Tag Archives: Chuck Norris

Joe Lewis, The World’s Greatest Karate Fighter Of All Time

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”.

YouTube Preview Image

Linda Denley, Karate Superwoman From Houston, Texas

I am really excited to talk about today’s featured martial artist!

During the 70s and 80s while living in Germany, it was a real challenge to get my hands on American karate magazines. But whenever I did, it sure felt like Christmas and I devoured every page of information and inspiration. Especially articles and reports on Linda Denley.

For those of you who have never heard of her, let me warn you in advance. After this post you will be impressed. Very impressed, with this true living martial arts legend.

A native of Houston, Texas, Linda Denley grew up one of 12 children and as a teenager she excelled at just about any sport she took up, such as track and field, in which she even qualified for the Olympics in 5 events!! She couldn’t go to the Olympic Games simply because of her professional karate winnings.

Basketball was another example of her natural athleticism, in which she could have played semi-professional for the Houston Angels, but didn’t because of her karate career.

Linda Denley was THE female competitor to beat for many years.

Her aggressive fighting style earned her the nickname “Texas Terror” and boy, did she back that up with a record that is unheard of.

Starting with Tang Soo Do karate in 1973 under Master Robert Torres, she earned her black belt within 5 years, all while collecting trophies at tournaments.

Get this: Linda Denley was the top rated female kumite competitor from 1973 until 1996. That’s right, for 23 years. I am in awe!

She fought for nine years and did not lose a match. That’s just crazy stuff.

If you’re at all familiar with prestigious karate tournaments in the U.S., then you will appreciate this piece of information, too:

Linda Denley won the Battle of Atlanta not once or twice, but eleven times. Yes, that’s right, eleven times!

The other big-time tournament on the West Coast, simply known as the Long Beach Internationals, she won an impressive four times.

She really left “a path of destruction”  in countless other tournaments. At least that’s what it probably felt like for her competitors in those days.

For all her accomplishments on the karate circuit, Linda Denley has been acknowledged in so many remarkable ways such as “Competitor of the Year” and not surprisingly “Instructor of the Year 1999″.

In 1980, she was the very first female to be inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame!

Her fighting skills did not go unnoticed by the TV and movie industry either:

Linda Denley worked with Jackie Chan in “The Armour of God” and Chuck Norris in an episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger”.

Today, 6th dan Linda Denley owns the Texas Black Belt Academy in Houston and has dedicated her time and energy to helping kids reach their full potential not only inside the dojo, but in whatever they do in life.

And here, I believe Linda Denley, Karate Superwoman from Houston, Texas, is paving “a path of inspiration” for many.

Who’s The World’s Most Famous Martial Artist Ever?

Who do you think is the world’s most famous martial artist ever?

Are we talking about a martial artist becoming a famous household name?

Or are we talking about a famous household name who happens to be
a martial artist?

Hmmm.

Let’s see who comes to mind:

1. Bruce Lee was at first a martial artist and then became a household name.

2. Jackie Chan pretty much the same, right?

3. Chuck Norris, same way, I guess.

4. Steven Seagal, dto.

5. Oh, wait, how about “The King” aka Elvis Presley?
Everybody, young and old, martial artist or not, knows about the singer, entertainer,
songwriter Elvis Presley.

But most people don’t know that Elvis Presley was a dedicated martial artist in the style
of American Kenpo for many years until his untimely passing in 1977.

YouTube Preview Image

So, again, who would you consider the world’s most famous martial artist ever?

Tell me who comes to your mind!

A Tribute To The Godfather Of Grappling, “Judo” Gene Lebell

It’s about time for a tribute to The Godfather Of Grappling, “Judo” Gene Lebell!

In case of an emergency, people normally call ‘911′.  Right?!

Well, when seasoned martial arts and wrestling greats such as Bruce Lee, Ed Parker, Chuck Norris, Bob Wall, Ken Shamrock, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, The Rock, Gokor “Armenian Assassin” Chivichyan and many many more needed grappling advice and training, guess who they called?

You guessed right, “Judo” Gene Lebell.

In 1954, as a twenty-two year old judoka, Master Gene accomplished something at the National Judo Championships in Japan nobody had done before:

He won the Heavyweight Title as the first non-Japanese weighing only 165 lbs.!

Master Gene repeated this extraordinary acomplishment the next year.

All while competing in a pink judo gi. So what’s with funky colored gi?
I’m glad you asked.

When Master Gene was in Japan the first time, the laundry service cleaning his gi messed up big time by somehow throwing in red clothing and so turning his white gi into the now infamous pink.

Master Gene had no choice but to compete in pink. The Japanese were outraged, because they considered it disrespectful. Traditions can be very strong.

Master Gene prevailed and the pink gi has been his trademark ever since.

So, when looking around a dojo you knew that dangerous guy was always the one wearing pink.

For years he continued to successfully compete in the Judo and Pro-Wrestling.

His proven skills have helped him in stunt-work in literally hundreds of movies along side with celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

Master Gene continues to share his vast knowledge in Los Angeles and at seminars around the country such as the Paradise Warrior Retreat with other martial arts legends.

Master Gene is certainly not your typical 77-year old.
He’s as sharp as a tack and as witty as they come. And he owns the mat.

And what’s absolutely amazing: His sleeper choke keeps on putting people to sleep within seconds.
Nobody does it better!

Or as the famous saying goes, “When in doubt, choke him out.”

YouTube Preview Image

Let me know if any of you have met “Judo” Gene Lebell in person.