Episode 194: Chuck Norris: The Man, The Meme!

On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we’re talking about the force of nature known as Chuck Norris. Born Carlos Ray Norris in Oklahoma, he came from an Irish-English mother and a Cherokee father. After his father divorced and moved away, the family headed to Torrance, California where they lived until young Carlos joined the Army during the Korean War. In basic training, he earned the nickname Chuck, and it stuck.

Chuck Norris was training for the Security Police in the service, and he learned early on that in order to subdue drunken soldiers, he almost always had to draw a weapon. This inspired him to study Tang Soo Do and Tai Kwon Do to get an edge over the people he had to arrest. Once he moved back to the states, he worked a day job but had learned so much about the martial arts in a time where it was all pretty foreign to the US, that he was convinced to start a school.

Eventually, the franchised schools spawned to over thirty dojos and trained big celebrities back in the day like the Osmonds, Steve McQueen, Priscilla Pressley, and Bob Barker! McQueen convinced Chuck to consider doing action movies, and the rest is history. He appeared in a few small rolls, but when the Legend, Bruce Lee, fought him in the climax of Return of the Dragon, he became internationally known.

That is to say, he became known to the general audience. Up until that time, Chuck Norris was a legend himself in the martial arts realm. He held the World Middleweight Karate Championship from 1968-1974 when he retired from the sport. Black Belt Magazine named him martial artist of the year in 1969. So, when he showed up to fight Bruce Lee with all that chest hair, he was already legit in the fighting world.

So what company picked him up to make all their action movies for over a decade? What was his most successful movie? What led to the development of the 8 year run on television’s Walker, Texas Ranger? What are the (kind of strange) philosophies that are behind Chun Kuk Do, Norris’ self-developed martial art? And what does he think of the “fact memes” that spread about him? Listen, Laugh, Learn.

Clip of Chuck Norris reading facts about himself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQmPMZeN7JQ

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