is a friendly, soft-spoken man who barely talks above a whisper on his
job as educator/human resource coordinator for the Durham Public Schools
But in the world of karate and taekwondo, when this 37-year-old Durham native speaks, his
voice is heard loud and clear.And for a good reason.
On July 1, 2000, McNeil
, a sixth-degree black belt, became the first martial artist from North Carolina to be inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame. McNeil
was nominated by the great pioneer grandmaster Larry Isaac for taekwondo instructor of the year.
owns and operates the Freddy McNeil School of Tae Kwon
Do, which is located at the Hall of Fitness Center on North Roxboro Road
in Durham. McNeil
says that the martial arts and his
regular job with the Durham Public Schools
offer him the best of both worlds.
"I'm a people person," McNeil
said."I love working with people, especially kids because they are our future.In both of my occupations I get to do just that."
The fact that McNeil
has made such an impact worldwide in the martial arts should come as no surprise to the 75 or so students who are in several classes that he
teaches on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
The first thing that a visitor notices when arriving at the school is that McNeil
is addressed as "Sir" by each of his
pupils - no matter their age - and that he
returns the courtesy.
"It's one of the first things that we teach here," McNeil
said "You have to maintain courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit if you are going to be successful in the martial arts."
McNeil's classes are open to anyone age 5 and up, and they are among the least expensive of any martial arts school in the Triangle.
"We don't turn anyone away," McNeil
said."If there's a kid who really cannot meet our regular fee, we'll work something out."
"This is indeed a great school, and Freddy
is the best," Floyd Mitchell said.
..."I've known Freddy since I was principal at Chewning Middle School, where I coached him in track.He's
got me back into the martial arts after a 10-year hiatus.Freddy
has always been a leader, even back when he
was in junior high.I'm more than happy to be one of his
students." "Mr. McNeil has been my instructor for one year," Chris Sterline said.
I'm impressed with the fact that Mr. McNeil
will accept at-risk kids in his
gives many of them who have no fathers or brothers something that they really need, and that's love."
throws a lifeline out to kids who are in need," Watters said.
also operates a successful martial arts tournament.This year's Freddie McNeil School of Tae Kwon
Do /Karate/Kung-Fu Championship will be held at the Orange High gymnasium in Hillsborough on April 13.For more information, call (919) 563-1977.
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