Martial Arts Heroes

We all have martial arts heroes, right?  For many their hero is Bruce Lee, the iconic figure of a martial artist.  The man who is credited with making martial arts BIG in America.  When most people think of a martial artist, they intuitively think of Bruce Lee.  His charisma and demeanor, the chiseled body and super-human power are what many kids got into martial arts to obtain.  Even the distinctive sound he made in each movie for each and every strike gets emulated today by everyone trying to mock a martial artist or those who think that is what it means to be a martial artist.

For others, today’s hero is Jackie Chan.  This stunt crazy Chinese acrobatic martial artist is a symbol for what the human body can do when you train hard and are willing to expand possibilities.  Jackie Chan’s athletic ability is amazing to witness.  The ingenuity of the moves he performs is incredible.  When you watch one of his movies, you get the sense that he can do nearly anything he wants to do.  I think this is the reason he is so popular today.  You see this diminutive figure performing feats of martial arts excellence you believe are impossible and think, “If he can do it, I bet I could do it too!”  I remember seeing him seemingly run up the side of a wall and thought to myself, “Yeah, I can do that.”  I bet you have too.

My hero has always been Chuck Norris.  I have been a Chuck Norris fan before it was popular to be a Chuck Norris fan.  I don’t know why but I loved him long before the current trend of “Chuck Norris” facts.  Don’t get me wrong, I think these facts are awesome and have even heard that Chuck himself loves them.  I was even a fan of Chuck Norris before his television show, Walker, Texas Ranger.  I was so excited when I saw he had a show as a kid that I had to watch it all the time.  I even watched it when it went to syndication.

Why are we attracted to our martial arts heroes?  For my part, I think I was attracted to Chuck Norris because he does not seem like a typical martial artists.  He just seemed like a normal guy and he has some elements of his look that help in that; he has a crooked beard.  It is not even on both sides.  I have said that since I was young but I think that helps in making him seem normal.  He doesn’t look like a chiseled Bruce Lee or that he has the crazy athleticism of Jackie Chan.  As an overweight and somewhat athletically challenged youth, I was drawn to Norris’ mere mortal appearance.

My interest in Chuck Norris increased when I learned, he was not just a good martial artist but a great one: Tae Kwon Do Grand Master, six-time US Karate National Champion, Korean National Champion, and the founder of his own martial art Chun Kuk Do which means Universal Way.  You can read Wikipedia’s Chuck Norris biography on their website.  His focus on fitness and health is an inspiration to me and I can only hope that when I am in my seventies, I will be as healthy, active, and vibrant as Chuck Norris.  My respect has only increased with time with the amount I learn about his philanthropic contribution, Christian faith, and determination to help at-risk kids of all ages.

Above all, Chuck Norris is my martial arts hero because he embodies personal excellence and determination to improve the world through martial arts.  That is my mission in life, to improve the world through martial arts.  I may not be able to reach as many people as Chuck Norris but that does not change my goal.

Who is your martial arts hero and why?

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