Chuck Norris is one of those celebrities whose life in the spotlight isn’t all that far removed from the life he really lives. That makes it super-hard to separate Chuck Norris the man, from Chuck Norris the myth. Ready to change that right now? We are.
HE’S NOT ACTUALLY A TEXAS RANGER
Oh, but he is a Texas Ranger. True, Norris has probably never helped take down a drug kingpin, held suppressing fire in an epic real-life shootout, or so much as approached hitting an RBI, but he is an honorary Texas Ranger. Political pal, and former Texas Governor, Rick Perry saw to that back in 2010, naming Norris a Ranger captain. While he was at it, Perry also named Norris’ younger brother, Aaron Norris, an honorary Ranger.
Why all the love? Well, everybody gets the connection between Chuck Norris and Walker—the Texas Ranger character he played for eight years on CBS. But fewer people know that Aaron Norris was a co-executive director for the same program. In fact, he’s had a long career as a stuntman, working in the same genre as his brother. If you’ve seen The Octagon, A Force of One, or Lone Wolf McQuade, you’ve seen Aaron Norris in action. If you haven’t seen them … go do so. Get cultured.
HE’S ONLY A BADASS ON TV
Norris earned his martial arts bona fides on the competitive circuit before he became a pretend badass in movies and TV shows. For a time, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he held the Professional World Full-Contact Middleweight Karate Championship—for six consecutive years.
Before he started winning, though, Chuck Norris lost … a lot. His fighting career got off to a rocky start, with ten total losses between 1964 and 1968. But once he hit his competitive stride, he was pretty much unstoppable. Norris went on an absolute tear in 1968, scoring the first of his six straight world titles. Even in his retirement from competitive fighting, he’s never stopped honing his skills. Norris achieved an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master designation in Taekwondo in 1997, and he continues to study martial arts of every style.
Oh, and those those ten losses? They remain the only blotches on his record to this day.
HE’S ALL BRAWN AND NO BRAIN
Yeah, he’s tough — that’s what’s made him famous. But Chuck Norris also has an active, and we mean active, mind. One way he flexes his mental muscle is through writing, and Norris has written a prodigious amount of material.
Sure, every celeb has one or more ghost-written books in their diversified moneymaking portfolio, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about his regular opinion column for Christian-conservative website WorldNetDaily (WND). He’s been a contributor there since 2006 — and he’s not phoning it in. Norris keeps a writing schedule that sees a new column published two to three times each week. His archives go back a loooong way.
What kind of stuff does Chuck Norris like to write about? Christian living, respecting the military, the Second Amendment, and America’s place in the world, mostly. His passion for health and fitness bleeds through on occasion, too, just as a reminder that if you have a problem with what he says, he’s still fully capable of feeding you your own teeth.
HIS REAL FIGHTING DAYS ARE BEHIND HIM
Chuck Norris is a fighter who became an actor, not the other way around. His early immersion in the martial arts, which he took up while stationed with the Air Force in Korea, imbued him with a holistic fighter’s philosophy that encompasses all aspects of life—not just the ass-kicking part.
In the early ’90s, with his competitive days behind him, Norris distilled everything he’d learned into a new fighting style of his own: Chun Kuk Do, a sort of open-source style that cherry-picks techniques from other martial arts. In 2015, he transformed Chun Kuk Do into the eponymous Chuck Norris System, and he continues to evolve it as his very own codified school of thinking, training and, yes, fighting. It’s pretty much a combat-bred summary of the way he wants to live his life.
HIS ACTING CAREER IS TOTALLY PLAYED OUT
Infomercials, far-right opinion columns, and musings on becoming president of Texas—these aren’t the typical hallmarks of a dude who can still marquis a studio project in Hollywood. Good thing that’s not a factor for independent filmmaker Sebati Edward Mafate.
Mafate persuaded Norris to sign on for his Blood Brothers script, an anti-poaching yarn that’s slated to begin filming on location in Mafate’s native Botswana sometime in 2017. Isaac Florentine, notable for directing Michael Jai White’s Undisputed II, is attached as director. With some of the needed funding reportedly coming from the Botswanan government, the film’s future sounds far from certain. But who wouldn’t want to see a 76 year-old Chuck Norris go all Delta Force on some soulless poachers? He’s already agreed to the project, so he’s definitely game to dispense some more silver screen justice.
HE’S BEEN COOL WITH ALL THE “CHUCK NORRIS JOKES” FROM THE START
You knew this one was coming. To be fair, Norris appears to have made his peace with the “Chuck Norris Facts” phenomenon, even sanctioning his own official “facts” book in 2009. But two years earlier, in 2007, Norris filed a lawsuit against Brown University student Ian Spector, who’d tapped into the burgeoning meme craze by publishing The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human. Norris dropped the suit just ahead of his official book’s release, presumably because complaining about people claiming you’re so badass you slapped the doctor when you were born isn’t that great a look.
Since then, he’s shown he can be a good sport about all the jokes. His official blog occasionally links to listicles of Chuck Norris Facts, and he’s even confessed to laughing at some of them. “I love to laugh, as do most people,” he stoically observed in a WND column on the topic, calling laughter “probably…the best medicine for our bodies, minds and souls.”
Funny guy. And a lethal one, so don’t forget to laugh at literally everything he says.