Finding Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris Throwback: How to Choose A Martial Arts School

In a recent letter, someone mentioned his interest in taking karate lessons. He wanted to know what questions he should ask a prospective instructor to find out how well that instructor could train him. I’m sure there are many more people who are in a quandary about this, too.

Each instructor is naturally biased toward his own style. Each will naturally say his style is superior. As has been said so many times before, however, an instructor is only as good as the students he turns out. He need not be the greatest karateka (karate practitioner) in the world. He need only be a good, patient and sincere teacher.

To the prospective student interested in finding the best school and style suitable to him, I would recommend that you first contact the various karate schools in your area to find out when they hold promotional testing and whether spectators are allowed during the test. Most schools will allow people to view the testing, and I would be rather skeptical of schools that don’t allow spectators or those which give out belts without a test.

Chuck Norris and Bobby Burbidge

Chuck Norris punching, Bobby Burbidge receiving.

Once the test begins, observe not only the person testing but also those who are awaiting their turn to test. See if they are disciplined enough to sit patiently and quietly while their fellow students are being tested. Next, see if the candidate shows proper respect to the person or persons testing him. Respect and discipline are the foundations for any good school.

Throughout the test, observe the physical conditioning of those being tested. The test should be hard enough to make them exert themselves, and their condition should be such that they can take it.


During the test, you can also see what that particular school stresses most. Do they perform many forms (called hyung or kata)? If so, are they hard forms or soft? Do they concentrate on the use of the hands or the feet, or do they use them equally? These points should all be considered in your selection of a school.

The prospective student should also have a chance to see if the use of weapons is required or if there is an emphasis on board breaking. Also, find out also how much importance is placed on free-sparring. During the sparring, see how much control is used by the participants. This is a very important point.

Chuck Norris photo

Chuck Norris kicking during a photo shoot.

While at the studio, you will have a chance to observe the facilities it provides. See if these are up to the standards you have in mind. You might also check the following, if they are important to you: the appearance of the students (their uniforms should at least be clean and ironed) and the average age of the people testing.

Compare the amount of time required by each school between each testing cycle and between each grade. If one school requires a minimum of one year before the green-belt test and another requires only six months, I would say the first school’s green belts, on average, would be superior.


Last but not least, check the instructor. How does he handle himself? Is it in a mature way? What is his appearance like? Is he setting an example of neatness? Does he appear to be in good physical condition? Would you be proud to point to him and say, “That’s my instructor”?

These are some of the things you should check when trying to find a new school for yourself.

For more information about Chuck Norris, visit his official website.

Learn the Real Chuck Norris Facts

Like most netizens, we love Chuck Norris jokes. But Chuck Norris is more than just an aging action hero. As this classic interview with Sara Fogan shows, the former karate champion is also a deeply spiritual man who has devoted his life to helping children. Here are the real Chuck Norris facts.

“In Missing in Action 3, the kids we worked with were all Amerasian,” Chuck Norris said while discussing his most memorable movie and TV roles. “It was in the Philippines, so they were half-Filipino, half-American. We tried to help a lot of them financially. We were on the set one day, and this kid came in. He had a big growth on his cheek. When he walked around, he’d keep his hand over it. One day we took him to a surgeon, and he removed the growth. The change in him [was incredible].”

Several days later, three more children with deformities found their way onto the set. “We had them taken care of, as well,” Chuck Norris said. “And the next day, we had a line of 100 or so kids. And we were saying, ‘Oh, my, what can we do?’ We helped as many of them as we could because surgery over there was not that expensive. But it was sad to see so many of those kids with deformities.”

Get the facts on Chuck Norris’ epic battle with Bruce Lee in our FREE guide—Our Bruce Lee Movies List: Little-Known Trivia From Bruce Lee’s Pictures.

Chuck Norris added that his favorite episode of Walker, Texas Ranger was also about a sick child. The two-hour episode, titled “Lucas,” tells the tale of a boy, played by Haley Joel Osment, who was born with AIDS.

“It was the most emotional script,” Chuck Norris said. “Of all my films and TV shows, that one affected me more than any other. When we sat down and read the script—I read every script with my writers to get a feel for it—after a while I had to stop because I was crying. The tears started coming down my face, and I looked at my writers, who were all crying, too. And I said, ‘I’ve got to rest; I’ve got to walk around for a while and recompose myself.’ That one was one of the most incredible scripts we ever had.”

At the end of the episode, Chuck Norris’ character had to perform the eulogy. “I said to myself, ‘Look, you’ll get one shot at this. You’d better be ready with the camera because this is too hard.’ And it was a very difficult scene to do. That was a special two hours for me.”

The Black Belt Hall of Fame member and karate champion said the spiritual episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger were every bit as moving. “Especially the one about the gang leader who becomes a born-again Christian,” he said. “He finally finds his faith and breaks his gang ties, and now he’s an associate pastor. And the gang he used to run around with robs the church and injures the pastor, who goes into a coma. Now this boy’s at a crossroads. He has to decide, Does he resort to his gang ways, or does he try to forgive?”

The plot unfolds as Chuck Norris’ character counters the violence of the gang members and talks to the youth about his faith. “I won the Epiphany Award for the best Christian show of the year for that episode,” he said. “In the last scene—you know, you can say ‘God’ on TV but you just don’t say ‘Jesus’—the network didn’t want me to use Jesus’ name. But I thought, I have to. My character was talking about Jesus dying on the cross, not God. So I wound up doing it anyway. The show did so well that they forgave me for doing it against their wishes.”…

Bill Superfoot Wallace on Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Bob Wall and Jean-Claude Van Damme

It was 1 o’clock, and I was sitting at Jun Chong’s taekwondo school in Los Angeles getting ready to work out. In walked Dolph Lundgren, 6 feet 5 inches tall and built like a brick [outhouse].

He said, “You’re Bill Wallace, right?”

I said, “Yeah, and you’re Dolph Lundgren.”

I stood up and shook his hand. He asked if I trained there a lot, and when I said yeah, he said, “Wow, I’d love to work out with you sometime.” I said, “See you here tomorrow.”

The next day, Dolph Lundgren walked in at 1 o’clock. We stretched before working out a bit, then he told me he was the Swedish kyokushinkai champion and asked if I wanted to spar. I said, “Well, you’re 6 feet 5 inches, and I’m 5 feet 10 inches … yeah, I don’t care, let’s spar.”

Learn more about the relationship between martial arts and movies with our FREE guide—Our Bruce Lee Movies List: Little-Known Trivia From Bruce Lee’s Pictures.

So we were moving around, and I nailed him with a side kick to the ribs, and down he went. I said, “Jeez, are you OK?”

He said, “Yeah, this is not quite like the movies, is it?”

I really respected him for that.

Dolph Lundgren got up, and I kicked him a couple of times in the head. He hit me a few times, too, but his hand work needed some help. We’d get in close, and I’d nail him with left hooks to the head. You’d figure he’d be better trained with his fists after making a few boxing movies, but that’s all they are: movies. It’s all set up. Dolph Lundgren was a good kickboxer, though, and he made hard contact. We trained like that for a couple of weeks. I always took him to Fatburger afterward.

Then, as you might expect, Dolph Lundgren had to go work on a film, so we stopped training together. I saw him in 1988 when I was in Sweden doing a series of seminars and he was getting married. We gave each other a big hug, and he invited me to his wedding. That’s the last time I saw him.

Dolph Lundgren is a good guy and a good fighter. I can honestly say he’s the most athletic of the famous people that I’ve trained. He was able to do everything.

Jean-Claude Van Damme wasn’t bad. I met him when he was doing No Retreat, No Surrender. In those days, I’d visit different karate places and spar with people—and he was out there. He was a young kid at the time and seemed like a good guy.

In early 1984, Chuck Norris, Bob Wall and I were working out at Wall’s house when Jean-Claude Van Damme showed up and wanted to train. I said, “OK, fine, we’ll have a great workout.” We spent five or six minutes stretching and warming up. Jean-Claude Van Damme was very flexible. Then we moved to the indoor gym to work out before going outside to the pull-up bar and dip bar.

Chuck Norris, Bob Wall and I had worked out several times together, so we were in pretty good shape. I said: “My turn to pick, right? We’re going to do five sets of pull-ups and five sets of dips, then hit the bag for three rounds.”

I did my first set of 10 pull-ups, then Bob Wall did his, Chuck Norris did his and Jean-Claude Van Damme did his. By the third set, Jean-Claude Van Damme was having trouble. If you’re not used to it, it kills you. So we spotted him on the last rep. That was three down. By the fifth set, I was fine because of my wrestling background, Bob Wall got his 10, Chuck Norris did his easily and Jean-Claude Van Damme had to be helped. We were trying to find out what he was made of, but he stuck it out with us even though we put him through the wringer.

Stephen Dorff, who appeared in Blade with Wesley Snipes, was another person I spent time with—I had to teach him how to box. He did a great job, but he didn’t like to get hit. A lot of actors are that way. But after some yelling and screaming, Stephen Dorff gutted it out real well.

I never found training stars to be all that satisfying because it didn’t end with me taking them to compete like I’d do with regular students. The real bummer is, once the stars are done with the role, they don’t care about the skills they just learned.

In the early 1980s, I shot some fight scenes with Jackie Chan for The Protector. I had a great time, but he didn’t like me because I wouldn’t …

Chuck Norris vs. Bruce Lee

When martial arts legend and political juggernaut Chuck Norris shares his thoughts on Bruce Lee, you listen.

On his WorldNetDaily column, Chuck Norris discusses Bruce Lee’s charm, adaptability, and whether the jeet kune do master would have stood a chance against the karate champ.

Bruce Lee’s Strengths

Chuck Norris: “The truth is Lee was a formidable opponent with a chiseled physique and technique. I totally enjoyed sparring and just spending time with him. He was as charismatic and friendly in the ring and at home as he was on film. His confidence and wit were dazzling, and sometimes even debilitating to others. […] Lee was lightning fast, very agile and incredibly strong for his size.”

To learn more about Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris’ epic on-screen battle, check out our FREE guide—Our Bruce Lee Movies List: Little-Known Trivia From Bruce Lee’s Pictures.

Bruce Lee’s Adaptability

Chuck Norris: “Bruce Lee learned from everybody. He had a very open mind. He never believed in only one martial arts style or that one was superior. He believed that everything had strengths and weaknesses and that we should find the strengths in each method.”

Bruce Lee’s Chances Against Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris: “Would I have beaten Bruce Lee in a real competition, or not? You’ll forgive me for answering with another Bruceism: ‘Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.’ ”

While their dream fight never became a reality in the ring, the epic battle can be seen in the 1972 Bruce Lee film The Way of the Dragon (also released as Return of the Dragon).