Longtime Larchmere resident Joe Golden is making a difference in the neighborhood each day. He helped start a block club on East 124th Street, he delivers Larchmere Life newsletters and on July 7, at this year’s Larchmere Festival, he and students from The Golden School of Urban Self-Defense plan to demonstrate the ancient traditions of kung fu.
“Everyone has a place in the world and martial arts can help you find that space,” Golden said.
That’s one of the key messages Sifu (teacher) Joe brings to his classes in self-defense at The Golden School of Urban Self-Defense, 2610 E. 124th St.
“For fathers and sons, it’s a very positive way to reestablish and strengthen family ties,” he said. “Women also make awesome martial artists, so I encourage moms to stay and learn along with their children. Self-defense skills learned through the martial arts allow us to embrace and walk our path with authority, not as a victim.”
Golden’s training in kung fu martial arts stems from the Indonesian practice of kuntao, as taught to him by Master Gregory Mayo, who runs Northern Wind Martial Arts in Hough, and in turn passed on to Golden’s son, Titus.
“There are many divisions and subcultures in the martial arts,” Golden said. “Every time a generation receives it and passes it on they change it — which is part of why they call it art.”
During his more than 30 years of training, Golden’s earned his way through a rainbow of colored sash rankings to reach his current orange sash. Passing through each color involves much more than physical skill — it also takes into account a person’s efforts to improve mind, body, spirit, the community and to make a difference in the world.
Golden’s philosophy is to meet students “where you are” — meaning he will find a path for you to self-defense training from your own current physical/emotional state. When done, you’ll know how to “roar back and claim your place in the world and peace in your heart,” he said.
Classes: Children $35/month; Adults $50/month (includes twice weekly two-hour classes). No contracts; go month-to-month and work out adjusted schedules. Call Joe at 216-322-7489 to see how you might begin this journey.
Golden is interested in finding donated space — on a temporary or permanent basis — to create a community Dojo (place of workout) as a family resource. Golden said, “I’d love to be able to touch more lives, which a community resource could do, and after 40 some years of exposure to the martial arts, I know I can help in a positive way. In a wave of peace.”
Story and photo by Katie Montgomery, an active member of the Larchmere Community Association.