Dana Goodsen, Gone But Not Forgotten

The Australian kickboxing community was recently shocked to lose one of its most colourful and well-known personalities in Dana Goodson. Dana "The Trainer" as he was affectionately referred to by his peers will be irreplaceable to the industry where he proved beyond any doubt that he was indeed the trainer of champions. He was simply Australia’s most prominent and successful trainer. A craftsman of his field. A man who had the distinct privilege of fulfilling all his ambitions as a trainer.

Master Dana Goodson began his martial arts training in the United States in 1965 when he studied the Ed Parker system of Kempo Karate. In the era of martial arts legends such as Benny Urquidez and Joe Lewis, Dana began competing in martial arts tournaments at sixteen years of age. In over 200 fights in tournament competition he came up against stiff competition including Benny the Jet himself. In 1976, in a fight to determine the World Series of Martial Arts champion, Dana took on The Jet in a classic contest, eventually being overcome in a close fight. It helped young Dana evolve into a more focussed and determined individual.

Upon moving to Hawaii, Dana sharpened up his boxing skills and accumulated an 11-1 record in the conventional boxing arena. Purely by accident, Dana came into contact with Charlie Jaiut, a former Thai bantamweight champion, who endeavoured to teach Goodson the finer points of the ancient art of Muay Thai. Before long, Dana had won the Hawaiin Heavyweight Muay Thai title and Australian Heavyweight title. In an interesting twist, a future student of Dana’s fought on the same card as Dana’s Australian title win, winning the amateur equivalent of the Australian Heavyweight title. It was none other than an 18 year old Stan Longinidis.

Dana defeated then world champ Ross Scott in a non title bout, yet ironically this victory stalled his career as opponents became reluctant to accept fights with him. Almost two years passed without a fight, until in 1983 Dana received a shot he had been waiting for when he took on a recently crowned World Champion in one of his first defences, none other than heavyweight great Maurice Smith. Unfortunately, the young Smith proved too much for Dana and would go on to hold the same title for eight years. Although a major title evaded him, Dana compiled a highly commendable kickboxing record of 18-4 before retiring. However the knowledge and experience gained proved to be the foundation for the next great phase of Dana’s life as he sought to pass on his wisdom as a full time trainer. An early pupil of Dana’s named Teddy Limoz, whom Dana trained while he still resided in Hawaii, was the first to display the effective knowledge passed on to him when he defeated American pioneer Joe Lewis by TKO. Yet Dana’s exceptional talents as a trainer were not fully realised or appreciated until he moved to Australia to make his permanent residence.

As head trainer of the Fitzroy All Stars gymnasium, Dana produced a solid and popular stable of local fighters who used to captivate crowds in the early days of Australian kickboxing. It was in 1990 that Dana Goodson joined forces with none other than Stan Longinidis who was returning from a two year stay in the USA. The young Stan, guided by Master Dana, went on to revolutionise Australian kickboxing and capture mainstream attention. With Dana in his corner, Longinidis won six World Titles and became Australia’s most reknowned champion.

As a fighter or trainer, Dana achieved remarkable success. Further proof of this is the other 80 plus fighters who have won various Victorian, Australia and South Pacific titles through his guidance. Popular Australian names from past and present such as Nick Talakouris, Songul Oruc (2 X Women’s World Champion), Nick Tetores, Jim Tetores, Evan Paschalides, Laos Toohey, Chris Allen, Tibor Vermes, Chris Collard and Paul Robinson are a mere sampling. In reminiscing about the past, Dana would reflect on some of his proudest moments as a trainer. Besides the attention and success he attained with Longinidis, among Dana’s greatest achievements was guiding Songul Oruc to a South Pacific Women’s title in the best female fight yet seen in Australia. Oruc won the title over Stephanie Curtis at Melbourne’s Festival Hall in 1994 and in doing so became Australia’s most recognisable female combatant. It led to Oruc becoming Australia’s first female World Champion.

Nick Tetores, a student of Dana’s since the early days, became the ISKA Super Welerweight World Champion in 1998. After years of battling hard on the circuit. His defeat of highly credentialled Frenchman Christophe Tendil was special in that Nick had done it the hard way for years with Goodson in his corner, never taking the easy route and earning his title in a way so many choose to avoid the hard way. It definitely would stand out as a testament to Dana and Nick’s work ethic.

One of the main ingredients of Dana’s considerable teaching abilities was the fact he understood the psychology of a fighter and, in particular, his fighters. Rather than superficially going through the motions, Dana knew how to bring out the best in everyone he worked with.

In the early hours of the 28th of December 2000, Dana Goodson left the world. His funeral, held at St Paul’s church in Coburg, Melbourne on the 8th of January produced a huge turn out. People who had come to mourn the passing of the old Master. During the cremation at Fawkner Cemetary, Stan Longinidis paid a fitting and emotional final tribute to his old mentor as the coffin was lowered into the ground where Dana Goodson would rest in peace. "One, two, three baby!" yelled Stan, echoing one of Dana’s familiar instructions that he would call out to his fighters from the corner. "One, two, three!" Soon, all had joined Stan in this one last farewell to this most respected and important figure.

Dana is survived by wife Kim, and sons Dana Jr and Aaron.

Rest in peace Dana Goodson. Gone but never forgotten.


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