Michael Gooch: King of the One Finger Press Up!

Michael Gooch on Britain’s Got Talent!

Michael Gooch is a spectacular Guinness Book of World Record Pioneer who has been featured on the wildly popular shows "Britain’s Just Amazing" and "Britain’s Got Talent", and a whole lot more!  This second-degree Karate black belt has made a career of pushing the limits and setting world records!  

An Interview  with the "King of the One Finger Press Up"


Alex Graham: Tell me a bit about yourself and your career in the martial arts.

Michael Gooch (Mick):  I started training in the Martial arts Alex, in 1974 due to seeing the Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon. That inspired me to take up martial arts and there was a Kyokushinkai Karate club that had just opened up and I went and joined that.  Also I had always been into fitness. I had always been one to keep trying to make yourself fitter and stronger.  I did actually complete the Charles Atlas Dynamic Tension Course and got my certificate when I was 15 or 16 years old before starting Karate.  I was quite pleased with myself at the time. Hahaha..

Alex:  Can you tell the readers at Celebrity English about the Kyokushin Karate style?

Michael Gooch King of the One finger press up
Michael Gooch after 30 man Kumite (fighting)!

Mick:  Actually Alex, it is a very physical style. In our style of Karate you do full contact knock down which is like full contact karate. The idea is to knock the other bloke out but you are not actually allowed to punch to the face.  But you can kick and knee as hard as you like to the body and the head.  This suited me fine because it was strong discipline and, you know, strenuous exercise. And like I said, I have always been into to that. So it was just right for me. 

Alex: Wow! That sounds tough!

Mick:  But I have go to be honest Alex.  I’ve been a fanatic in my training and I have really pushed things to the limit you know.  That is why I acquired the skill to do the one finger press up. 

Alex: Yes. And some of the records you have broken have been amazing!

Mick:  Oh yeah I have done loads and loads and loads.

Creating a World Record

Alex: What is the actual World Record for the finger press up?

Mick: Well I did a World Record at Wembley Arena, that was me creating history. Because nobody had ever done it before so I was the first man ever to do the World Record on the one finger press up and to get it into the Guinness Book of World Records.  Yeah it wasn’t in there before so I created history in the world of martial arts and in the world.  And there has never been anyone after me that does it properly meaning, full body movement and locking out. There has never been anyone who does the full press up like I do them.

Alex: Wow!

Mick:  So the Guinness Book Record that I set in 1985 was 45 on the one finger. And I did that for charity as well.

Alex: Excellent! That is truly amazing!

Extreme Preparation

Alex: How do you prepare yourself for something like that or to prepare for a fight in karate?

Mick:What to break a world record and to fight in a competition?

Alex: Yes, maybe they are different but...

Mick: Well Alex, as I said earlier, if I set my mind to do something, and it’s in my heart then I will give it my full, heavy full training to be better than anyone else.  Not to be big headed, I am not saying that to be big headed. It is just how I am, you know.  I train relentlessly so that I know when I go in to do what I am going to do, you know. I am fully 100% physically ready to do what I am going to do and then the last week or so I am rehearsing in my mind what I have to do and then I have already beaten the record when I go and do it.  Because I have already beaten it in my mind.  And because my opponent won’t be as fit and as strong as me because I have done more training.  And he won’t beat me.  That is how I used to be.  

Alex: Phenomenal!

Mick: It’s all good. I always look at Victory as if it is just around the corner.  I think that is important in whatever you are doing. 

The Mentors

 Alex: Did you have a mentor in your life or teachers?  But it seems like you did a lot of it on your own. 

Mick: Yeah it was trial and error Alex.  I didn’t have a mentor for the one finger press up.  But as I said before I have always looked up to Bruce Lee and the founder of Kyokushinkai Karate Masutatsu Oyama commonly known as Karate Master Mas Oyama.  Unfortunately he has passed away,  “May he rest in peace”.  His instructor in England was my instructor Shihan (a high-ranking or highly distinguished instructor)  Steve Arniel (under Master Oyama).  My other instructors were Norman King and Terry Allen they were the ones that had the local Karate club where I used to train.  Most of the breaking and training was done on my own and with a friend.  Just getting so fit and strong just trying to do these things.

Alex: I see.

Mick: Also my parents gave me a firm foundation growing up.  They taught me to be nice and well mannered and say “Thank you” and “Please”.  If you are brought up with firm foundations they pave the way for you and stay with you for life.  I have always been honest and backed up what I said I could do. I have talked the talk and walked the walk as they say. 

Things Don't Always go according to Plan!

Mick: About the Just Amazing with Kenny Lynch & Barry Sheene

This is a good one. Millions saw me do this in 1993. 

Mick: But actually what happened is they hadn’t supported them properly and when I hit them they just spun off the copper tables.  And I didn’t say anything because I was in front of a live audience but I nearly broke me hand Alex!   I nearly broke it. And I had to start again.  And then I broke 2 and me hand bounced off the other 2.  And at the time I felt sick because the supports weren’t right and now I have broke me hand and then I had to do the watermelon and then I had to do the World Record for the press ups.

Alex:  Uh oh and Ouch!

Mick: But in the end as you can see I did it.  That night my hand came up like a balloon but I didn’t actually break it because of all of the conditioning I had done previously.

The Charity Work

Alex: You are a great supporter of charities, can you  tell us a bit about the wonderful work you do?

Mick:Over the years, I have done a lot of charity performances for all types of charities like for children, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, etc. that I have organized myself and with the help of friends.  If I see people or groups or organizations in need, I get involved.  It's always a team effort but you are the catalyst or the one putting in your heart, your mind, your body.

Next January 2014, I will aid 2 WPC (Metropolitan Police Constables) who got shot and killed.  It was very very bad and I know the father of one of victims.  He is doing a benefit night in Manchester and he is doing it in aid of the North West Police Benevolent Fund which is about supporting victims and the police.  I am going to be doing a one-finger press up on the top of a man’s head on a 6-inch nail.

Alex: Is there anything you would like to add?

Mick: Well Alex I hope you and your readers found what I had to say interesting.

Alex: Absolutely.  What an adventure!  I loved it all! From the full on training to the extreme dedication to the extraordinary record setting, and more!  

Mick: The situations you end up in you never dream you would end up in.  It is funny where life takes you. It has been really really great speaking to you and best to you and I will keep in touch with you to let you know about new developments this year.

Alex: Sounds great!  Thank you for your time today.

Mick: It has been a real pleasure.

Alex: For me too, let’s keep in touch.
For more great Record Setting by Michael Gooch: King of the One Finger Press Up go to his website:

Michael Gooch: King of the One Finger Press

Language Learning Section

Natural Language

Vocabulary Boost!

Part One - British and American English

Instructions: Change the casual British English to casual American English. 

a Press Up  =  a push up

a bloke  = a guy

I nearly broke me hand Alex =
I nearly broke my hand Alex (Casual British English Conversational talking)

My hand came up like a balloon  =
My hand became like a balloon

Part Two - Natural Expressions

Instructions: What are the meanings of the following expressions that are common to North America and Britain?

I was quite pleased with myself  =
I was quite happy about what I had done

This suited me fine  =
This was fine with me

pushed things to the limit  =
you make it work as hard as it can; often you make it work so hard that it breaks down or wears out
Find out the maximum potential of something.

I have done loads and loads and loads  = I have don lots and lots and lots

I have always "looked up to" Bruce Lee  = 
to view someone with respect and admiration

catalyst = a person or thing that precipitates an event or change

Michael Gooch Updates! 

Published on Aug 7, 2013

Mick Gooch in London England, after being accepted into the "Ripleys Believe It Or Not".

Ripley Radio: An On-Demand Oddcast – Horror Writing, Haunted House Day & One Finger Push-ups (Michael Gooch) 

Downloadable Podcast


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