SP ARCHIVES: Terry O’Neill

Julian wrote: I think lot of people look at Terry as a gold standard of a “streetfighter”. So you know him good and influenced him. With you ability to break down the essential components, what is you opinion on what made him that good?

Or is he just a natural born killer, natural athlete with the right mindset and knows how to produce explosive power, who’s delivery system is karate?

Theodore wrote: I’ll add to this if it’s not too contravertial over the years Ive heard stories that you used to kick the crap out of Terry in training, but very recently heard the opposite he used to do it to you.  Which is nearer the mark?

Steve replied:   Julian, I think you’re right that karate was the vehicle by which Terry O’Neill expressed his violence successfully. And often people attribute the training methods of karate to the fighting success of people like Terry; I’ve said this before. From my observation, there’s a lot more guys practicing karate who can’t fight than there are guys like Terry, who can. So you have to really say that it’s more about violent intent and being conditioned to a violent environment than necessarily Shotokan or anything else.

Whether or not he’s the gold standard of streetfighters, I don’t see how you can have a gold standard for streetfighters because how can you measure that? I think being the top streetfighter in the world was a label Terry got from Lito Angeles, who put together a list of people he thought were the best based on whatever stories he’d heard. That’s another story.

With regard to rumours being circulated about Terry and me so that some guy can get a hardon over the idea that one of us beat up the other, let’s put this one to rest. Terry and I were really good friends, and for various reasons that friendship regrettably collapsed. But there was never any physical fight, or anything resembling a fight, between us. Ever. We shared courses, much like the one I did with Mick Coup this weekend. I’d visit him at his home, and he’d come down to Earlham Street or Horsham. We never trained together as such. He’d usually pick my brain, or I’d just make him listen to what was going on in my head whether he wanted to know or not. There was never a rivalry; in fact that’s why there was a good friendship.

Naturally I showed him things, and he was impressed by what I showed and told him; he said as much. But we never ‘trained together.’

As for the question in the first place, Theodore, I find it’s an inflammatory remark, intented to provoke, and in the future any such remarks will be deleted without the courtesy of a reply, and the poster will be barred from my forum.