CelebVet: Chuck Norris, Karate Champion & Actor

Chuck Norris

Carlos Ray Norris, son of an Irish mother and a Cherokee Indian father who abandoned the family, found salvation in the Air Force.

A prototypical "98-pound weakling" who daydreamed about drubbing the bullies who taunted him, Norris was stationed for three years in Korea. There he dedicated himself to studying Tang Soo Do, karate - for which he earned a black belt - and judo - a brown belt - and "Carlos" became known as "Chuck."

He credits his martial arts training - he knows all forms of martial arts - with changing his outlook on life.

"I realized that there was nothing I couldn’t achieve if I just had determination and persistence," he has said. "In gaining the ability to defend myself, I also learned the discipline and self-respect I needed for the rest of my life."

Returning to the United States, he became a teacher of karate while working as a file clerk for Northrop Aviation. In 1968 he began a seven-year reign as World Middleweight Karate Champion. Also in 1968 he opened a chain of 32 karate schools. Among his students was the actor Steve McQueen and members of the Osmond Family. Encouraged by McQueen, he tried his hand at acting. After a series of moderate successes - he played the villain to Bruce Lee’s hero in "Return of the Dragon" and "Game of Death" - he became a bankable star and popular film personality thanks to a series of fast-paced action films with patriotic (if unrealistic) story lines. He made a trio of "Missing in Action" flics, playing a former prisoner of war out to rescue his brothers. In "Invasion U.S.A.," he defeats an army of Soviet terrorists. Never a hit with the critics, he did manage to build a steady and solid fan base.

His career continued on the small screen as the star of "Walker, Texas Ranger," a surprising hit for several years.

Chuck Norris is also the author of two books: his autobiography, The Secret of Inner Strength, published in 1988, and The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems, published in 1996.

He is a public speaker, too: he talks to young people about personal motivation and the need to set goals - and to avoid the pitfalls of peer pressure and drugs. A crusader against drug use, he is Chairman of Kick Drugs Out of America, the foundation he established in 1990 to help combat drug abuse and gang-related violence in schools.

He is also involved with The Fund for Kids, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the United War, and the VA’s National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans.

Image Credit: http://www.westernjournalism.com/chuck-norris-exposes-insufficiency-obamas-isis-plan/

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