Who's Who in Tang Soo Do


Grandmaster Chuck Norris
9th Dan
Pin # 2819



Grandmaster Norris began his martial arts study in Judo while serving as an MP at the Osan Air Base in Korea. After only two weeks of training he broke his shoulder in a fall on the mat. While walking through a local town a few nights later, he came upon a group of martial artists practicing outdoors and was amazed by their acrobatic skills. He asked his Judo instructor Mr. Ahn about it and was told it was an art called Tang Soo Do. Master Norris asked his instructor what he thought about his training in karate until his shoulder healed. Thinking it a good idea, Mr. Ahn introduced him to Master Jae Chul Shin (# 698). While he did continue to study Judo one day a week, it was Tang Soo Do that appealed to him most.

After a year of training for 5 hours daily, Master Shin told him he was ready to test for black belt in Seoul. Grandmaster Hwang Kee presided at the testing. Although he did not pass his test that day, he did pass three months later. Upon returning to the U.S., he continued to train on his own as there were no Tang Soo Do schools at that time. When others on the base showed an interest in his Tang Soo Do practice, he began a karate club on the base. He was 21 years old at the time. After his discharge in 1962, he opened a school in Torrance, California with his brother Aaron who was also training.

Master Norris's competitive career began in 1964 at a small tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. He lost his first three tournaments but went on to defeat some of the biggest names competing on the tournament circuit - Joe Lewis, Louis Delgado, Skipper Mullins, Victor Moore and others. His fight record was 65-5 by the time he retired as undefeated Professional Full-Contact Middleweight Champion in 1974.

In 1969 he earned the Triple Crown for the most tournament wins and was named fighter of the year by Black Belt Magazine. He also became the first Westerner to earn an 8th Degree in Tae Kwon Do.


By age 34, Grandmaster Norris had established 32 schools and among his many students were Priscilla Presley, the Osmonds, and Steve McQueen. It was Steve McQueen who urged him to get into acting. His first role was in "The Wrecking Crew" in 1969. His next role in 1973 would put him on the road to stardom. It was the classic fight scene at the Colosseum in Rome opposite Bruce Lee in "Return of The Dragon".

Grandmaster Norris founded the National Tang Soo Do Congress (now headed by Pat Johnson) and the United Fighting Arts Federation (UFAF). He also developed two of his own martial arts systems, "Chun Kuk Do" (the Universal Way), and American Tang Soo Do.

To help battle drugs and violence in schools, he created KickStart, a non-profit organization that provides martial arts training in the school system for at-risk kids. Instructors in the program work full time and are part of the school curriculum, another first in the martial arts world.

Grandmaster Norris has also retired from the series Walker, Texas Ranger after eight successful years.


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