Medford Business Monthly Dot Com

Alex Goode Pop Explosion interview 7-27-2016 
(JV = host Joe Viglione; A.G. – guest, Alex Goode)

Alex Goode of Oom Yung Doe on the

July 27, 2016

Alex Goode, 2:49 pm July 27, 2016 at Boston Free Radio 

JV: Hello, Alex. You’ve got a lot going on with Oom Ynng Doe.

AG: We do.  I actually just got back from San Diego… a week long seminar.
JV: So it was San Diego,  I didn’t know where in California the event was.________________________________________________
AG: Yes, it was southern California,  so it was good. It was like six hours a day training  and then also meetings and  conferences so I was pretty much training working or sleeping that’s about it. _______________________________________________JV: Now when you say training,  do you mean Oom Yung Doe they’re training?
AG: Yes
JV: So there’s a network of people that do what you do?AG: Oh yeah,  we have schools in California, Washington state, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and growing.
____________________________________________________ JV: You told me earlier how you got into this specific form of Martial Arts,  so tell us again how you got into this specific training

AG: I was actually, like a lot of teenagers, looking to lift weights and stuff like that.  I was too young so my dad  told me to just do martial arts and I  actually wasn’t interested at all.  He just signed us up and that was it.
JV: Where did you train?

AG:  I actually did training at a different martial arts school,  it wasn’t Oom Yung Doe, but I actually enjoyed it and it was kind of similar in how they did things.   So I  looked for a martial arts school and moved up to Seattle  when I was a kid and I found Oom Yung Doe.  I trained for a few years and my grades in school started to go up  and my overall demeanor was improving a lot,  so I  moved back to Boston.   At that point I wasn’t involved in Oom Yung Doe for a couple of years; then I signed up on my own when I was 16 or 17 (years of age.)
__________________________________________________JV: Before you were 16 or 17 you took Oom Yung Doe yourself?
AG: I actually took Oom Yung Doe in Seattle 

JV: Interesting  and you came back here and there wasn’t any?

AG: Actually, I came back here and I wasn’t looking for it.  I was actually getting  into trouble
JV: You don’t look like the kind of kid who got into trouble

AG: Well if you met my family and where I grew up that’s all there was, was trouble!  But you know, we choose how to live our lives.

JV: You’re doing great things for the community of Medford. It’s great to have your storefront on Salem Street.  I think you add to the community. I like to have a variety of  things  you know beyond the cookie cutter things. It’s nice to have Dempsey’s etc.
_______________________________________________ AG: Thank you, other than like hair salons

JV: You know (that) I like to hang out at Dunkin’ Donuts,  I’ve seen you there,  but Dunkin’ Donuts is a cookie cutter thing. I  mean I like my iced coffee but it’s nice to have places that are different, different flavors for the community. And we don’t have enough of that in Medford.  In fact, I was talking to Bob Penta yesterday and he wants to totally eradicate that drive, Clippership Drive icate that drive …

AG: Oh that whole thing is horrible

JV: And he wants to have the whole thing on the waterfront. 

I was at Leland Cheung’s function in Somerville.  Do you know Leland, who is running for senate? 

AG: I’ve heard of him

JV: He and Pat Jehlen are facing off with each other on September 8th. I was at his function last Wednesday night (July 20, 2016)  at the Assembly Mall on the waterfront and I just couldn’t believe how bustling it was, more than Station Landing. They’ve really carved out a nice place for people to go and hang out.  And it was a beautiful day with people all along at these little restaurants. It had charm – it was something different,   like Union Square.

I grew up in Somerville, so I grew up here in the sixties and  it has it’s charm now. We  have a comfortable place to go so I was very impressed.

AG: Yeah, I feel like Medford doesn’t utilize the river enough it’s just kind of sitting there
JV: I said to Bob Penta,  why don’t we put a night club right over the river at the Craddock Bridge, right near Maury Carroll’s place.      

I love Carrol’s, have you been there?

AG: Yes,  I’ve been there once, when it first opened.  I said hello and I got a small  dish of something
JV: And he’s got to put up with all that traffic because they’re re-doing that bridge. So Medford will thrive again at some point,  but you’re on Salem Street,  right? You were elsewhere before?
AG I was in Medford Square, initially, went right into Medford Square.  It has this kind of illusion of looking busy, and then when you are in the square all day it kind of has it’s peak times  or else it’s really not that busy. When we went in there we were (also) in Davis Square.  Totally night and day on how busy the square is,  so I eventually moved it to Salem Street because it’s right on Route 60. There’s a lot more drive by traffic

JV: David Square has the luxury of having the subway, and now your brother has a  store in Cambridge?

AG: He does. A little while ago we moved it on to Mass Ave. for a better location 

JV: from Davis Square?

AG: Yes,  it’s almost in Davis Square,  it’s right off the bike path on Mass Ave.
JV: So you could walk right to it from Mass Ave.

AG: Yes,  like a five minute walk from Davis.

JV:We here at Boston Free Radio love the Davis Square Cinema.

AG: It’s one of the last privately owned ones.

JV: That and the Capitol which is co-owned by the same company.  So the Capitol in Arlington, right down the street. It is good to get a movie at a price a little less expensive than the big boys.

AG: Nice!
JV: Cost me more to park last night than it did for the movie since I get in for free(the screening of Suicide Squad.)  I should have parked the car in the South End and walked. It would have been good for me but instead I parked at the Wellington and took the train in. But now, next time, I’ll know. I’ve been going to these things for years and I don’t like to take the car in because it’s like $30.00 to park.  It’s crazy
AG: In Boston? 
JV: Yes.
AG: I hate driving in Boston

JV: I figure (if) I park in the South End and put a buck in the meter and by eight o’clock it’s off. It’s just nice having the car there instead of taking the train  but that’s enough about my extra curricular … So the Davis Square Cinema and your Oom Yung Doe is there, do you get students that go from one to the other  like from your store to your brother’s?

AG: Oh, yes, definitely and we also try to do a lot of communal things  like we’ll  have one big lesson at one of the schools  and the students from all the different ones go to that school for that one lesson.

JV: That’s great. So they all get to meet

AG: Yes. We have five schools right now and we’re getting ready to open a sixth one soon in Lexington and I think it’s really important when training that the people know
that there’s more than one school.

JV Where do you find all the teachers 
AG:  So we have an intern program. A student signs up and if they’re interested  and they can just start learning how to teach  and, you know, the people really get into it. We teach them how to teach; (teach) them how to do a lot of things.  Now we have three or four interns that are instructors that are looking to open their own locations.  So within a year we could have eight or nine locations opened…  that’s pretty exciting
JV: That is wild. We’ve got to get a radio station in Medford 

What I wanted to tell you is that tonight here in the next room we have a hot set and  Dan Hurley and …this guy is one of your neighbor’s. Do you know Paul Donato?  Dan Hurley is  one of those guys that runs Donato’s office, which is near you.  and he has a show called Somerville Pundits. (on Somerville TV.)

Somerville is a great place to get things started once we get it in Medford.   

AG: I think that’s what Medford needs is more community involvement,  especially through radio and television media. That’s one of the things Somerville has a lot of, and Cambridge has a lot of. I’m actually able to see it because we have locations in those areas, so I’m hoping that Medford can step it up too, a little bit.  
JV: Well, the Medford/Somerville connection is very important too because Tufts (University) is in both cities.
AG right
JV: And it would be nice for Somerville to have a satellite station too, through Medford, and there is talk of that. We’ve got Winchester on one side and Somervill eon the other, so there’s a lot of potential. 

Now, on to the Red Sox. We all love the Sox, what are you doing at Fenway Park?
AG: On August 31st we’re doing a demonstration of Oom Yung Doe to open up the Red Sox Game. That will be pretty good – we actually have one of our masters from California traveling to Boston just to come and do the demonstration with us.

JV: Now will the Red Sox videotapie it for you or do you get a tape of it?
AG: You know I’m not sure. We just did the Boston Celtics game almost a couple of  months ago and they taped the whole thing for us. It was right out on the court so that was pretty exciting for us 
JV:Because if they give you that footage  and permission the thing with Medford access TV is – have a highlight reel.

AG: Oh yeah and that’s one thing too the video  is getting the video out there  because we’ve done the Celtics now, we’re doing the Red Sox,  we had a really good  demonstration in Chinatown  and what was really good about that is that there were a bunch of different martial arts schools doing demonstrations as well. You could  clearly see the different levels of skills out there so when we demonstrated a lot of
people thought  it was impressive. 

I think these things helped adding to our exposure but also our credibility. I also think that’s why things are  getting busy.
JV: Well Fenway is a magical place. About three or four years ago I was taping the  football and hockey games for Winthrop as I’m a member at Winthrop access television too. They hired me to go tape (and) so we did Fenway park.  I don’t know if you remember when Fenway was renting out ice time  to different schools? Two schools would be on the ice – it would be, in our case, Winthrop and another school It was night and it was freezing.  I was on first base and the pitcher’s mound  taping  

It was very exciting because I’m not ON the pitcher’s mound, I’m on this ice thing that was sitting on the pitcher’s mound and I’m thinking this is neat.  I just took in the whole experience of being in Fenway park and  doing something that I  love. So it’s going to be great for you
AG oh yeah I  think that will be cool definitely taken in the ambiance –  even just being in TD Garden it was a pre-game show but even still  instead of 40,000 people it was like 5,000 people. It’s still 5,000 people

JV: That’s more than what we have out here listening instead we have hundreds of people listening, so you’re doing other things in September and August
AG oh yeah we have a lot of demonstrations coming up we have the August Moon
Festival in chinatown  and we’re doing a demonstration there

JV is that like the italian festival?
AG yeah it’s like a chinese equivalent if no one has checked it out I would highly
recommend it it’s a really big deal for the chinese community

JV  you know you go down to the north end and there’s pizza and such sixties groups s

AG  yeah st. anthony’s feast, i used to go every year and get some food and stuff 
JV so now do they have food out and the same kind of set up?
AG it’s pretty similar they have some food vendors     there’s also a lot of
chinese resturaunts in the area that you can just go into  a lot of performances it’s
just a really good time  a lot of people show up to our demonstration  and the stage is

JV: So you have a stage?
AG: Yes, we have an elevated stage  that we do our demonstrations on
JV: Now are there  other people from the martial arts community there like different  groups?
AG: And that’s what makes it interesting is that there’s like six or seven different martial arts schools and they are  doing demonstrations. So what we do teach is East Asian martial arts, so it really fits in with everything… and the event.

Then right  after that the next weekend we have Greenfest  which is in front of Boston City Hall Plaza – so Greenfest is what it sounds like.

JV: Green energy

AG: Yes, it’s green energy and there will be performances there as well  and we’re going to be part of that. We’ll be on two different stages, We’ll actually be taking people through actual lessons  as well so it’s a pretty big event 
JV: City hall plaza that where we used to have rock shows, Ben Orr from the Cars had played at one of them, so now they have Greenfest there. 
AG yeah 
JV it should do well 
AG: I think this is the eighth or ninth year – (it’s an) annual (event) and I  guess it’s big probably bigger than our Red Sox demo…
JV the people you’ll be in front of
AG: Right.  Attendees spectators  and then right after that is the Red Sox on the 31st  and then sprinkled between that we have some small demos  a street festival in Newton, Natick’s farmer’s market type of demonstration we’re doing,  so it’s going to be pretty jam packed  all the way through September
JV: So you have six stores how do you work that out so that everyone’s happy?
AG: That’s a good question, We’re a pretty tight knit group  because we’re not doing  it for the business sake, we’re doing it for the meetings  we’re here to show the people  the best way to improve themselves. So you have the local instructors –  I’m actually an  assistant head instructor,  which is one tier below a regional instructor. What they do is they actually travel around to the different schools  and give back support to all
the   local instructors, help make sure everyone is successful and on the right page  and just make sure everything is moving forward and doing well and then above that you have
the national instructors and then you have the master teaching team and they travel all  around the country  to all the different places where there are schools. So  it’s this
multi-tiered system where it makes a  makes the line pretty strong  it’s like everyone is  learning from a master  that has a very high skill level  and very high quality  instructors  so yeah that’s kind of how things expand and grow and don’t grow out
of  control more imprtantly  as things grow  and as things grow the quality  is very high 

JV: Very nice. You’ve got so much going on it’s mind boggling  how do you keep it all  straight
AG: Usually every Monday i sit down and try to organize everything and try to keep track of everything  it’s a lot sometimes 

JV: I want to ask about Oom Yung Doe,  where did it originate?

AG: Our grand master  actually trained in the mountains of Korea  as a child so from the time he was seven years old he started his training  in  basically the wilderness in the mountains of Korea 
JV: it’s secluded
AG: Yes, secluded. That’s how you traditionally train is away from society  and a lot of that sort of thing. Your training is  a lot of your life,  and that’s our grand master,  he traditionally  trained in the mountains for most of his life. Then he actually ran school for awhile there in Korea  through the fifties and sixties. He (then) came here and opened his first  school  in 1972.  He’s been teaching students and instructors  ever since  so  that’s it.  We have two other masters  right now since the school’s opened  two more people have gotten to become masters and one of them is one that travels around  pretty
consistenly and teaches students and instructors

JV: When did you meet the master ?
AG: The grand master?

JV: Yes
AG: The Grand Master actually lives in San Diego, so I didn’t get to meet him, probably until my third year. I went to one of those seminars where i got to meet him  and I was really shocked because he was in his seventies or early eighties and he really only looks liek he’s forty-five, still has a lot of black hair no wrinkles he demonstrated and knocked a few of the instructors back without even trying
JV: Sort of like Morpheus in the film The Matrix
AG: Yeah,  and the condition  and the strength he’s got  at the age he’s at is really  good
JV: That’s amazing how he’s not feeling his age or you’re not feeling your age  and so this a good thing

AG:  That’s what amazed me  because on my mom’s side there’s a lot of cancer and  health issues  so for me even though i started as a teenager most teens aren’t worried
about health

JV no no they think they’re going to live forever
AG exactly but it was different for me because i had seen it all of my life  a few of  my uncles and my aunt had cancer and other issues 
JV i’m shocked seeing young people smoking
AG oh yeah it’s crazy but it is that way though  you never really think about it  until you get older  it was different in my situation because i was thinking about my health  you know it’s horrifying that i’m thinking about my internal health  and my body breaking down and getting cancer  it’s a horrible thought i mean if i get a cough i’m  miserable until it’s gone  i like to be really healthy  and in control myself and  the  thought of my body breaking down i really don’t want that 

JV do you focus on diet
AG yeah you eat healthy  generally healthy once you start training you  get in touch with what your body really needs  like through the training and meditation  you really
start getting in tune with what your body needs  so it’s been huge for me  and i’ve been going ten years strong  without stopping now 

JV that’s pretty good 
AG yeah and after ten years i feel like i know something  and then the grand master comes into town and then i feel like i know nothing again
JV now when you met the master was it like a Yoda moment?
AG well i met one of the masters before i met the grand master  but yeah you  go  into the school and meet him and he’s glowing  you know he’s got like this radiant look   around him  and strength and you can just see it even before he even starts to move  and  then you meet him and you automatically think he’s a master you picture a bully type and he’s like the nicest person  that you’ll ever meet he’s got this incredible charm  almost  like supernatural  strength
JV now have you looked at other masters from other forms of martial arts  and have  you seen differences ?
AG oh yeah that’s one thing people have to understand about martial arts  is there’s no such thing as registering your hands as lethal weapons  or even what a black belt meams
it varies so dramatically from school to school  that you really have to do your research because  what a black belt means in one school can mean something different in another 
you know and that’s why we do all these different demonstrations  is ultimately what it  comes down to is  the ability if they can’t demonstrate them  how do yu hink they are
going to get to a certain level  if they can’t show you a certain level  so that’s a big reason why we do all these demonstrations  or videos you don’t see a lot of schools doing  that  we have the ability and we have the content  so that’s it that’s the big part of it

JV: You know you can teach classes but the best way is to just do it 
AG: yeah, definitely
JV: And to do it you make your mistakes and you have your successes. It really is the same with editing (TV) you know. I  could have three four five classes (but) it’s not the same as
working on a movie with someone. You learn from your mistakes.  It’s probably the same with Oom Yung Doe?  _______________________________________________

AG: Like i was saying earlier with our internship program what it essentially is. like  saying  “Hey, Joe, go out and teach a warm-up.” 
JV: I  don’t know how to teach a warm-up

AG: I know but see how you do that

JV yeah 

AG You make a mistake, you jump in and fix it. As an instructor and you get better and better with time.  Very much a trade in a sense with people and more of their bodies
you’re not just teaching somebody a simple skill,  you’re actually helping to improve their health  and relieve stress and just a more healthy balance and more strong  things
that are going to effect every part of their lives.

JV: I stepped in to say hi to you yesterday and you had a mother and her son there  interesting to watch a young guy do that instead of playing video games or the couch potato thing that most kids are into today. They’re fascinated by the technology today.
AG: It’s bad. I remember when I was a kid I was born in the eighties on the cusp of  the technology boom  and I have memories of being outside and climbing trees,  which I don’t
see anymore. It’s just upsetting that was the best thing about my childhood and playing hide and seek outside and now there’s just so much technology and the summer is shortened
and now kids just jump on the tablet or their phones, I didn’t even have a phone when I was in school that was a big deal.

JV Saturday night I went up to York Beach because we had a cottage there in  the  fifties and sixties and I was born in ’54. I   don’t mind telling you and so like in ’61 we had these four trees in the back of the cottage and they went like way up and you know I  was like six or seven years old and this is cool I climb all the way up the tree and my mother comes out she can’t believe she sees her son all the way up at the top and says
down now,.  so yeah I climbed down but it probably wasn’t a smart move for me  defying  gravity. But I had a whole forest to play with  but now it’s all gone it’s all cottages. We’re talking fifty-five years ago  and it was just a different world  

AG: I  thought about getting rid of my smart phone but i can’t, got to be with the times. 
JV: One of my best buddies got rid of his smart phone and he’s about eight years  younger than me. He lives out of state. He just couldn’t take it, Apple basically just threw me into it and they said “you need this.”  I knew they were giving me the hard sell but  they still were right for what i do … and what you do  …we need them 

AG: Exactly
JV: And you know it’s great to communicate with  your brother Jonathan Good  with  a store on Mass Ave Cambridge going towards Arlington, right ?

AG: Right.  
JV:  Out of Davis Square you have six  Oom Yung Doe stores and there are two main ones?
AG: I wouldn’t say “main ones,” I’d say the ones that have been around the longest.

JV: In Lexington and where else?

AG: So it’s Medford, Cambridge, Newton, Natick, West Cambridge and we’re opening a Washington location soon

JV: Thanks for coming back to the Pop Explosion, Alex.  Come back soon and spin some of your favorite tunes.