Debbie Goodman has been interested in martial arts since she saw the ‘70s TV series “Kung Fu.” That interest got a boost a couple of decades ago when the martial arts class she was taking was invited to go to San Francisco to be part of Tat Mau Wong’s “Kung Fu Theater.”
“That was where I got my idea for my show,” Goodman says.
It wasn’t until Goodman got involved with the local Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) that she was able to turn her martial arts interest into her own TV shows.
Goodman hosts “Martial Arts Mania,” a series of interviews with well-known martial arts instructors and actors, that airs on the CMAC schedule. CMAC is the public, education and government access television provider for the cities of Fresno and Clovis.
Since starting the project less than three years ago, Goodman has produced about 40 episodes. Interview subjects have included Don “The Dragon” Wilson, James Lew and James Hong.
“I joined CMAC to make a movie about what Citibank had done to my mother. After I made that film, called ‘How Banksters Robbed My Mom and Me,’ I decided that since I had access to cameras and all kinds of equipment, I should make my martial arts show,” Goodman says.
Her first interview was with local Karate teacher, Jimmy Willis. That interview led Goodman to Eric Lee (“Big Trouble in Little China”) who helped her get in touch with James Wilson, the brother and manger to Don Wilson. Each interview she does leads her to more people in the martial arts world.
Goodman travels across the country doing interviews. Part of the time she has someone operate the camera, but there are times when Goodman is host, producer, writer, director and camera operator for an episode.
Her work airs on CMAC (seen on Comcast channel 93 and AT&T U-verse channel 99) and is available online. The episodes have gotten attention from the martial arts world, earning Goodman an award from the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank.
When she’s not talking to the elite in the martial arts world, Goodman teaches high school. She plans to spend more time on the television show once her teaching days are done.
She’s also continued her martial arts training and has reached the level of instructor in the Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu style. Goodman and Wilson are also talking about a series of self-defense instructional videos.
“I never would have done any of this without CMAC, Everyone there has been so helpful,” Goodman says. “I am getting to do something I love as a hobby. I hope it turns into a profession.”
She’s excited about all of the big names in the martial arts world she’s had a chance to meet and interview. Her list of people she would like to interview includes Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan and Keanu Reeves.
The next episode of “Martial Arts Mania” airs 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4.