Updated: Sep 30, 2021
NAME: Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris (a.k.a. Founder of Chun Kuk Do, the World’s Greatest Human, Patron Saint of Roundhouse Kicks)
Scale of Notoriety:
5/5. Who doesn’t know Chuck Norris? Even people who haven’t kept up with his martial arts or acting repertoire will recognise him for the countless Chuck Norris facts floating around on the internet. Besides, everyone knows you don’t go looking for Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris comes to you.
Scale of Influence:
4/5. Along with his achievements in martial arts, film, military service and memehood, Chuck Norris is also a huge supporter of charities. In 1992, He even started his own charitable organisation Kickstart, which provides martial arts training to middle-school students, as a way of making it up to his younger-self through helping teach new generations respect and discipline and how to improve their self-esteem.
Target Status: Alive and being a Lone Wolf at a Ranch in Navasota, Grimes County, Texas, US
While the Chuck Norris we know and love is a hardened (and possibly immortal) badass, as a young child he was actually quite the shy kid, and never viewed himself as particularly athletic or strong. This changed, however, when he was stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea, while he served under the US Air Force, where he acquired his moniker “Chuck” and started learning Tang Soo Do.
In 1962, Chuck Norris returned to the US with a black belt in Tang Soo Do and opened a martial arts studio, making his competitive debut shortly after to build a name for it. He proved himself a fierce competitor, winning many of his fights, and earned his first World Middleweight Karate Championship title in 1968 (which he held for six consecutive years). Chuck Norris eventually retired from competitions in 1974, but still kept up with his martial arts training, later founding American Tang Soo Do and Chun Kuk Do.
In addition to his contributions to martial arts in the US, Chuck Norris is also known for his acting endeavours, kickstarted by his legendary fight with Bruce Lee in the 1972 film ‘Way of the Dragon’ (titled Return of the Dragon in its U.S. distribution).
In 1974, he was encouraged to pursue acting by martial art student and friend Steve McQueen, and later landed his first starring role in 1977, in the action film Breaker! Breaker!. Being a popular choice of action films, the height of Chuck Norris’s film career lasted for most of the 1980s until the early 1990s, where he made the switch to television, playing as the titular character Cordell Walker in 'Walker, Texas Ranger’ (1993) for eight years.
While he hasn’t starred in anything too notable since, the clips from the hit TV Series influenced the creation of Chuck Norris Facts, cementing his status as the untouchable being newer generations have come to know him as on the Internet.
Chuck Norris has Irish and Native American (specifically, Cherokee) roots. While he was never too close to his old man, both Chuck Norris and his dad are military veterans, serving for the US Air Force and in WWII respectively.
Fighting Prowess – Those Chuck Norris facts didn’t make themselves! Bruce Lee even insisted on having him cast as his nemesis in ‘Way of the Dragon’ because he knew Chuck Norris was one of the few people who could match his speed.
Martial Arts Master – In addition to founding two styles of martial arts, Chuck Norris currently boasts black belt status in six martial arts (Tang Soo Do and Chun Kuk Do, as well as Taekwondo, Karate, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo). He also opened more than 30 Karate studios during his time as an instructor, and taught other celebrities like Steve McQueen and Priscilla Presley how to fight.
Calm Mind – Contrary to what the memes might tell you, Chuck Norris is actually a pretty chill guy. In fact, in a real-life run-in with a tough customer who harassed him at a bar about a seat, Chuck Norris simply gave it to him. All in all, in his eyes, most things are better solved by turning the other cheek.
Bruce Lee – Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee go way back. They first met at a tournament in 1968 and quickly formed a friendship. The two also often trained together (in Chuck Norris’s backyard no less!) when Bruce Lee was alive, sparking much curiosity among their fans on who would win in a fight. While Chuck Norris shut most of them down citing that fighting each other for real was something neither of them really wanted, he has claimed that Bruce Lee would probably win if they did.
Jonathan Harris’s Fingers – Chuck Norris’s former vocal coach, Jonathan Harris, was the only man in the world who could get away with sticking his fingers into Chuck Norris’s mouth and stretching it as wide as possible as training for him to speak properly for film acting.
Special Talents: We all know Chuck Norris is skilled at martial arts, but did you know that he’s quite well-known in some circles for his offshore powerboat racing? In fact, in 1991, his team won the World Off Shore Powerboat championships!
As for less extreme hobbies, did you know Chuck Norris is also an author? He published his autobiography, ‘The Secret of Inner Strength’, in 1988, which became a bestseller, and also wrote a self-help book, ‘The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems’.
Nadya Labiba is an Indonesian-Australian currently in her fourth year of Journalism and Languages and Cultures at University of Technology Sydney. Aside from interning at Captain Bagrat, Nadya is an avid community volunteer and a published contributor at Central News.