The purpose of this article is to better define the Chuck Norris's career as a karate fighter. Indeed, the versions found mainly on the Internet, do not seem to be reliable sources, in view of their differences. It is not consistent with the detail provided by Chuck Norris, in his autobiography "Against all Odds" . We will set out the facts different from those cited in this book, with "challenged by Chuck Norris."
The problem also concerns the possible participation of Chuck Norris in full-contact fights, the versions on this matter are quite different.
Our sources will be the Chuck Norris's Book, the Joe Lewis's Book (see the article about him), old issues of Black Belt Magazine and the book "The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia", de John Corcoran.
Details of his career :
Chuck Norris, born March 10th 1940 in the USA, learns martial arts while he is in Korea, during his military service. He has a black belt in Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo. He measures 5ft. 10inch. and weighs 160 pounds, or approximately 178 cm for 72 kg.
Back in the United States, he opened various martial arts schools and founded a style named Chun Kuk Do.
Chuck Norris is participating in his first karate tournament, in Salt Lake City in 1964, where he wins his first two fights, without winning the final trophy. He also loses the Internationals in Long Beach, before winning his first tournament at the "All Stars Tournament" or "International Karate Federation Championships" of Tak Kubota in Los Angeles. He beats then Ron Marchini, for the title. He still wins the championship of California, for the middleweights.
According to other sources, he launched himself into the competition in 1965. He began by losing some battles during his first two tournaments, against Joe Lewis and Allan Steen, as well as three games against Tony Tulleners, one during the "International Karate Championships". This loses are not mentioned by Chuck Norris. Tulleners speaks about his three victories in an interview in the juin 1987 Black-Belt magazine. According to July 1966 Black-Belt magazine Tony Tulleners beats Chuck Norris in the finals of the California State Karate Championships.
07.31.1966, at the Ed Parker's Internationals, Chuck Norris beats Skipper Mullins for the Middleweights title, video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SEn76cE9TQ and loses against Allen Steen for the Grand-Champion title, video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMUcQcesihE
10.22.1966, Norris takes part to the Tang Soo Do Invitational Tournament, held in Washington/DC. He loses against John Camanse, in the prelims, in the middleweights division.
1st fight with Joe Lewis. Black Belt June 1967. At the beginning of 1967, during the "Tournament of Champions" organized by Henry Cho, Chuck Norris beats Leon Wallace, 42 years, with a judo throw, ippon seoi-nage. Norris loses one of his fight, against Bob Engle.
Chuck Norris meets Joe Lewis. Lewis out of the playing surface, comes back, his guard only at the half-ready for an instant. Chuck Norris sees the opening and drills a spinning back kick to Lewis's face. Norris wins the fight. Chuck Norris wins against Skipper Mullins. Lewis wins against LaSalle, Skipper Mullins and Bob Engle. Chuck Norris wins the Grand Champion, with 4 victories for 1 loss, as Joe Lewis (Black Belt June 1967).
2nd fight with Joe Lewis. Also at the beginning of 1967, during the "All American Karate Championships" at the Madison Square Garden, he beats Hiroshi Motoo Nakamura, Japan champion for the middleweights title. He beats Joe Lewis for the title of Grand Champion (all categories). Norris let go with a side kick. It is the only point scored in the fight in the opinion of the officials (Black Belt in October 1967).
For the Grand Champion, Chuck Norris beats Steve Sanders by 2 to 1 and Lewis beats Allen Steen, with two side-kicks. Chuck Norris has already beaten twice Lewis in 1967, by standing in front of him, before moving to check his legs. Norris decides this time to move and wait to counter Lewis. Norris wins the first point with a back punch. Lewis attacks with a side-kick and Norris steps to the side, before and lands a reverse punch. Norris wins the battle. At this point, Chuck Norris leads by 3 wins to 0, against Joe Lewis.
Chuck Norris has participated in karate tournaments or "professional teams competition", during which blows were given without gloves, but with less control than traditional Karate. This system was established around 1968 in the USA, in order to make points karate most spectacular and effective.
The excellent work of compilation to be viewed on the site DOJO.COM USA , describes the history of professional karate.
We mention the major tournaments, with the term Karate pro :
03.30/31.1968, during the All American Tournament, organizes by Henry Cho, Chuck Norris, title holder, beats Hawk Frazier, then Carlos Farrell in the finals. Norris does not participate in the Tournament of Champions.
Karate pro : According to Black Belt, Octobre 1968, Chuck Norris has lost a fight against Dave Krieger in 1968, during a tournament between Hawaii and the Mainland. Norris first wins against Del Griffith and Edgar Bataad. Against Krieger, Norris hits first with a spinning back kick. Krieger hits Norris with a front kick. Krieger scores another point and wins the fight.
Karate pro : 07.13.1968 : "Orient vs US" tournament, New-York, by Aaron Banks. Chuck Norris def Theodore Wong, practicing Shotokan, in a match that Norris makes violent, according to the sources at the time, "Black Belt in December 1968". US wins the tournament.
Karate pro : World Professional Karate Championship. The following information is drawn from May 1969 Black Belt issue. This professional karate meeting is organized by Aaron Banks on November 23th or 24th 1968. It takes place at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. There is possibly 3 rounds per fights.
David Moon, Texas, def Canadian Wally Slocki, by 39 to 38. Kazuyoshi Tanaka of Japan meets Skipper Mullins, for the lightweights world title. Mullins dominates the Japanese and win by 91 to 66.
Chuck Norris wants to take revenge, facing Louis Delgado, his defeat collected the year before, during the encounter between West Coast and East Coast. Delgado is more than 10 years younger than his opponent. Norris sends Delgado to the canvas, with a punch, in the first round. In the second, Delgado sends his opponent to the canvas, with a kick in the mouth. The fight resumed so fierce and in the end, Chuck Norris wins by 101 to 93. According to other versions, Delgado would have suffered from a broken arm.
Mike Stone dominates widely against Bob Taiani, alias Tara Takayuki. At a certain point, the doctor finds that Mike Stone has broken his ankle. Despite this, the game resumed and Stone wins by 93 to 70.
Joe Lewis, presented as the "Bad-Boy from Karate" in the journal Black Belt, meets Victor Moore. Both fighters, dressed in black, use many kicks. Joe Lewis is cut above the eye. In the end, the crowd applauds the fighters and Lewis wins by 84 to 66. Each winner would have earned U.S. $ 600 .--. Only Chuck Norris would have defended his title the following year, against an unknown opponent.
Something is surprising. In this article, the name "World Championships" is used only once, and it concerns only the battle between Tanaka and Mullins. A question remains. When this tournament became a World Championship for all participants, as seems to show the various current enrolment in records. It was first announced in the Black Belt calendars in September and October 1968 as the Professional Karate 1st Matches, before changing its name.
It should be noted that the World Champion title is awarded by the organizer of the tournament and mainly to American fighters. The first World Championship organised by the World Federation, the WUKO, dates back to 1970 (Japan). Chuck Norris did not take part in it.
Karate pro. January 17th 1970 : Long Beach Sports Arena : US Team Championship : Victory of Chuck Norris (West Team) against Al Dacascos. This is the last battle of Chuck Norris. On the same day, Joe Lewis dispute in the first game KO against Greg Baines.
August 1st and 2nd 1970 : Chuck Norris wins the Korean trophy, during the 7th Annual International in Long Beach, organized by Ed Parker.
On Internet are often referred the following fights :
1972 : Draw with Willie Adams for the U.S. Team Championships. The Adams's site mentions that Adams's team foughts against Norris's team. It doesn't mean necessarily the active participation of Norris as a fighter. Address: http://www.isshinryu.nxs.net/Members/Adams.htm
1972: Beats Kenneth Glover, Tournament in Bethesda/MD and beaten by Jami Bailey, UC tournament in Lynchbur/VA. We found no useful information about these possible matches.
Chuck Norris is described as a fighter having improved the style of karate competition, creating combinations of blows.
He studied with Shito Ryu Fumio Demura, the Shotokan with Hidetaka Nishiyama, Hapkido with Jung Chug, Ju-Jitsu with Al Thomas, Kempo with Ed Parker and wrestling, boxing and judo, with the Gene Bell.
Chuck Norris (right) vs Steve SandersNo match for full-contact and not World Champion :
Chuck Norris is sometimes cited as having been a champion of full-contact, something he has never been. The error comes from mixing with the term "professional karate".
The full-contact is created in 1974, although karate fights with KO have already taken place since 1970. Norris has already withdrawn from the competition and turns in various films. Irony of history, Chuck Norris is judge and makes an exhibit during the evening of September 14th, 1974, in Los Angeles, when the first titles are awarded to Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Isaias Duenas and Jeff Smith.
Finally, it is often cited as Chuck Norris defended his World Champion Title 6 times , until 1974. No source was found on the subject. The number of defences of his title corresponds to the number of years between 1968 and 1974. According to the John Corcoran's book "The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia", Chuck Norris retired the 01.17.1970.
7th Annual Internationals (Long Beach)
1972 Beaten by Jami Bailey
Lack of video sources :
We know only this video : http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=oj_e-QmZ7Jc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUAdMVFeRmQ, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz4gkRmSVzE. If you know an other address, please send me it and I will put the link in this blog. An excerpt from the movie Air Force One, in which the actor practices full-contact against Bill Wallace, should not be confused with a real match http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=FEentFNEqZE
Sports iconography seems very low compared to the many photos of the film career of Chuck Norris.
Official sources lack about karate for this period of time. None federation seems to have managed the results of various tournaments, in which he has participated.
It is impossible to be affirmative on fights and titles record for Chuck Norris. Also, his official website is extremely vague on this issue, mentioning only "… Chuck was a martial arts star, winning many championships including martial arts being a six-time undefeated World Professional Middleweight Karate Champion ... . In his book, Chuck Norris does not speak of these defences of his title. We have found no trace of this title fights.
 Against All Odds, My Story, with Ken Abraham, Broadman & Holman Publishers 2004.