The name of Chuck Norris is pretty easy to recognize, thanks to all the jokes and internet memes surrounding it. Most of those memes and jokes reference Norris’ notorious strength and fighting ability, and for a good reason. Norris has earned top marks in six different martial arts disciplines and even created his own. He is a phenomenon for sure and worth being known.
How did Chuck Norris get started in martial arts?
Chuck Norris joined the Air Force as an Air Policeman at the age of 18 in 1958, and it was there that his martial arts journey began. In 1960, he transferred to the Osan Air Base in South Korea. While in South Korea, Norris took a class in Judo but sadly broke his shoulder only one week into the class.
The time recovering from a broken shoulder was not wasted because Norris witnessed Tang Soo Do during this time off. Combat Museum reports that it was the grace and spinning kicks that really mesmerized Norris and made him want to be a part of it. His Judo teacher introduced him to the Tang Soo Do teacher, and Norris’ journey really began.
Norris told the LA Times, “I was training in Tang Soo Do four hours a day, from 6 in the evening until 10 at night, Monday through Friday, and then judo on Saturdays. Being a 19-year-old kid and not really athletic, it was tough. “
Chuck Norris has proven to be quite prolific in honing his skills in various martial arts. He doesn’t only go halfway, either. Norris has black belts in at least six martial arts methodologies. Here are the ones where he holds at least a black belt.
- Tang Soo Do: a Korean striking martial art based on Karate that is practiced through forms and lighter forms of sparring.
- Judo: a Japanese grappling art that focuses on throwing your opponent onto their back, giving you the advantage.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: a martial art and combat sport based on ground fighting and submission holds.
- Karate: a Japanese/Okinawan martial art that is primarily a striking art that uses punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes, and open hand techniques.
- Taekwondo: a Korean martial art characterized by punching and kicking techniques.
What about the sixth black belt?
The sixth martial art that Chuck Norris holds a black belt in deserves its section because he actually invented this discipline himself. Norris started developing Chun Kuk Do in the early 1970s, but it wasn’t officially named until 1990.
Chun Kuk Do has been compared to Karate due to its similarities in traditional forms and stances. However, Norris has incorporated other styles into Chun Kuk Do over the years. It is more of an all-encompassing fighting style. Chun Kuk Do also teaches an honor code and uses various weapons, such as Nunchuks, a Bo staff, and Sai.
Chuck Norris has more accolades than just black belts
While holding a black belt in no less than six martial arts, one of which you created yourself, is enough recognition for most people, Chuck Norris goes far beyond just that. According to Fandom Wiki, here is a list of other accolades Norris has received through the years.
- First person ever voted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame.
- From 1965 through 1980, Norris won many state, national, and international competitions.
- Received ‘Competitor of the Year’ award in 1968
- First man ever to win the World Professional Karate Championship
- ‘Instructor of the Year’ award in 1975
- ‘Competitor of the Year’ award again in 1977
- Founder of the United Fighting Arts Federation, which has more than 2,300 Chun Kuk Do Black Belts around the world.
- In 1997, Norris reached his top milestone when he was the first man ever in the western hemisphere to be awarded an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in Tae Kwon Do.