Many Thanks to Grand Master Jessie Bowen for this incredible tribute to his boyhood hero and our lifelong friend Chuck Norris!
THE FOREWORD TO THE CHUCK NORRIS GIVING BACK FOR A LIFETIME EDITION OF WHO'S WHO IN THE MARTIAL ARTS: FOREWARD by Jeff Smith and Joe Corley
As this 2020 edition of WHO’S WHO in the MARTIAL ARTS was being completed, we had a chance to spend a weekend with our friend of five decades, GM Chuck Norris. It was a momentous gathering of our predecessors in the martial arts, like Chuck, and our contemporaries, representing the first and second generation of American Martial Arts icons, tournament fighters and champions, in the United States.
Dedicated to the lifetime contributions of GM Norris, the subtitle for GM Jessie Bowen‘s book is “GIVING BACK for a LIFETIME“.
At this gathering on this 2020 Memorial Day weekend, a celebration of life for our recently departed friend GM Skipper Mullins in Dallas , GM Norris shared his 6 decades of personal experiences with Skipper Mullins, who had been Chuck’s formidable foe in the ring and a lifetime friend outside the ring.
GM Norris was a designated “honorary pallbearer“ for Skipper, and he was told at graveside “Chuck, just sit with your bride, Gena, and let these young guys do the heavy lifting”. Chuck responded, staunchly, “No way. Skipper was my friend!“
These small gestures of friendship for those close to him and those he had never met have marked the life and legacy that is Chuck Norris.
Later in the day, as his wife and friends tried to shield him from the adoring fans, Chuck would remove his COVID-19 protective mask from his face and stand with kids and adults alike, having his picture taken, giving back in a small way (big way to them) to fans he had never met and would likely never see again.
Chuck’s friend Ted Gambordella pointed out that it was just last year in a fundraiser in Ft Worth for GM J Pat Burleson that Chuck stood for 4 1/2 hours with no break taking pictures with hundreds of people to raise funds for his friend J Pat.
Chuck’s determination and loyalty have remained constant as UFAF president Ken Gallacher echoes from a similar even 3 decades ago. “Thousands of Houstonians showed up to meet Chuck for a grand opening of his friend Ed Young’s studio”, Master Gallacher explained. “Hours later, some 500 were outside waiting in the rain, and Chuck insisted on staying until he had shaken every hand and snapped a photo with each and every one!”.
Chuck joined Jeff Smith on the cover of Fighter magazine with President George HW Bush, as they worked together in the President’s Sports Fitness Council and in Chuck’s personal foundation karate kicks drugs out of America, now known as KICKSTART KIDS. With Chuck’s guidance and influence, KickStart Kids has graduated more than 100,000 Children over the past 30 years, with many going on to college and becoming successful in their own right. (See KickStartKids.org)
And so as Chuck has just celebrated his eighth decade on the planet, we know for sure that he has spent six of those decades sharing his enthusiasm, knowledge, stardom and wealth with those who were lucky enough to be in his circle of friends and with those whose needs he was able to supplement by giving of himself.
Thank you, Chuck Norris, first for your personal friendship and from all of us for being one of the really good guys that we all have been able to look up to for these many years. God Bless you and all your associates and ventures.
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