A 72-year-old pensioner from Bolton is training Brazilian special forces on how to tackle football hooligans at the World Cup Steve Costello
A former paver, Costello has eight Dans in Karate, seven Dans in Kobudo, four Dans in Jujitsu and is a specialist in Ryukyu.
He has received awards from World Cup security chief Valdir Rossini and has had classes featured on Brazilian TV.
'I think it is important to have a great sense of humour and make the lessons enjoyable,' he told the MEN.
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Brazilian riot police given World Cup hooligan training... by a pensioner from Bolton
Brazilian police officers stand guard at a protest in Rio De JaneiroBrazil special forces and riot police are being trained on how to tackle football hooligans at the World Cup - by a 72-year-old pensioner from Bolton.
Karate King Steve Costello teaches Command Operation’s Elite - their equivalent of the SAS - mounted police, firemen and state cavalry troops the art of self defence.
The grandad-of-11 specialises in close quarter techniques, and how to take down armed opponents.
The retired paver has received awards from the Brazil Police Federation, and gave a special class to the man in charge of World Cup security.
Steve, nicknamed ‘The Headhunter’ in competition, made his name in Curitiba, a city in the state of Parana which is hosting games during the tournament.
This year, he taught blindfolded karate techniques to officers who will be on duty next month.
He has eight Dans in Karate, seven Dans in Kobudo, four Dans in Jujitsu and is regarded as a specialist in Ryukyu, which employs close combat techniques using canes, batons and knives.
Silver-haired but super-fit, his classes have featured on Brazilian TV and radio reports.
Valdir Rossini, head of their police federation, and World Cup security chief, gave him an award.
Dad-of-four Steve said: “I think it is important to have a great sense of humour and make the lessons enjoyable.
“I make the close quarters combat so that it is a challenge, but the people in Brazil get a lot out of it.
“We cover vital parts of the body and how you can paralyse people with moves where necessary.
“I lived through an era growing up with Teddy Boys and Skinheads where you had to be street wise.
“You had to be able to handle knife attacks, people coming at you with bike chains, and did so in real life.
“I have a translator over there and know some basics like ‘Obrigado’ for thank you, I can get by.
“They call me ‘Mr Steve’. I love the Brazilians, they always have a smile for you.
“I have trained special forces, the majority of the police battalions, their cavalry mounted section and the fire service.
“For the World Cup, they wanted combat training, simple and direct defence.
“They believe in the ultimate training conditions. I have gained their respect.”
Steve, who lives with wife Jean, also 72, in Bolton, still holds lessons for children in his hometown as well as working with cops in Brazil.
His martial art expertise “utilizes every part of the body to your advantage,” and involves “no nonsense full contact training.”
Jean, a former carer, goes to Brazil with him, and says: “The people we visit have become like family.
“I just love the place, and the people.”
Riot cops in Curitiba, a city four times the size of Manchester in the south of Brazil, may have their work cut out next month, with rioting and unrest across the country ahead of the kick off on June 12.
The six-storey media centre next to the 41,456-seater Arena da Baixada stadium will not be ready so journalists will work from tents in the car park.
At a test match between two local sides last week, staged to see how the venue will cope, fans arrived to find bulldozers still outside and workmen installing seats.
The first World Cup match in Curitiba is on June 16 between Iran and Nigeria. Other nations playing there are Honduras, Ecuador, Australia, Spain, Algeria and Russia.
Bolton martial arts expert trains Brazilian special forces ahead of World Cup
WHEN The World Cup kicks off in Brazil, the country’s special forces will have a trick up their sleeve to control rowdy football fans — thanks to 72-year-old martial arts expert Steve Costello.
Mr Costello, who teaches martial arts at Bolton Cricket Club in Great Lever, has visited Brazil every year since 1995, training the country’s police and military personnel on how to defend themselves.
His journey started when a friend invited him to become the first foreign instructor to teach karate in Brazil.
Since then, he has made his name in Curitiba, a city in the state of Parana which is four times the size of Manchester.
Over the years, Mr Costello has taught the fire service and the police cavalry a variety of martial arts disciplines, with a different theme each year. This year, he has taught blindfolded karate techniques to those in charge of policing The World Cup.
He has eight Dans in Karate, seven Dans in Kobudo, four Dans in Jujitsu and has had afternoon tea with The Duchess of Kent — not bad for the 11-year-old lad who started out at Bolton Boxing Club.
Mr Costello, of Tonge Moor Road, Tonge Moor, is held in high regard in South America, having been featured on Brazilian TV and radio and even being labelled “the legend” by Valdir Rossini, the head of the police federation in Brazil.
But like a typical unsung hero, Mr Costello has stayed true to his roots.
He said: “I don’t like to make a big fuss of it. I enjoy being in Brazil and being around Brazilian people, but I also enjoy teaching kids and adults in Bolton.
“I want Brazil to win the World Cup. Brazilians are cracking people, absolutely first class. I don’t think I’ve met a Brazilian without a smile on their face!
“They love a challenge and they are very competitive, which is probably why they win so much.”
Asked for the secret to his healthy life, Mr Costello replied: “I like keeping fit. I eat the right things, I do a lot of walking, I like to have a nice little jog — I keep myself healthy, basically. It’s just common sense.”
Fergal Hughes is Mr Costello’s assistant at Bolton Cricket Club. Mr Hughes, aged 35, said: “He’s a sound guy — he’s not arrogant, he just does his own thing. He looks after himself really well. If he goes for a pint, he walks to the pub. Everything he does in life has a purpose.”
Mr Costello teaches martial arts every Tuesday night at Bolton Cricket Club.
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