Whenever I ask people, who aren’t involved in martial arts and karate in specific, about the greatest karate fighter they will in most cases name Bruce Lee and/or Chuck Norris.
Joe Lewis? Not really.
That got me thinking.
Without a doubt, Bruce Lee was and Chuck Norris still is a formidable martial artist and fighter.
The exposure both of them received through television and movies made them household names, worldwide.
Again, Joe Lewis? Nope.
What amazes me about Joe Lewis is that as a U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa in 1965 he started studying Shorin-Ryu Karate at the youthful age of 18 and reportedly attained his black belt in only 7 (seven!) months.
After his military service Joe Lewis returned to the United States and in 1966 he began his unmatched tournament karate career.
At times, he trained with martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who by the way did not compete in any tournaments.
During 1966 to 1974 Joe Lewis competed on the tournament circuit as well as a professional kick-boxer winning national and world titles as a heavyweight fighter. He is considered the “Founding Father of Kickboxing in the Western Hemisphere”.
Throughout his career he fought famous fighters such as Allen Steen, Thomas LaPuppet, Louis Delgado, Skipper Mullins, Victor Moore, Joe Hayes, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez and yes, Chuck Norris.
Joe Lewis was an original member of the U.S. World Karate Team that also consisted of Mike Stone, Skipper Mullins, Chuck Norris and his friend and student, Bob Wall.
Joe Lewis starred in a number of action-adventure movies such as “Jaguar Lives” and “Force Five” and has received numerous awards for his achievements in and out of the ring.
In 1983, karate living legend Joe Lewis was chosen by his peers and fellow fighters as “The World’s Greatest Karate Fighter Of All Time”.