World Martial Arts Media Hall of Fame 2018: Outstanding Public Servant Award Winner
🎥 21 Questions with Master Timothy P. Hollywood 🎥
Today we have the distinct honor of interviewing someone who gets to test their martial arts skills in the streets as a professional law enforcement officer. Timothy Hollywood has a martial arts training background that spans more than 30 years and today we get to hear more about his exciting life and how martial arts has been an important part of it. Usually you are the one asking the questions so I’m going to take this opportunity to fire off these questions interrogation style.
📌 Q: 1 What was the event or reason that sparked your interest in learning martial arts?
- My interest in the martial arts was in sophomore year in high school (1983). I observed an after school karate club at Monsignor Farrell High School and was hooked ever since. I had seen the kung fu movies but had no real exposure to a true martial arts class till that day.
📌 Q: 2. Tell us about your formal education and how has that affected your career?
A. I started in the NYPD with a Bachelor of Arts degree from St, John’s University. As a police officer, I went back to school and earned a Master of Arts degree from the City University of New York. These two degrees enabled me to be chosen in my career for unique and challenging assignments. Such as being able to be a graduate of the National FBI Academy. I rose up through the ranks Police Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant and now Captain. My assignments have varied from uniform patrol, Support Services Bureau, Legal Bureau and now the Detective Bureau where I am currently assigned.
📌 Q: 3. Give us a rundown of your martial arts training history of styles and ranks?
A. Martial Arts Training history
- 5th Dan in Tae Kwon Do
- 4th degree in Vadha Kempo Karate, testing for 5th Degree in November 2017.
- Multiple seminars and advanced training by some of the greatest Grandmasters in the world. ( Gm Gregory Glover, Sifu Richard Bustillo, Soke Thomas Gettling, Hanshi Gregory Duncan, Grandmaster Rico Guy, GM Cynthia Rothrock, GM Kevin Cullen)
- Currently teaching a class twice a week at Island Martial Arts, Staten Island New York)
📌 Q: 4. Do you have a favorite style and why does that style hold a special place in your life?
A. I don’t have a favorite style of martial arts. I enjoy teaching a hybrid of multiple arts and the traditions that come with each). I am also attending seminars and advancing my skills so I can pass on this knowledge to my students. My students are exposed to Kung Fu, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Judo, jui jitsu and weapons).
📌 Q: 5. Can you tell us about your Taekwondo background and who did you train with?
A. Taekwondo background – Started in Sept 1986 at St, John’s University under GM Gregory Glover. Started as a white belt and proceed to move up through the ranks to my current degree of 5th Dan. I was an assistant instructor in Tae Kwon do for many years at GM Glover’s schools. Every January we attend a martial arts seminar over a 3 day period in Atlantic City, New Jersey and train.
📌 Q: 6. What made you stay so long?
A. I stayed because training and putting on a martial arts uniform is a lifelong experience. As I have gotten older, I learned the finer points of the techniques and the true art behind them. My physical skills have slowed but my knowledge and experience have grown tenfold. There is so much in the martial arts that one would need ten lifetimes to experience most of it.
📌 Q: 7. Have you ever taught classes outside of the school that you were training in?
A. I have taught classes outside of the school to my coworkers and in my local parish.
📌 Q: 8. Have you ever had to defend yourself on the job with your martial arts skills?
A. The training in the martial arts have come in very handy on my job. It helped deescalate many dangerous scenarios and the physical training assisted me in taking deadly weapons off of the street such as rifles, shotguns and handguns. I am a very decorated NYPD Officer with 4 commendations medals, 1 meritorious medal, 9 exceptional police duty medals and 2 unit citations.
📌 Q: 9. Are your family members involved in the martial arts as well?
A. My two sons (15 and 16) trained in Tae Kwon do and both reached a green belt level. Currently they are not training and hopefully will resume in the future.
📌 Q: 10. Have you even had any teaching opportunities for martial arts for the NYPD?
A. I have not taught the martial arts for the NYPD. I have maintained my privacy in my study of the martial arts and it has been confined to outside of the workplace.
📌 Q: 11. With so many years on the job are you close to retirement?
A. I have over 26 years of service in the NYPD and was eligible to retire 6 years ago. However, I enjoy mentoring younger officer and passing on the skill set and experience I have obtained. In the past few years, I have continued my education and obtained a certification from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. In addition, I am currently studying for a certification as a Project Manager. During my time in the Support Services Bureau I was assigned as a project manager for a number of complex projects. This enabled me to qualify for the certification prerequisites. I am also attending classes to be a New York State certified Criminal Justice instructor. One of my favorite quotes is “A true Master always remains a student”.
📌 Q: 12. Do you ever think that you will retire from martial arts training?
A. I will never retire from martial arts training. If I can’t physically do it at a certain age then I will teach it verbally.
📌 Q: 13. What is your next personal goal in the martial arts?
A. My next personnel goal is to obtain my 5th degree in the art of Vadha Kempo. As part of this exam, I have to introduce a new weapon to the system. It is called the Yawara. As part of the thesis, I will prepare ten (10) attack patterns utilizing this weapon. Grading will be based on the practicality and effectiveness of the techniques.
📌 Q: 14. Are you considering opening your own school or teaching publicly in your community?
A. Due to my work assignments and different shifts, I am unable to open my own school.
📌 Q: 15. With such a busy schedule how many hours a week do you get to dedicate to your personal martial arts training?
A. My martial arts training is 2 days a week and seminars on the weekend. I would love to train 7 days a week, but that is not practical due to work and family obligations.
📌 Q: 16. With so much anti-police rhetoric in the media do you feel that more officers should have a daily practice of martial arts?
A. I think police officers should be encouraged to train more in the martial arts. I think there should be law enforcement discounts offered at martial arts schools.
📌 Q: 17. If someone was considering a career in Law Enforcement what advice would you give them to prepare for it?
A. If someone was considering a career in law enforcement, I would tell to make sure they have the right mindset. You must have a thick skin and be able to multitask. Also your life gets turned upside down a lot, you are working almost every holiday. You have to do midnight shifts and a lot of times your plans get canceled at the last minute. I had a major case I was working on recently and had to leave a seminar a day early because of it. Things happen beyond your control and you have to rise to the occasion.
📌 Q: 18. If someone was considering learning martial arts what advice would you give them?
A. If someone was learning martial arts I would tell try out a bunch of schools first till you find a home and it feels right to you. That is why you have a martial arts family that is different from your regular family. When you shared sweat on a dojang or dojo floor you form a bond. You took a risk from sitting in a chair to performing on the floor. There are many people who talk and write about what they are going to do. A true martial artists demonstrates it. When I train at other schools and at seminars, I wear a simple black belt with no rank and no writing on it. I humbled and honored to be learning something knew. The great philosopher Aristotle writes in his treatise “De Anima” on the mind being an inscribed tablet. I believe in filling the mind with new ideas, experiences and adventures.
📌 Q: 19. What career achievement are you proudest of?
A. The career achievement I am most proud of, is having a long and successful career and being able to teach and mentor many younger men and women of the NYPD.
📌 Q: 20. What martial arts achievement are you proudest of?
A. The martial arts achievement, I am the most proud of is being part such a great community that transcends race, color, religion and creed. We are all martial artists period. Whether you train in Korea, Japan or New York. We are all martial artists who share and care about each other. We are artists not thugs that kick and punch. You can a martial artist at 10 or at 100 it transcends age.
📌 Q: 21. In closing, do you have any other advice for our readers?
A. My advice to readers is never give up on training in the martial arts. Sometimes life puts obstacles in our way that impedes training always go back. A Japanese saying “when is the best time to plant a tree” the answer is today. When is best time to train not when I lose 10 pounds or next week. The answer is train today.
Thank you sir for this opportunity and we look forward to working with you again in the near future.
I wish to thank Grandmaster Gregory Glover for being my instructor for over thirty (30) years. He is a true Grandmaster and has dedicated his entire life to the martial arts and I am proud to have him as not only a teacher but a lifelong friend.