9 Real Chuck Norris Martial Arts Facts That May Surprise You

Did you know?
Chuck Norris doesn’t dial the wrong number. You pick up the wrong phone.
A cobra bit him once. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.
Chuck Norris’ keyboard has no backspace button since he never makes mistakes.
These are only some of the most popular Chuck Norris “facts”—which ironically means they’re satirical factoids. They’re absurdly hyperbolic, playing around his masculinity, infallibility and immortality among others. Truthfully, Chuck Norris memes can be quite corny, but some of can be really funny too.
Chuck Norris jokes use this format
Chuck Norris and these facts have been massively widespread in popular culture. While that has brought attention to the martial artist himself, it regrettably obscured the more exciting realities about him.
So, in this article, we’ll set aside the jokes and go over the real Chuck Norris facts. Particularly regarding his history and contribution to martial arts.
  • 1 Chuck Norris was non-athletic and severely introverted in his youth

    Chuck Norris (born Carlos) was the eldest of three boys. With his father mostly absent and working intermittently as a mechanic, they had a difficult life. To top that off, his father went on drinking binges that lasted for months at a time. Ashamed at their poverty and his father’s behaviour, he grew shy and severely introverted. It wasn’t until he went to Korea that he began to come out of his shell.

  • 2 He served as an Air Policeman at the United States Air Force

    chuck norris

    Chuck Norris is a literal hero.

    In 1958, Carlos Norris entered the US military and received an assignment for South Korea. There, he acquired the nickname Chuck and discovered martial arts, starting with Tang Soo Do. Unknown to him, this budding interest would be responsible for the legacy the world now knows him for.

  • 3 Chuck Norris martial arts achievements include black belts in five systems

    a black belt in BJJ - one of Chuck Norris' martial arts achievements.

    The discovery of the beauty of martial arts led Chuck Norris far and wide. He dabbled in numerous martial arts systems and excelled in many of them. Today, he has black belts in the following: 9th degree in Tang Soo Do, 8th degree in Taekwondo, 5th degree in Karate, 3rd degree in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and 1st degree in Judo. Needless to say, he is a 10th-degree black belt as the founder of Chun Kuk Do.

  • 4 Chuck Norris was defeated a total of ten times

    Chuck Norris and Louis Delgado

    While loaded with achievements, no one is impervious to loss—not even Chuck Norris. He went home defeated in his first two tournaments and lost three matches at the International Karate Championships. His tenth and final defeat was a decisive vote in favour of Louis Delgado.

  • 5 Chuck Norris had several Karate titles

    Chuck Norris, Fumio Demura and Ed Parker
    In the same year of the final loss of his career, Chuck Norris came back with a vengeance. He defeated Delgado and became the World Professional Karate Middleweight Champion for six consecutive years.
    That’s right, Chuck Norris is a world champion!
    Aside from that, he won the All-American Championship twice. He came on top against champions in almost all 50 states in the International Karate Championship. In 1969, he received Karate’s triple crown for having the most tournament wins in the year. He earned the title Fighter of the Year from Black Belt magazine in 1969.
  • 6 He opened his first karate school after becoming All-American Karate Champion

    Chad McQueen as Dutch from The Karate Kid
    But it’s not just one karate school. After Chuck Norris became the All-American Karate Champion, he went on to open a chain of karate schools. These schools would teach several celebrity clients. Among them are Steve and Chad McQueen, Donny and Marie Osmond, Bob Parker, and Priscilla Presley.
  • 7 Chuck Norris formed two martial arts systems

    Chuck Norris' martial art: Chun Kuk Do
    What’s the best way for a martial arts legend to leave a legacy? For Chuck Norris, it’s to create not just one but two martial arts systems. In 1966, he founded the American Tang Soo Do. It combines multiple fighting systems: Tang Soo Do, Judo, and Shito-Ryu and Shotokan Karate. The American Tang Soo Do has been developed by Chuck Norris’ black belts and their students over the years.
    Chuck Norris founded multiple martial arts schools.
    He founded another martial arts system, the Chun Kuk Do, otherwise known as the Chuck Norris Martial Arts System. The Chun Kuk Do is heavily based on the Tang Soo Do he learned in Korea. Chun Kuk Do evolved throughout Chuck Norris’ fighting career, adopting elements of 12 other systems to make a well-rounded art.
  • 8 Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee met and became friends at a competition

    Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee
    Chuck Norris met and befriended a lot of people he encountered in competitions. One notable character he met and became fast friends with is Bruce Lee. At the time, he was known for the show Green Hornet. Finding their common ground in their love for martial arts, they developed a friendship, training, and working relationships.
    And this is how he went on his way to stardom:
    He later acted as Bruce Lee’s nemesis in the Way of the Dragon, Hong Kong’s highest-grossing film of 1972. This is one of Chuck Norris’ films that arguably were catalysts that launched him into stardom.
  • 9 He was involved in more than 50 movies and TV shows

    An example of the best movies with Chuck Norris

    The road to stardom wasn’t always smooth sailing. His first significant lead role was in Good Guys Wear Black. The thing was that no studio wanted a hand in it. Still, Chuck Norris and the film’s producers saw the potential in it. So they rented out theaters, which turned out to be the right choice. Shot on a $1M budget, the film went on to earn $18M in the box office.  

    Good Guys Wear Black launched Chuck Norris as the first successful American martial arts star and put his foot in the door. Steadily gaining traction in mainstream media, more projects and roles came in from that point.

  • Final Thoughts

    Great men weren’t born great. Even legends like Chuck Norris came from humble beginnings. Who would have thought that kid who couldn’t look people in the eye would go to become a martial arts legend?