Black Belt - Lead Instructor
Neal's many years in the martial arts began in 1992 when he started training at the dojo of Shorin Ryu Godan and former US PKA kickboxing champion Vernon Mason. For the next few years he searched for a martial arts program that felt right for him, and in 1994 this lead to his first personal exposure to grappling training - where they taught submission holds and a system that seemed very practical.
In 1997, while training Kempo at the notorious "Train Depot" dojo under Rick Bunn in Garner, North Carolina, he received a call from a friend about a new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu course and instructor in Virginia beach. Every weekend for the next two years he made the 7 hour round trip journey to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all weekend, while training both Kempo and Dutch style Muay Thai with Scott Francis during the week. Although it was time consuming, but rewarding, and he finally found what he felt was "right" for him. Then in 2000, a great savior to time, mileage and gas consumption in the name of Geoff Balme came to North Carolina from Boston, and Neal was able to train consistently a great deal closer to home.
Now 9 MMA fights and thousands of hours training later, Neal directs the TFTC Academy with the goals of making each life that walks in the door a better one, and honoring the constant pursuit of of technical excellence in both the striking and grappling arts.