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Chuck Norris

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Chuck Norris

 

Can you remember the first time you went into the cinema to watch your first martial arts movie?

As a martial arts nut from my early teenage years, I used to sneak into the local movie theatre and watch my favourite movie stars show off their Kung Fu and Karate skills.

Bruce Lee may have been the first movie star I loved, but Chuck Norris was certainly a close second for me and probably a first for the generation behind me.

Chuck Norris has been a huge presence in the martial arts movie scene for the last 50 years. If you were brought up on 1970s martial arts movies like me, no one can forget the iconic fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon.

Chuck Norris was born Carlos Ray Norris on March 10, 1940, in Ryan, Oklahoma. he is an American martial artist, actor, film producer, and screenwriter. Chuck’s life story is filled with remarkable achievements, including writing books and being one of the early pioneers of karate tournament fighting in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

 

Chuck Norris: Early Life

Chuck Norris grew up in a small town, and his childhood was marked by many financial struggles. His father, Ray Norris, was a World War II Army veteran, mechanic, and bus driver, while his mother, Wilma Scarberry Norris, worked as a cashier and waitress. Chuck was the middle child in a family of three boys.

 

Norris developed an interest in practicing martial arts during his time in the US Air Force, where he served as a military policeman. Stationed in South Korea, he began training in Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art. After his discharge from the Air Force, he continued to pursue martial arts, eventually earning black belts in multiple disciplines, including Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, and eventually Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the late 90s while in his late 50s.

 

Martial Arts Career

Chuck Norris gained widespread recognition in the martial arts world as a fearless fighter, winning numerous championships as a points fighter. He became a six-time undefeated World Professional Middleweight Karate title winner and holder. His success in martial arts fighting tournaments led to a career as a sort of martial arts instructor, enabling him to open a chain of karate schools.

 

Acting Career of Chuck Norris

Norris transitioned to acting in the late 1960s, making his film debut in “The Green Berets” (1968). Starring John Wayne, it was his iconic role in “Way of the Dragon” (1972), where he starred alongside Bruce Lee, that brought him international fame and kicked off his movie career. Norris became a martial arts icon through a series of action films in the 1970s and 1980s, such as “Missing in Action” (1984) and “Delta Force” (1986).

 

On top of his film career, Chuck Norris gained massive popularity on television with the long-running, legendary modern-day Weston series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which aired from 1993 to 2001. He portrayed Cordell Walker, a martial artist and Texas Ranger, and the show cemented his status as a martial arts cultural icon.

 

Personal Life

Chuck Norris has been married twice. His first marriage to Dianne Holechek ended in divorce in 1988 after 30 years, and he later married Gena O’Kelley in 1998. He has five children.

Off-screen, Norris is known for his philanthropic work, supporting various charitable organizations and causes He started a martial arts organisation called Kick-Start to support children and keep them on the straight and narrow, helping them avoid getting involved with gangs and drugs. He is also a devout Christian and has written several books on martial arts, exercise, philosophy, politics, and Christianity.

 

Chuck Norris becomes an Internet Phenomenon

In the 2000s, Chuck Norris became the subject of a humorous internet phenomenon known as “Chuck Norris facts and jokes.” These satirical factoids made fun of his reputation regarding his strength and toughness, which greatly contributed to his legendary status and further endeared him to a new generation of fans.

 

Legacy

Chuck Norris’s legacy extends beyond his martial arts and acting career. He remains an enduring figure in popular culture, celebrated for his contributions to martial arts and entertainment. His impact on the action film genre and his larger-than-life persona have left an indelible mark on Hollywood and the world of martial arts.

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