go to see as many classes as possible.
    Look out for the teachers attitudes, the students standards, how much will it cost to join, weekly fees, uniform, grading, competition ect. There are so many hidden costs for people if they do not know what they are looking for.
    Try a few classes first and then decide before parting with your money.

    Greatest personal achievement in the arts today?

    In 1997, both Neil and David attained the grade of senior student from founder of Teh Ji Han Jeung Dao, Chris. Linstead. Following this, they founded the UK Kung Fu School and continued to develop both the school and their own skills in martial arts.
    In 2000, they attained the converted grade of Senior Back sash only awarded to three other students within twenty five years.

    There is not a great emphasis on gradings with in the style, however we were pleased to achieve a grade only awarded to three other students. It takes about 10 years to be of the standard for a black belt within the school

    Reason for continuing to train?

    We used to joke - are we obsessed or dedicated. We came to the conclusion that it's probably both!! We can honestly say that we both love training today as much as when we first started. We are fuelled by continuing to train and develop both our martial ability as well as our personalities. We both love teaching which furthers our own development.

    What else would you like to do and why?

    David currently trains in Tai Chi with Simon Watson. We both rate Simon as an excellent teacher and student of Tai chi. His passion and knowledge is exceptional - a real one off.
    Neil Trains with Chris. Ellerker (chairman for the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts) in Tai Chi.
    We both recognize the need to continue our development in martial arts, so we like to look at anything that we believe will enhance our training and that of our students.

    Is your style complete and if so why?

    No, our style is not complete. In fact, we do not believe any style is complete. We continue to look at other styles to recognize our strengths, but also our limitations. We want to develop by looking at what other people do and then adapt that to make the school more complete. I doubt we will ever be able to truly say it is a complete style.

    Have you competed?

    The school does not compete and there is no formal grading system with in the style. We believe that to train is to develop yourself and not for a specified belt or grading. However, once at a certain standard, a senior student grade is given. In the same light, and given that the style is fighting based, there are no competitions. These principles are taken from martial arts of the old, and we believe that to develop oneself is to develop martial arts, and to develop martial arts is to develop oneself.
    We believe that this approach to a fighting style and one that develops you as an individual is close to the core of many 'traditional' martial arts, now often watered down and incorrectly taught.

    What do you admire the most in the arts and why?

    We are unanimous when we say we admire genuine talent and ability. There are no short cuts to this other than hard work. When we go to seminars across the country we lot's of different people wearing their grades proudly around their waist often strutting about. For us unless they have the ability to back this up with strong technique and skill, it's meaningless. On the other hand, we have worked with low grades who just do not like the grading system, yet their standard is exceptional.
    In short, we admire hard work and dedication to the arts.

    Do you think it appropriate for Kyu grades to help teach?

    People should have a go at teaching for several reasons. From our own experiences, we know our standard of skill has improved because of it. It really makes you think about what you are doing and gives you another perspective on a technique.
    The other reason is we also recognize that some people may not have as much time to put in to their training as others. This does not negate their experience. They may never have the ability of a senior grade but their understanding of what they do may be very good. It would be a shame to waste this just because they do not have a senior grade within their style.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2010
  2. PaIntR

    PaIntR New Member

    nice Interview
  3. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    A lot has changed since this interview.

    Please send me a pm if you are interested to know more about David Arnold.

Share This Page