Formal Rebuttal to James W. McNeil
Rebuttal to James W. McNeil and his "story."
Formal Rebuttal to James W. McNeil
My name is Mike Patterson. I wish to make a formal rebuttal available to the martial arts community at large.
In March of 2017, a Mr. James W. McNeil had written a series of unsubstantiated articles and in so doing has attempted to malign, defame and impugn my character with deliberate falsehood. I contacted James W. McNeil and politely requested that he retract his false statements about me and afforded him plenty of time to do so. He refused. So, as a result, I am putting my public rebuttal of Mr. McNeil's "story" out there for all to see.
Mr. McNeil has, through the years, often been predisposed to make grandiose statements about himself. But to my knowledge, this is the first time he has engaged in public defamation of another. And in so doing, he has demeaned us all and demonstrated a child like, small mindedness that is truly unfathomable to me.
I wish all who read this to know that such statements and stories as he has written are patently absurd and I write this retort only because I have a firm belief that "reticence is tantamount to agreement." I most certainly cannot agree with what he has written about me. Nor, I think, can anyone else who actually knows me or my reputation. I also cannot agree with what he has written about his involvement with the Tang Shou Tao lineage and Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi) of Taiwan.
Visiting Taiwan periodically does not make, nor did it ever make, anyone a personal student of Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi). If that were true, all of my own students who either fought on my teams in Taiwan or who periodically went with me to see my teacher after I left the island would also be personal students of Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi). This is simply not reality. I personally lived and studied on Taiwan for a decade with Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi). James W.McNeil was not my schoolmate. James W. McNeil is a second generation student in the Tang Shou Tao lineage, trained under John L. Price in California. And there is plenty of evidence to support that fact. For example:
Pictured at left are most of those whom were the Western Hemisphere representatives of Tang Shou Tao as it was in 1981 and all the way up until Xu Hongji's untimely passing in 1983.
All "second generation" students are in the back row. None of these people were direct students of Xu Hongji. The portrait is arranged in traditional fashion. 1st generation pupils in front, 2nd generation pupils (all are pupils of John Price) are in back.
You will see James W. McNeil (sans toupee which came later in James McNeil's life) standing back row, second from right.
I am in the front row on the far right. My teacher is of course in the front row, second from left, next to Chairman Huang.
Additionally for now, in 1977 John L. Price wrote a book entitled "Master's Manual of Hsing I Kung fu" from which follow two excerpted pages. John Price is shown with his student, James W. McNeil (again pre-toupee) doing some basic applications.
Over the years, I have mostly held my piece on such issues as I absolutely despise politics and those who are political climbers within any organization. I prefer to focus on teaching and dissemination of good quality kungfu. If someone wanted to lie about their lineage and I knew better, I simply kept it to myself figuring that the lie was on them. However, this time a very dishonorable individual has decided to drag my name through the mud in an effort to bolster his own. So on this occasion, I can no longer remain silent.
Without further adieu, here is the story as he told it in his newsletter. James W. McNeil's comments are preceded with "James McNeil" with my rebuttals to each point immediately below each line, preceded by the word "Me:" in front.
James McNeil: Master Hsu came to my house in Orange on several different occasions to teach me and conduct seminars. I would call all of my senior brothers except John Price and tell them that Master Hsu was in town if they wanted to come over to visit him. One of them named Mike Patterson was jealous of me and would only talk to or interact with me when Master Hsu was around.
Me: Whenever Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi) came stateside, he did what all good teachers do and went to visit as many places as possible where there were people of the lineage teaching. He typically would spend time in both San Diego and Los Angeles in California, Yuma in Arizona, and also time in Colorado. These were places where there were several schools flying the Tang Shou Tao banner. The rest is an absolute falsehood. James W. McNeil came to see me in San Diego (when I lived there) numerous times to attempt to fill in some of the gaps he had in his training from John Price. We once spent an entire day with me teaching James McNeil and Tom Snowden the Xingyi two person five fist set.
James McNeil: Master Hsu would go to Patterson’s house on weekends to do a seminar then come home to my place on Sunday. I told Master Hsu if he wanted to stay in San Diego at Mike’s house I would understand because he was my senior brother. He said “Jim you have a kind heart but I am happy here and I enjoy teaching you. I know Mike doesn’t like you because he is jealous of you. I will teach you all of his strengths and weaknesses in case you ever have to confront him.”
Me: Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi) would indeed come to my house and stay, but not only for seminars. My teacher had a permanent guest room in the back of the house where he stayed sometimes for weeks at a time. I was indeed James McNeil's "senior" but I was not his school brother. I was his kungfu uncle. And the implication that a person of Xu Hongji's status would ever stoop to trying to give anyone a "hedge" over one of his own is absolutely ridiculous as anyone who understands even the slightest tenets of Chinese culture will easily understand. So the rest of this part is, I think, the fantasy of James McNeil's somewhat deluded and perhaps now feeble mind as age can do that to some folks.
James McNeil: In 1983 I went back to Taiwan and this time I took my student Joji Holland. Mike Patterson was also there with his students and with his continuing jealousy toward me the scene was set for an epic conflict. We would all go to the school at night to train and during one session Master Hsu asked me to correct the mistakes one of Mike’s students was making. It wasn’t long before Mike came over to me and said “You never correct my student, do you hear me?” I replied calmly, “Then you should talk with Hsu Lao Tzu about it, he is the one who noticed your student doesn’t know what he is doing”. I think this comment really got to him because I was calling into question his ability to teach.
Me: The only part of this paragraph that is true is the first statement that he was there with his "student" Joji Holland and I was there with my team of fighters. A second generation student such as James W. McNeil would never have been allowed to correct one of my pupils nor would Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi) ask such a person to do so. This would have been a serious breach of etiquette and a man such as Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi) would never have stood for such. There was, in fact, an incident where one of James W. McNeil's students (a girl by the name of Margo) was trying to practice the Gi Xing (rooster form) and I personally corrected her movements which was my place as a direct pupil of Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi). Perhaps this event upset James McNeil a great deal so that his mind now remembers it differently because the reality of said events is less pleasant to him.
James McNeil: Later that night Mr. Huang and I were going out and I was dressed up in nice clothes for an evening out. Just as I was leaving Mike Paterson rushed into my room and started yelling in my face, “Don’t you ever correct my student again or else I will whip your ass!” Instantly it all bubbled up in me and I pushed him so hard he flew, sprawling; luckily he landed on my bed and not the hard floor. Then I said “You’re lucky I am going out right now or I would make you go ahead and lick my ass. We can continue this tomorrow. Close the door when you’re able to get up and leave”. I left, leaving him alone, shocked and lying on the bed in my room.
Me: This never happened. What did happen was that James W. McNeil found out about a promise I had made the night before, over an incident regarding McNeil's so called student, Joji Hollands which had occurred at the tournament two days prior. Joji had gotten out of control and come at me in anger and, then when Vince Black tried to intercede, Joji had attacked Vince. All while James McNeil cowered in a corner of the building doing nothing. Both Vince and myself were furious over the incident. And, as a result, Xu Hongji (Hsu Hong Chi) had made both myself and Vince Black promise not to hurt James McNeil while he was on the island. James McNeil had found out somehow about the promise made and was trying to throw that in my face on the stairway of the youth hostel where we were all staying. I had had enough and told him that, promise or not, we would settle it right then and there. James ran down the hallway, locked himself in his room and would not come out. I did indeed bang on the door. He would not come out. When I went down to the room where Vince and myself were staying and told Vince of the incident, Vince convinced me to go back upstairs with him and break James McNeil's door down. When we got there, he was gone. The front desk said he had just checked out.
James McNeil: The next day I told Master Hsu what happened and remembering back to how I had handled a similar situation, told him I wanted to fight Mike in the school in front of everyone and get it settled. He replied, “No, you will not fight him. I know you would win but I do not want school brothers to fight in the school, ever...do you under-stand?” I reluctantly bowed my head and said “Yes, Master,” still boiling with anger at Patterson.
Me: Nope. This never happened. Although, at that time, I personally would have welcomed the opportunity to put James in his place given his abhorrent behavior.
James McNeil: Over the years I had several verbal altercations with him over the phone, he making arrangements to meet and settle our differences once and for all but he never showed.
Me: Nope again. James McNeil did indeed call and attempt to threaten me several times over the years. My response was always the same. I would tell him that he was well aware where my school in La Mesa was located and he could feel free to show up any time he wanted. He never did. I think it is difficult for James to face the fact that he truly is a rather cowardly individual so it may give him some peace of mind to tell it this way.
In addition to the outright lies and fabrications with regard to myself in his "story," James W. McNeil has also proclaimed himself a full contact champion on, not once, but two separate occasions. This is patently absurd. James McNeil has NEVER fought anywhere in ANY competitive event. And no matter how hard one may look, there will be no evidence of such. Although he did once bat his eyelashes and dog paddle his hands ferociously while moving away from Vince Black during a training exercise. I told Vince later that I had genuinely feared for his life because of all the wind coming off those eyelashes and dog paddling arms. I feared that Vince may have indeed been blown into a nearby wall. Vince punched me in the arm for my comment.
It is hard for me to believe, that after 35 plus years, a person could still harbor such abject hatred of me that they would deliberately undertake to malign and defame my character in such a way as this man has attempted to do. But because he has done exactly that in a public forum both within his newsletter and on his website, I am forced to respond. This even though I utterly despise "martial family politics" and the dirty laundry that often goes with same. This man has deliberately let loose with the most idiotic fantasy strewn tale about me that I ever thought I might read. And indeed the tale in its entirety is, at least in relation to the things written about myself, or Xu Hongji and the Tang Shou Tao lineage, an utter fabrication. This is truly the lowest of the low in terms of human behaviors.
I truly hope he finds peace within himself.