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TEENS: Happy birthday to the iconic Chuck Norris

Evelyn Odum
Evelyn Odum

Chuck Norris built the hospital he was born in.

That’s right! Way back on March 10, 1940, the man, the myth, the legend was born: Chuck Norris.  We all know him for his mostly heroic acting roles, especially as Cordell Walker in "Walker, Texas Ranger." And I’m sure you’ve heard or memorized a few of the thousands of Chuck Norris jokes.
But what else is there to this distinguished man?
Born Carlos Ray Norris, Chuck got his nickname in 1958 while in the United States Air Force, where he served as an air policeman. He was stationed in South Korea. It was during his service where he discovered Tang Soo Do, a form of martial arts. 

It’s quite ironic, Chuck wasn’t considered an athletic kid, but in the late 1960s he was one of the best competitors in the world. He started off with some devastating losses, but with perseverance he climbed to the top and won countless renown karate tournaments. He won the world middleweight title in 1968. A year later, Black Belt magazine named him Fighter of the Year. His pursuit of martial arts led him to a friendship with Bruce Lee. 

Chuck’s acting career launched when Lee offered him to play his nemesis in "Way of the Dragon."  Lee was doing well in Hong Kong in the movie industry at that time, and he wanted to create a fight to remember. Chuck was the best person for the job and was the world champion at the time.
Chuck took his life experiences and wrote books as a way to pass on his wisdom. He’s published many stories with steps on positive self-improvement, as well as tips in the martial arts. He openly admits his Christianity and has Christian-themed stories.

He gives money and time to a vast variety of organizations. Karate was such a passion of his that he started the programs, United Fighting Arts Federation and Kickstart Kids, with the intent to keep at risk kids away from negative pressures.  
Being a veteran himself, he is an advocate for hospitalized war veterans. He also gives to foundations that helps people in third world countries.

With 78 years of life, Chuck Norris has his own star in Hollywood, multiple black belts in martial arts, and has been a New York Times bestseller. It seems nothing was out of reach for Chuck Norris. Perhaps we should live with his mindset when he said, “A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do.”  
Of course, I can’t end this column without a few Chuck Norris jokes. Chuck Norris was bitten by a cobra and after five days of excruciating pain… the cobra died.  When Chuck Norris swims in the ocean, the sharks are in a steel cage.  When Chuck Norris works out, he doesn’t get stronger, the machine does.  
Happy birthday, Chuck Norris!
  • EVE ODUM is a senior at Seneca High School. She can be reached via

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