I had the privilege to meet Mr Chuck Norris in 2018 at the German Comic-Con in Dortmund. When on stage, he shared how he overcame failure to earn his Tang Soo Do black belt in South Korea. Learn more on that in this post.
I am passionate about martial arts since I was a teenager. I started karate at that time and I am still practicing today despite some break times. Also I practiced aikido, iaido and I am always happy to discover other disciplines/schools.
Chuck Norris is therefore very inspiring for me.
Chuck Norris discovers Tang Soo Do
He learned Tang Soo Do in South Korea when doing his military service. Back in the US, he opened a karate school where he notably taught Steve McQueen. In 1968, Chuck Norris became the middleweight karate champion, and in 1969, he won the “triple crown” in karate for the record of tournaments won in the year and the title of fighter of the year, awarded by the Black Belt magazine. He was world middleweight champion from 1968 to 1974. Chuck Norris is a black belt in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo. He also founded his own discipline Chun Kuk Do.
Chuck Norris is also famous as an actor with around 30 movies and several TV shows. His fight scene with Bruce Lee in Way of the Dragon (1972) is legendary.
He is known as well for his philanthropic contributions (e.g. by developing self-esteem and focus in at-risk children to keep them away from drug-related pressure through martial arts, by popularizing the issues that concern hospitalized war veterans such as pensions and health care, or by supporting Paediatric HIV/AIDS homes in Delhi).
he also became famous for the so-called Chuck Norris facts (“One day, Chuck Norris and Superman arm wrestled. The loser had to put his underwear over his pants.” or “Chuck Norris knows the last digits of PI.”).
So, when my youngest daughter asked me to go to the German Comic-Con in Dortmund and told me he would be there, I was on fire !
His black belt exam
He notably explained that when he had to pass his black belt exam (his first one if I understood well), he had to stand sitting the asian way while the lower ranks pass their exam. It was in the mountains, so it was quite cold. When came his turn, he was not able to stand up (if you have ever tried the so-called “seiza” position, you easily understand what I mean), and therefore failed the exam. He then came back to training accordingly and succeeded the second time.
I was quite impressed by his honesty and his message that failure is part of the game. It can actually help us improve if we are able to learn from it.