Interviews \ Steve Golden

DW Forum - Have you seen the film, "Dragon, the Bruce Lee Story", just how accurate was the film, as opposed to how bruce really was?

Steve Golden - Not very accurate. The director said that this was not Bruce Lee's life. It was the director's vision of Bruce's life. I'll give you a few instances where the movie was very different from the truth.

Remember the fight where Bruce Lee fights the guy in Chinatown and wins, then the guy sneaks up on Bruce and kicks him in the back and puts him in the hospital? Well, he did fight this guy but the guy never kicked him. Bruce did end up in the hospital with a back problem, but that was from doing a weight exercises with too much weight. I guess the movie would not have been so interesting if Bruce was lifting weights and just said, "Ouch!"

Another thing was when he was challenged when he demonstrated at Ed Parker's tournament in 1964. Remember, in the movie, the audience booed his demo and the guy he fought before challenged him again? Well, I was there in 1964 and no one said, "Boo!" All they said was, "Wow!!!" Everyone was amazed at what Bruce was doing. And there was no fight. No one fought him there at all. The director wanted to make it more interesting. To tell the truth, it would have been much more interesting if you really saw Bruce demonstrating.

Oh yeah. One other thing. There is a scene where Bruce shows his wife, Linda, the book he wrote - The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Sorry but Bruce never wrote that book. He did write thousands of notes and after he died, those notes were taken and compiled into a book and published as The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. But Bruce never intended those notes to be published and he never saw that book. Anyway, that book is really amazing and Bruce's notes lead to the real Jeet Kune Do.

DW Forum - Although Bruce was a philosophy major at the university of Washington, which martial art philosophy'(s) really hit home for bruce?

Steve Golden - Sorry but I don't know. I do know that he was very interested in Krishnamurti and also in Zen.

DW Forum - Did Bruce ever speculate on what he would do, or what kind of films he would be doing after the release of Enter the Dragon?

Steve Golden - I don't know.

DW Forum - People love Bruce even when they havent met him and they only have positive comments about him,Do you know any negative points about Bruce? e.g Did he ever call lazy people fat or anything?

Steve Golden - Bruce had pretty strong opinions and said that one very important aspect of being a good martial artist was being in very good shape. He look disapprovingly at people who call themselves Masters and are out of shape.

One negative thing about Bruce was his temper. He had a very nasty temper and he knew it. But to give him credit, he was always trying to control it. He was not always successful. Remember above everything else, Bruce was a human being and had the same faults that others have. Perhaps he just hid most of them better. :-)

DW Forum - What sequence training did you do with Bruce at his home or club?

Steve Golden - At the Chinatown school in Los Angeles, we always started off with physical exercises for strength and stamina. Then we worked footwork, trapping, non-telegraphic attacks, kicking and awareness training. When we were at Bruce's home it was anything goes. We started doing Chi Sao (sticking hands is what we used to call it) and then did anything else that Bruce thought of or got interested in. It was different every time. We never knew ahead of time what we were going to do.

DW Forum - Can you describe Bruces personality because I would appreciate it and would feel closer to lee.

Steve Golden - He was always in a good mood and very friendly. It was like he was your best friend. He was always full of energy too. My wife says that she never saw him walk. It was more like he was bouncing because of his energy. He liked to show off his speed and strength. And I must say, we all loved to watch him do it. He was also eager to help you when ever you had a problem. Basically, he was a great person. At least that was my experience with him.

DW Forum - Did you ever notice Bruce's abilities as a car driver? Theres unofficial gossip that he was a terrible driver?

Steve Golden - Ha ha ha. That's funny because I never saw him drive. When ever we went any place he asked me to drive. That's one of the reasons I saw him so often. Before he lived in L.A. he used to fly in and need transportation. He would call me and I'd come and drive him around. I loved it because we would talk about martial arts and while we were waiting any place, we would "play" a little.

And what car was he actually driving when you were studying with Bruce?

Just a plain old American make car. I'm not sure what kind it was but I remember that he had a bumper sticker on it. It said, "This car protected by the Green Hornet."

DW Forum - How often did you participate with his classes and what was the price?

Steve Golden - Once he opened the Chinatown school, I attended for around eight months. I'm not sure exactly because I was more interested in doing it then I was about keeping track of the time. The classes were two nights a week and once on the weekend. I think the classes were one hour long but we hung around and played around for awhile after class too. As for the price, we paid $15.00 per month and that went for Danny Inosanto's expenses. None of it went to Bruce. When we trained at Bruce's house, there was no charge at all. I'll tell you; you don't get that kind of deal very often. :-)

DW Forum - Do you know of any real fights that he had from that period?

Steve Golden - Nope. Sorry.

DW Forum - What do you think about supplementary training, I mean running, weightlifting etc?

Steve Golden - I agree with Bruce that everything that make you healthy is a good idea. But be careful about the weight training. He made sure that we did a lot of repetitions using light weights instead of using very heavy weights. The heavy weights tended to make big muscles but not fast muscles and that can slow you down.

DW Forum - I’ve read somewhere that in an interview, Bruce said that he trained at least 2 hours a day, including weightraining, running etc. In other interviews it says that Bruce trained the whole day long. He must have a sort of routine because that’s the only way to archieve something? You cannot train a few hours one day and then 6 hours the other day etc.

Steve Golden - When he was not involved in other things like TV shows or other business, he was working out. I know that even did exercises before he got out of bed in the morning. He was crazy when it came to martial arts. But he told me that you have to be crazy to really get good.

DW Forum - How did Bruce manage to put all of his supplementary training into one day. Did he for example do the weightraining in the morning and then at night his Martial Art training? And how did he find the right formula for a workout. I mean was it 1/3 Martial Arts training and 2/3 supplementary or just the other way around?

Steve Golden - I'd suggest reading the book, "The Art of Expressing the Human Body " by John Little. It contains a wealth of information on Bruce's exercise programs.

DW Forum - Bruce was a practical joker, were you ever the victim of such jokes or did you ever witness any of them?

Steve Golden - No. Unless you think getting hit with his one inch punch without any protection a practical joke. I saw my friend who was not expecting it go flying into a couch in a hotel lobby. The really great part of that is that I wasn't the person getting hit. :-)

DW Forum - Did you ever see Bruce using nunchakus, if so what was he like with them?

Steve Golden - No but you might find this interesting. I learned to use nunchakus in Okinawa in 1961. I got back to California and met Danny Inosanto when I continued my training with Ed Parker. It was there that I showed Danny what nunchakus were and how to use them. Danny is the one who showed Bruce. It's interesting but I really can't take any credit for what Bruce was able to do with them.

DW Forum - How did you first meet Bruce and what were first impressions of him?

Steve Golden - I met him at Ed Parker's school in Pasadena, California. I'm not sure what our first impression was but I know that we wouldn't let Bruce out of the school without asking him all kinds of questions. So I know that we were very impressed. Bruce and Ed Parker were very good friends. Bruce used to come in every once in a while to talk to Ed and we sure loved to see him.

DW Forum - Were you ever the victim of any of any of Bruce Lee sidekicks, if so what was it like?

Steve Golden - Ouch! Why did you remind me of that? This was in the Chinatown school. Class was over and Bruce was explaining something to some friend of his. I was the only one left in the building. He walked over and asked me to put on two chest protectors. Then he said that he was going to kick me and that I should get back as fast as I can. I remember him starting and me starting to run back. Then I remember flying through the air and hitting the cinder block wall. I thought he broke all my ribs while I was running away from his kick. Years later, Jerry Poteet told me that he was standing in the doorway and saw it happen He said that he thought Bruce had killed me. I didn't even know anyone else saw it.

DW Forum - What is the best memory that you have of Bruce are there any special memories?

Steve Golden - My favorite time was when we worked out together in the bar of a closed Chinese restaurant. It's a long story but basically we were doing Chi Sao and I couldn't hit him. I told him that you can't beat a man at his own game. He looked at me and said, "That's not my game." I asked him what was. He said, "Try to stop me." We squared off as though we were going to fight. I was already a black belt in Kenpo and I lasted almost two seconds. He had both of my arms trapped against my body while I was bent over backwards on a piano and he had his fingers in my eyes. Then he looked at me, smiled and said, "That's my game." That was what convinced me that I had to learn his system.

DW Forum - Did Bruce have a particular favourite student at his school in Los Angeles?

Steve Golden - Of course I was his favorite! I'm just joking. He seemed to like everyone. If he had favorites, he didn't show it. He spent the most energy on those who asked the most questions. I know that Jerry Poteet, Pete Jacobs and I always had tons of questions.

DW Forum - Did you ever hear Bruce swear at anyone, did he get mad at you if you performeda move incorrectly?

Steve Golden - Bruce would get upset when "we didn't get it." But I never heard him swear at anyone because of that. But Bruce did swear. I never heard him do it in public or in anger but on the phone... Once I called him and invited him to my new born son's party and I thought he was going to burn my phone lines out swearing. It went something like, "Oh s%7@, F%7* I'm going to be in Paris that weekend. D%&^$ I won't be able to make it. F*@%3! Man, I would really like to but S%$#@. I think that was one of the worst times he went at it. It was really funny hearing him so revved up.

DW Forum - What is your favourite Bruce Lee movie and why?

Steve Golden - Enter the Dragon was the best quality movie and I really liked it but Return of the Dragon, the one in Italy, had the best fight scenes. That's the one where Bruce was starting to show what JKD was really about. Look at how he adjusted his methods for each situation. Yep. That's the best for seeing JKD. Enter the Dragon is the best for seeing Bruce Lee and actually hearing him in his own voice.

DW Forum - Did Bruce ever talk about his admiration of Muhammed Ali?

Steve Golden - No. Not to me.

DW Forum - What was the most touching thing that Bruce ever did for you?

Steve Golden - I think it was when he told me that he liked me and the other Kenpo guys because we knew how to move and that we had open minds. I thought that was quite a compliment.

DW Forum - Did you ever witness Bruce smoking or do you know of him ever smoking?

Steve Golden - Never.

DW Forum - Do you feel that Bruce was the greatest martial artist of the 20th centuryand also what level of martial arts skill would he have been at today?

Steve Golden - To be fair to everyone, I have not seen all the martial artists of the 20th century. It is an awfully big world. But from what I have seen, no one in these days has all the attributes that Bruce had. If they did, they would be just as visible and famous. Bruce was not only a fabulous martial artist, he was also a genius. He could not only "do it", he also understood why things worked. Can you imagine a person who can do this: Every time Bruce attacked, it was successful. I mean every time! And, every time someone else attacked, he hit them. Think about that.

As for where he would be today, no one knows. I think it's safe to assume that he would continue on the path he chose. He said that when his strength and speed diminished with age, awareness would more than make up for it.

DW Forum - If you could say one thing to Bruce right now, what it be?

Steve Golden - I'd thank him for being a friend.

DW Forum - Thankyou Steve for answering our questions.