Sensei Terry O’Neill - 7th Dan
Terry O’Neill was born in Liverpool on 27th February 1948, the son of a Police Officer. From an early age he had always been fascinated by stories of people with great physical strength - the “super-heroes”, and this soon lead to an interest in the martial arts.
He first started to train at Judo, but soon he applied to join the Liverpool Karate Club, and like many of his contemporaries, he has to be less truthful about his age to get into the club.
His first teacher was Andy Sherry, with occasional visits from Murakami Sensei, Veron Bell and Terry Wingrove, and later, Kanazawa Sensei.
His first job was working as a security man at various venues where such stars like Rolling Stones and the Walker Brothers were performing. He then worked at the Cavern Club and continued to be employed in security work for the next 17 years.
His introduction to Kumite was in the 1967 KUGB National Championships, where, he says, he was soundly beaten in the individual event due to inexperience. This state of affairs didn’t last long, as he won the KUGB National Championships Individual Kumite Kata title in 1972, 73, 74, 75, 77, and 1978. He was three times KUGB Grand Champion and from 1967 to 1981, he was a member of the Red Triangle Team, who were KUGB National Team Champions on no less than 13 occasions.
A member of the KUGB International Squad from 1968 to 1982, he was also a member of the highly successful British All-Style Squad who defeated Japan to win 1975 World Championships held in Los Angeles, USA. It is not generally known that he was joint third on the 1974 World Championships that were held in Japan.
At his fighting peak in early 70’s, he was recognised as one of the Worlds most fearsome competitors. A master of innovation and tactical surprise, he had a dynamic and flamboyant fighting style that few could beat.
Tragically his run as a competition fighting came to an abrupt end in 1982, when he seriously damaged the ligaments of his knee on an international match against Italy.
In 1972 he founded the Premier UK Martial Arts magazine “Fighting Arts International”, which has a world-wide reputation as one of the few really serious and influential magazines on the subject.
Another aspect of his life is his work with the international film star Arnold Swarzenegger, having appeared on several of his films. He is currently much in demand as an actor with current appearances in “Civvies”, “Comics”, “The Governor”, and “The Bill”. He has also acted as martial arts consultant in many other films.
A senior member of the KUGB, he is also an International Referee and KUGB Grading Examiner. He has been a member of the KUGB since its inceptions, and says, “that is one of the great organizations”, and he hopes that it will continue to develop along the same lines as it has grown over the past 30 years.
Terry O’Neill is one of the strongest supportive element for Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai in the UK, and we were delighted to train at his seminar at the Konishi Kata Championship and All Masters Seminar in Brighton, August 2003.
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