Most people have heard of Chuck Norris due to his massive online following with the "Chuck Norris Facts" or his infomercials for the Total Gym or even "Walker: Texas Ranger", but before all that there was a reason that people looked up to him and cheered him on. The following is a list of ten things you may not know about he man whose beard is too tough to be cut by a razor and so, he has to kick himself in the face to shave.
10. He's OLD!!
Chuck may look old, but really not as old as he is. Born in the same year as Bruce Lee, Mr. Norris turns 72 this year! And he could still kick the crap out of people less than half his age. Next time you think Norris isn't that great, find somebody else who's 72 and compare.
9. He used to be more broke than you.
You may think this is presuming a bit much on my part, but trust me. The very fact that you have a computer or even access to one in order to read this means he used to be more broke than you. Chuck Norris grew up in Ryan, Oklahoma near Texas. His mother raised him along with his brothers pretty much on her own and they were so broke that they had to sleep on pallets. I believe there were some unsettling stories about rats too, but I don't even want to remember that to go into it. Any way you look at it, this man has come a long way.
8. The Winning Streak
Before anyone ever uttered the words ultimate fighting championship, there were Karate tournaments. These are still around today and they can include singles kick boxing competitions, kata competitions, weapons, breaking, etc. Well, Chuck Norris was big in these and I mean BIG. He didn't start out undefeated, but for the last five years of his competitive career, he finished that way. He didn't just sit on his butt and duck opponents in those last five years either. Norris won every tournament he entered and he entered a lot of them. I don't think there was anyone who defeated him which Norris didn't go back and beat later on. It's almost as if he quit out of boredom in the end. It's hard to find footage of his fights anymore, but if you get the chance, I'd watch some. He was the real deal and he worked hard to become so.
7. Bruce Lee
A lot of people aren't aware of this, but Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee were friends and even work out partners long before filming of Return of the Dragon. Some people and sites will tell you that Chuck Norris was even one of Bruce's students. Don't buy into that though. It's nonsense. Norris was no more Lee's student than Lee was Norris'. What nonmartial artists don't get is that you can learn from another martial artist without being their student. It's like trading really. Bruce and Chuck were both very skilled and knowledgable in martial arts, but they knew different things from different styles. So, it made sense that Bruce would show Chuck a little of what he knew and Chuck would show Bruce a little of what he knew. In addition to Jun Rea (I hope I spelled his name right, but I doubt it. Apologies), it's said that Chuck Norris may have had something to do with Bruce Lee changing his mind slightly when it came to high kicks in his own personal training. Origninally, Bruce didn't bother with kicking above the waist, because he felt it was less useful when in a real fight. Norris argued that a lot of times that may be the case, but it's nice to be able to kick high if you need to.
6. Grand Master
In the late nineties, after training in the martial arts for some thirty odd years, Chuck Norris became one of a very small group of people from this side of the world to ever be given the title of grand master in his original martial art. There were even some reports that he was the first caucasion to ever receive the rank. However, it seems that those were exagerated a bit and that there were at least one or two before him. But when you look at how long the art has been around and we've had access to it in this part of the world, that's still saying A LOT.
5. Not just spinning back kicks
One of the misconceptions about Norris has to do with his knowledge and fighting techniques. He always seems to be doing the same spinning back kick or Karate reverse punch or whatever in his films, but that's far from all he knows. As suggested previously, Norris did learn some of Bruce Lee's art or at least ideas as he was developing Jeet Kune Do. He also trained with several other competing martial artists in his tournament days and had a brown or black belt in Judo at the same time as his one in Tai Kwon Do. He's trained with the grappling legend Gene Lebel and done some BJJ I believe. The thing is, he keeps learning and that's what good martial artists do. It doesn't necesarily have to be in different arts, but it can be.
4. Self made movie star
When Chuck Norris started making movies, his type of action was still very new to Hollywood and it was actually very hard to get anything off the ground. Norris had to cowrite his own script, raise the money to finance it himself, and then couldn't get a theater to play it. So, he and his brother would rent out entire movie theaters to show his first movie in and they did this for quite some time until they could pay off their loans and get enough interest in the film to get bigger backing. It was "Good Guys Wear Black". Check it out some time.
3. Did his own stunts
Partially for the same reasons as above, there being little money to hire extra people, Norris did his own stunts (at least in his first few films). You didn't hear about that as much as you would with say, Jackie Chan, but it was something Norris was capable of and he did it. On the set of "The Octagon" it made fore some interesting stories.
2. He made his own art
Lots of people are aware that Bruce Lee created his own martial art called, Jeet Kune Do, but not so many people are aware that Chuck Norris did the same thing. It's a very different art than Lee's, but focuses on many different areas and different fighting ranges as JKD also does.
1. He likes the Chuck Norris facts.... or at least some of them.
I had heard rumors of Norris getting angry about the internet stories about him at one point. So, I was surprised when I saw him talking about them in an interview and smiling. I don't know what his initial thoughts on the subject were or really what they are overall, but he seemed okay with them on that particular day. In fact, Norris even shared a few of his favorites in the interview. I believe one of them was that he had counted to infinite... twice.