Bruce Lee Judo

As a kid growing up in Pittsburgh I tended to avoid competitive sports in favor of watching TV shows. When I first saw the Green Hornet series in the Fall of 1966, Bruce Lee as Kato captured my imagination immediately with his mastery of martial arts. The next day I talked about learning karate at school where I had just started the 7th grade. My friend Arnold told me he was going to a new judo class on Saturday at our local Jewish Y. It was a course for $10 for 10 weeks so I asked my dad if I could also go and he agreed.


That Saturday Arnold and I took the bus to the Y and when we arrived I learned we had missed the first lesson a week ago. The sessions were held in the mezzanine which overlooked the gymnasium. As the kids gathered around waiting for things to start there were a couple boys in their white judo uniforms with orange belts. A few I recognized from school. Suddenly someone yelled there's Mr. Kim! I recall vividly staring down at the basketball court below and seeing a rather tall Asian man calmly yet deliberately walking towards the entry stairway up to we were.

Jewish Y Judo
Jewish Y Judo Gym

When Kyu Ha Kim arrived at the doorway he was so tall he had to lean down to not hit his head in order to enter the room. I'll never forget that first impression as he softly and warmly greeted the kids. We lined up around the vinyl large blue mat and there was an older dingy canvas mat next to it too for any overflow. We commenced to bow in do a brief warm-up and began to learn how to fall. Later in the class as the advance kids started to arrive for the next session I watched Mr. Kim dispatch some of the higher ranking adults who were there to help with ease using precision acrobatic throws.

Kyu Ha Kim

Kyu Ha Kim at the Pittsburgh Jewish Y in 1966

I dreamed of a day I could carry myself with the confidence and poise of Mr. Kim. While English was difficult for him, I could always understand what he meant and liked the way he related to me as if I wasn't just a youngster. He asked me about getting a judogi and told me they were $15.00. I told him I was afraid to ask my dad to buy me one having recently taking guitar lessons and quitting after a few sessions.

My dad had bought me a cheapie guitar and took it back for a better model. This was after I badgered him with the help of my mom along with my older brother.

Goltz Guitar

My friend with 'my guitar' who's dad bought it from my dad.

Mr. Kim after our third class asked for my dad's phone number and after speaking with him agreed to buy back the judogi if I quit. To this day Mr. Kim still tells people that the reason I had to stay in judo was so he wouldn't have to give my dad a refund!

But today I want to focus on how it was really Bruce Lee that inspired me to learn martial arts. Back then I remember seeing him in Black Belt on a panel with the late Hal Sharp who wrote the judo book Mr. Kim was selling. I still can't believe that Sharp Sensei became one of my closest friends and mentors as well as Judo Gene LeBell who was a guest star in the Green Hornet TV series with Bruce.

Bruce Lee Green Hornet

Oren Janiv in his essay on Why Judo is Different From Other Sports mentioned how Bruce Lee believed martial arts means honestly expressing yourself, He believed judo enables one to express themselves extend their techniques to their own unique style and/or creativity.

Nuzuna Wellness Centers

In my current role of vice president at Nuzuna Wellness Centers we actually promote the use of Electro Muscular Stimulation (EMS) which Bruce Lee understood back in the early 60's.

Gary Goltz over the years.

The Atlantic article on What It Means To Be Bruce Lee focuses on Bruce Lee's curiosity and quest for learning. These values are inherit in judo as Jigoro Kano was an educator and incorporated the quest for learning into judo.

Introducing Martial Arts School Listings on Black Belt Mag!
Sign Up Now To Be One Of The First School Listed In Our Database.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the worlds largest magazine of martial arts.
images.squarespace-cdn.com Creator: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy | Credit: AlamyCopyright: © Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy

Bruce Lee

A campaign has begun on the petition website change.org to change the name of Lee County, Fla. to "Bruce Lee County." The area was originally named after the civil war general, Robert E. Lee. But now a movement has been started by a group of local artists known as Artsemble Underground which, according to an NBC News report, is owned by Brian Weaver who said living in a county named after a confederate general does not make him proud.
Keep Reading Show less
cdn.vox-cdn.com Aspen Ladd and Norma Dumont Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Norma Dumont vs. Aspen Ladd full Fight video highlights - MMA Fighting

Norma Dumont fought cautious but smart taking a largely uneventful decision over Aspen Ladd in the main event of UFC Fight Night 195 Saturday in Las Vegas. Ladd, who hadn't been in the cage since December 2019, was coming back from a severe knee injury compounded by weight cutting problems. After failing to make weight for a bantamweight match-up two weeks ago, she stepped into the featherweight bout against Dumont on short notice and it all seemed to show. She did little the first three rounds allowing Dumont to build up a lead with little more than her jab. Though Ladd came alive a bit in the last two rounds, Dumont still managed to claim a comfortable unanimous decision.
Keep Reading Show less

ONE First Strike - ONE Championship - The Home of Martial Arts

ONE Championship returned to the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, October 15, with six sensational kickboxing contests at ONE: First Strike.

Not only did the 2021 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix get underway, but in the main event, the first-ever ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion was crowned. The epic night delivered from start to finish with five knockouts!

Did you miss a second of the action? Return to Singapore as we recap all of the action from ONE: First Strike.

Keep Reading Show less