Founder of Kindai-Ryu
CHARLES O. NEAL
JULY 17, 1927 – JANUARY 20, 1988
Charles O. Neal was born on July 17, 1927 in Portsmouth, Virginia. His introduction to the martial arts came at the age of 13 from his uncle, who taught him oriental self-defense. He began formal practice in the 1940’s, during which time America was at war with Japan. Neal began his training under Professor K. Nakae, receiving his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu in 1944. In the 1950’s, Neal continued his training under Sashi, Matsumoto and Keizo Ohashi,
Instructors of the Japanese Maritime Defense Force. He also studied as a member of the Camp LeJeune Base (North Carolina) Judo Team under Frank Hubbard, Judo and Jiu-jitsu Katas under Hiroshige Yoshida, Hakko-Ryu Jiu-jitsu under Clement iedner, Tae Kwon Do under Akio Mitake and Nebuhiro Hayashi and Shito-Ryu Karate and Goshin Budo Jiu-Jitsu under Siyogo Kuniba of Seishin-Kai Karate Union. In the late 1950’s, Neal received his black belt in Judo.
Shihan Neal’s love of the oriental arts for over 45 years led to the following lifetime achievements: a Sandan in Kodokan Judo from the USJA, a Shihan in Jiu-jitsu from the American Bushido Martial Arts Federation, a Yodan from the Seishin-Kai Goshin Budo Union, and a Nidan in Shito-Ryu Karate from the Seishin-Kai Karate Union. In March of 1981, Neal received in certification as Judo coach by the USJA.
Charles Neal enlisted in the United States Marines in the mid 1940’s at the age of 17. While stationed at Camp LeJeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, he became hand-to-hand combat and knife instructor. In 1953, the government requested him to train the Navy Underwater Demolition Team (now known as the Navy Seals) in hand-to-hand combat for which he accepted no pay for the honor. He continued serving in the Marines throughout World War II and the Korean War. He served in the reserves before being honorably discharged in 1956.
Charles Neal also served his community for over 27 years as a Portsmouth Police Officer. He became that city’s first African American to make the rank of sergeant in the mid 1960’s. Lieutenant Neal was in command of the department’s Crime Prevention Unit at the time of his death. His efforts and his expertise in the martial arts led to his being highest ranking martial artist employed as a police instructor in the state of Virginia and his being named Police Officer of the Year in 1981.
After leaving the service, Charles Neal and Tony Scarano established the Authenic Judo Club/Kindai-Ryu with the assistance of Don Draeger, who came to Portsmouth to help Neal when he was refused admittance to Norfolk club because of his color. The Authenic Judo Club/Kindai-Ryu was the first martial arts club open to all regardless of race or sex. The first dojo was located in the back of the family owned small shoe repair shop on Effingham Street in an area no larger than 25 feet by 20 feet. The classes were conducted on several layers of pressed cardboard covered with a canvas.
Shihan Neal has appeared and have been featured in numerous publications including, but not limited to, "Who's Who In American Martial Arts" and most recently in "An Illustrated History of Martial Arts of America 1900 to Present" copyrighted 2007.
Some of Shihan Neal’s students throughout his teaching of the martial arts include, but not limited to, the following: the late world renowned Professor Ronald Duncan of Way of the Winds, Shihan Mike K. Lewis, the late Willie Hunter, Sr., Shihan Mark Abraham, Venita Faulks, Bruce Faulks, Elaine Smith, and the late Harold Hawkins.
Through his many achievements and accomplishments, Neal felt his best was the development of classes for the handicapped.