When you think of Chuck Norris, often what comes to mind is one of two things: action movie star (recalling Mr. Norris’ numerous feature films), or television star, because of his long-running CBS television series, “Walker, Texas Ranger”.
What you may not think of is that prior to his on-screen career, Mr. Norris was a martial arts star who won many championships. Of of his many victories are his being a six-time undefeated World Professional Middleweight Karate Champion. Mr. Norris was also a renowned teacher in the martial arts. Some of his many students included Steve McQueen, Bob Barker, Priscilla Presley and Donnie & Marie Osmond.
Mr. Norris was the first person ever voted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. From 1965 through 1980, he won many state, national, and international championships. Mr. Norris received the Competitor of the Year award in 1968 and was the first man ever to win the World Professional Karate Championship. In 1975, Mr. Norris received the Instructor of the Year award, and in 1977, the Competitor of the Year.
Mr. Norris is also founder of the United Fighting Arts Federation with more than 2,300 Chuck Norris System Black Belts all over the world.
In 1997, Mr. Norris reached another milestone in his life: he was the first man ever in the western hemisphere to be awarded an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in the Tae Kwon Do martial arts system. This was a first in 4,500 years of tradition.
Mr. Norris’ intense drive and determination extended beyond his martial arts and acting career. He was an offshore powerboat racer with speeds of 140 miles per hour. In 1991, Mr. Norris and his team, with sponsor “Popeye’s Chicken”, won the World Off Shore Powerboat Championships. Mr. Norris went on to set a new world record by racing a 38 foot Scarab boat 605 miles across the Great Lakes, from Chicago to Detroit, in 12 hours and 8 minutes.
In 1988, Mr. Norris wrote his autobiography, “The Secret of Inner Strength” (Little Brown Publishing), which reached the New York Times Best Seller list. He followed up a few years later with a second book, “The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems”, also with Little Brown Publishing.
When Mr. Norris was asked how he would like to be remembered, his answer was as a Humanitarian.
He has gotten a good start from the following:
- Spokesperson for the United Way, doing an eight minute commercial, which helped bring in over two million dollars.
- Spokesperson for the Veterans Administration – visiting over 12 V.A. hospitals and speaking with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War Veterans including on from World War I.
- Winning the 1998 Epiphany award on Walker, Texas Ranger for the best Christian Episode.
- Winning the Jewish Humanitarian Man of the Year Award.
- Active involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for twenty years by making dreams come true for terminally ill children.
- Winning the BMI Music Television Award for Walker, Texas Ranger theme song, “Eyes of a Ranger”.
- Placement on the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
- Working as a commissioned police officer in the city of Terrell, Texas.
- Motivational speaker for many Christian ministries, including the T.D. Jakes Ministry, Trinity Broadcasting, and Bill Glass crusade.
- Mr. Norris thinks that his most rewarding accomplishment was the creation of the Kick Drugs Out of America Foundation.
With the help of former President George Bush, Mr. Norris began teaching martial arts as part of the curriculum at the M. C. Williams Middle School in Houston, Texas. The program was incredibly successful in helping the students to raise their self-esteem, instill discipline and respect, and get them out of gangs. The program is now in 30 schools with over 4,200 youth actively participating.
The following are the twelve points that guide Mr. Norris’ life:
- I will develop myself to the maximum of my potential in all ways.
- I will forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements.
- I will always be in a positive frame of mind and convey this feeling to every person that I meet.
- I will continually work at developing love, happiness and loyalty in my family and acknowledge that no other success can compensate for failure in the home.
- I will look for the good in all people and make them feel worthwhile.
- If I have nothing good to say about a person, I will say nothing.
- I will give so much time to the improvement of myself that I will have no time to criticize others.
- I will always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
- I will maintain an attitude of open-mindedness toward another person’s viewpoint while still holding fast to that which I know to be true and honest.
- I will maintain respect for those in authority and demonstrate this respect at all times.
- I will always remain loyal to God, my country, family and my friends.
- I will remain highly goal-oriented throughout my life because that positive attitude helps my family, my country, and myself.