In the world of fitness, science & medicine no one man has had such a great impact as Dr. Robert Goldman. He serves on numerous medical boards, holds over 20 world strength records and is a martial artist; and these are just a few of his accomplishments. Now, he has joined up as Executive Producer for the highly anticipated film “The Martial Arts Kid” starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock. I had the honor of sitting down with this inspirational and amazing man to discuss some of his accomplishments and “The Martial Arts Kid”.
Bobby: You have done so many amazing things throughout your career, especially with fitness. Where did your interest in fitness begin?
Dr. Robert: I had a very high level of strength and endurance. The first time I touched a pull up bar in elementary school, I broke the record and it just started from there. Any kind of calisthenics or strength events, at whatever school I went to as a kid, I would just set all the records. I kept breaking world records from the age of 14 until I was 28; so it was 14 years of world competition. I would just go through the Guinness World book and see what record I wanted to break and then just go after it.
Bobby: When you are looking through the book to break a record, did you go in looking for a specific thing or just thumb through it until you found something?
Dr. Robert: As a kid growing up it was usually push-ups and sit-ups and the things you would do in gym class. My first world record I broke was for sit-ups. The record was 10,000 at the time and I did 13,500. The newer things were the handstand push-ups and one arm push-ups for which there were not any records before I did it. But, once I did it, it became a highly contested World Record where athletes from all over the world were competing to break it. So I had to keep going back to break mine again against these other athletes from around the world.
Bobby: Obviously with your interest and hard work in the world of fitness it isn’t all that hard of a transition, but how did you get started in the martial arts?
Dr. Robert: I grew up in the projects in a pretty rough part of town. So learning to defend yourself was part of survival. I used to take the train over to Chinatown in New York City to train and I also trained at a variety of other dojos or back room places where you have instructors from different parts of the world, generally from China for the most part.
I am traditionally trained in Shotokan getting my Black Belt in that and I have also trained in a variety of Chinese weapons. We used to do full contact tournaments way back then and they were pretty aggressive so we would get busted up pretty bad because we didn’t have the foam arm, hand, and foot guards they use today. We didn’t use much gear or pull punches back then.
Bobby: You already had this drive in fitness and to break all these records, but did martial arts give you anything different to add to that? Like the respect aspect in traditional martial arts?
Dr. Robert: In football and things like that we would respect our coaches, but in martial arts we learned a different kind of respect. You were taught to be more humble versus aggressive and outwardly tough like in football and wrestling. It was an interior toughness in martial arts where in other sports it was exterior. A very skilled football player will walk around with a swagger. However, a high ranking martial artist is the opposite because they have a different kind of confidence and they didn’t feel like they had to demonstrate their prowess outwardly; where in the others (other sports) it was a different mindset.
Bobby: With all that you have done for fitness and health in general, have you ever had the chance to bring some kind of program(s) to the martial arts field?
Dr. Robert: I haven’t been responsible for bringing anything in relation to the martial arts here in the States. But, I was involved in developing the physical training programs for various areas of the military and even the US Olympic Boxing Team; but not anything directly to martial arts.
Bobby: You have so many things you are involved with. Are you still involved with the martial arts?
Dr. Robert: I travel to 20 or 30 countries throughout the year and oversee a whole array of corporations, so I am not really stable in one place for more than a few days. I still train in terms of physical exercise, but I am not doing any fighting anymore. I just don’t have the time to do martial arts like I did in the old days.
Bobby: You have done so many amazing things in the medical field, fitness and world records to name very few, what drives you towards these goals?
Dr. Robert: Really, we are all trying for excellence in what we do. I just happen to have skill sets in completely diverse areas. It all comes down to leaving our impact on the world because we are not the important part. What is important are the lives that we touch in the world to make it a better place for everyone. The drive isn’t about me personally, but about what I can do for those around us.
Many of the things that were done, I did to change things, because I thought they needed to be changed; whether it was in creating the personal trainer profession or drug testing control. Also creating laboratories or anti-aging laboratories was an idea of trying to discover new ways to adjust the aging process to increase longevity and performance. So it’s more about giving back and that’s what I like very much about the martial arts world. The focus is on teaching others and sharing your art with others and mentoring.
Mentoring is a huge component of martial arts and one of the reasons I got involved with this movie. When “The Martial Arts Kid” was brought to me, I didn’t know all that much that was going on with the movie. When I saw what James Wilson was putting it together, I knew they would need some help in this particular area to help engage people as to why this project was so important. These are really humble people, but they are not financially experienced because their drive in life is through each other and their art instead of personal financial gain or having a high level understanding of finance. I think they are very special people that deserve to have any support that can be put behind them because their focus is really about mentoring and this movie is a powerful vehicle for these talented individuals to get that message out, as well as showcase just how special and interesting the world of martial arts is. It also shows just how much of an impact they have had on those they have helped to inspire.
Bobby: With Hollywood, it is always strange how some of these projects come together. You mentioned you were speaking with James Wilson about it, is that how you initially became involved?
Dr. Robert: I can’t tell you how many people have approached me and pitched movies to me over the years and I have never once signed on to anything. Not that they weren’t good projects, I just didn’t feel it was my place to be involved in any fashion. I heard about “The Martial Arts Kid” at some of the Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor events that we would have, and at the last one at Alan Goldberg’s in January, I met Nassim the 9 year old super, wonder champion. His dad, as well as many of the other people, was talking about how excited they were for this movie with Cynthia and Don. Until I saw some material on it I just thought this was a project in process, but I didn’t know much about it. When I saw they had a Kickstarter thing going and were really looking to put together a great team to accomplish this goal, I thought this is something that I should really help out with.
Bobby: What kind of role do you have behind the scenes? Is it just going to be as a Producer dealing with some of the business side or will you be involved at all with any of the script or filmmaking process?
Dr. Robert: I am really just giving suggestions because I have a fair amount of experience in the field. I want to help in any way I can. I am a supporter of what they are trying to do and have given some input to help with what they want to do. In addition I am helping with promotion and already have my people internationally getting wires out to generate more buzz and interest in the movie. I oversee medical commissions and sports organizations in other countries giving me the ability to gain a wider reach of exposure for the finished product as well.
Bobby: Is there any chance we are going to get to see you in the film as well?
Dr. Robert: Both myself and Master Alan Goldberg are actually going to be in the movie. I’m not sure if it is going to be a fight scene or whatever. I’ve done hundreds of interviews with CNN, Larry King, and every network but that was as a medical expert, but never in a theatrical acting role, so this will be a first for me.
Bobby: Yet another first for you.
Dr. Robert: Yes, but I had a chance to be in the movie “The Warriors” when I was a teenager, but they wanted me to shave my mustache, but it took so long to grow it I didn’t want to. My brothers both got little extra parts in it, but I didn’t get to do it. The funny thing about that movie is in the gang fights scenes they were using real gangs so when the fights started they couldn’t stop them.
Bobby: Be careful, when you get on set of “The Martial Arts Kid” with Don and Cynthia it may spark you to want to start training in martial arts again.
Dr. Robert: That’s what I am afraid of. I have enough on my plate with all the projects I am working on. I am now in the process of building the world anti-aging center in China so I am quite busy.
Bobby: Is there anything to date whether it is a World Record or venture that you feel that you missed out on?
Dr. Robert: You don’t want to look back with regret. As long as you gave it your best effort you approached it with the right effort. You don’t always win, but you learn from those losses. Dan Gable, who we inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame, said he learned the most from the one loss he had and it drove him so much harder to be a better coach and champion. We shouldn’t really view them as losses but learning experiences to teach us how to do better as we move ahead. There is no real regret; it’s more so life experiences that help to define who you are.
Any great success, I know this from the financial world, is that every “No” brings you closer to a yes. It’s those that continue to drive and have the endurance and fortitude to break past these disappointments or so called ‘failures’. The thing that is universal through those that are super successful is that they are not afraid to fail; it is part of the winning process. Everyone has these things, but they really aren’t failures. While it may not have worked out like you had expected, what you have learned may all of a sudden. years later, help you with the ‘real’ big one.
Bobby: I really want to thank you for taking the time to do this and also to thank you for everything you have done in general. You have accomplished so much, as we have discussed, and changed the world in such a positive way. Yet with the way the public is, a lot of people may not know who you are and what all you have done and they should.
Dr. Robert: There are people in the sports federations that I have known for 30 years that after they premiered the video about me at the Arnold Film Festival, people were coming up to me, that I have known and served on committees, that couldn’t believe they never knew this stuff about me. I told them “How did you not know? It’s been in my resume for the last 25 years?” (laughs)
It’s amazing the impact a video can have. When they actually see something, all of a sudden they understand it. These are people I have known for decades; even Arnold Schwarzenegger said he never knew. The power of video and movies is very, very strong. Just with the releases that have come out about me being involved in the movie, people have come out of the woodwork, who would normally not respond, but this they have responded too. It’s funny to see, during the short period of time I have been involved, what triggers people to react.
I think this project could have a great impact on the anti-bullying situation and make kids think twice about their situation and decisions. I grew up in a real rough neighborhood in the projects from a poor family. When you grow up with that kind of atmosphere you just never forget where you come from. That’s why I built these fitness facilities and goes back to the old neighborhood to do strength demonstrations for kids, because it is important to never forget where you came from.
I am a fan of a good bloody fight scene, but it will be nice to have something out there with real martial artists and real world champions. People who are true legends and not just actors, they are the real deal; and with Don and Cynthia that’s what you have there.
Bobby: I couldn’t agree more and think this is going to be an amazing project. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this and for everything you have done.
Dr. Robert: Thanks for speaking with me.
For more information or to get involved with The Martial Arts Kid kickstarter head over to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1088382504/the-martial-arts-kid
For more information on The Martial Arts Kid head over to http://moviepilot.com/movies/1256349-martial-arts-kid?lt_source=external...
For more information on Dr. Robert Goldman head over to http://drbobgoldman.com/
For more information on the International Sports Hall of Fame head over to http://www.sportshof.org/