Thursday, July 08, 2004

My Story: The Chuck Norris Story

America's favorite Republican karate champion Chuck Norris' new biography is on the verge of being published. According to the National Enquirer, Norris scribblings get into his less-than-ideal backstory:

"'I want (my children) to see the struggles. I want them to understand that it hasn't been an easy road, but that anyone can achieve success in their lives if they keep their focus on their goals, work hard and never lose your faith in yourself or in God.'

"Chuck's profits from the new book will be donated to KICKSTART, an organization he founded to use the martial arts to build character in children in the schools.

"In his book Chuck tells how Carlos Ray Norris -- Chuck is a nickname -- was born dirt poor in Ryan, Okla. The book describes his father as an alcoholic, and chronicles his mother's struggles with menial jobs to raise her children."

That's kind of like our personal hero, Danny Laruso, who was born in Newark, New Jersey, and whose mother, Lucielle, did a little waitressing here and there so her son could attend a school where he regularly got the crap kicked out of him by the rich, arrogant Republican Cobra-Kai's (who, incidentally had the coolest terror-inducing skeleton outfits for Halloween).

"In fact, Chuck's very birth was a miracle -- he was born a 'blue baby' and had to be placed on oxygen from birth.

"After high school Norris joined the Air Force and was stationed in Korea, where he discovered karate. The grueling five-hour daily practice sessions taught him to stick it out, no matter how hard the task."

Yeah, that's kind of like Daniel-san, who "discovered" karate from a wise old Mr. Miyage (played adventurously by the late, great Pat Morita, of Happy Days fame) after Daniel-San sets up a water hose in Aryan Cobra-Kai leader Johnny's bathroom stall, totally fucking up his righteous "joint," (the concentration that kid put into it was commendable) precipitating in another major ass whipping, in a lonely abandoned field. Miyage intervenes at the last moment, saving Daniel-San from a sign splitting kick from Johnny, and, in the end, teaching him some special Okinawa-style karate. In the second movie Peter Cetera sings 'Glory of Love,' which is the beginning of the end of the 80s.

"Discharged from the Air Force and with a wife and child to support, Chuck opened a karate school in Torrance, Calif. He entered a karate tournament, hoping to win and pick up more students for his school -- but he lost!"

This is like the charismatic Mr. Kreese, dojo leader of the Cobra-Kai's, with that very 80s cleft in his chin ("We do not train to be merciful here, mercy is for the weak. A man confronts you in the street he is your enemy. An enemy deserves no mercy.").

"'Instead of giving up, though, I began to struggle, to train harder and to pray a lot,' he recalled. 'I learned that the only time you lose is when you don't learn from your failures.'"

Chuck is so Republican, with that admirable formula of struggle-to-succeed, it's a very Cobra-Kai philosophy, witness Mr. Kreese ("Fear does not exist in this dojo, does it?/ No, Sensei/ Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it? /No, Sensei./ Defeat does not exist in this dojo, does it? /No, Sensei.")

"Chuck went on to become a six-time world karate champion. Then one day movie star Steve McQueen, who had brought his son Chad to Norris for karate lessons, suggested that Chuck try acting.

"'I thought he had to be kidding. I was 34 years old, with absolutely no acting experience. I started going to acting school. Here I was, starting from Ground Zero! But I was determined -- believe in what you want to do, and nothing can stop you.'"

Determination. That's the kind of determination Mr. Miyage showed when some inbred hilbillies placed their beers on his truck after Daniel-San had had that scenic karate in the sunset on the boat moment. ("Excuse me, please. Boy cold. Must leave. Kindly remove bottles. / Drunk: Kindry do it yourself, Mr. Moto./ Miyage sweeps the tops off the beer bottles with a single elegant thrust")

"Chuck's first movie 'Good Guys Wear Black' launched a career spanning 23 motion pictures and a hit television series.

"Now he's planning to film a new two-hour 'Walker, Texas Ranger' show soon in Dallas."

"Said Chuck: 'God never told me to retire.'"

Retiring reminds me of when Bobby is about to face Daniel in the semifinals ("Kreese: Bobby. I want him out of commission / Bobby: But Sensei I can beat this guy. /Kreese: I don't want him beaten. /Bobby: But I'll be disqualified. Kreese: Out of commission.")

Anyway, thanks for standing by me on this 80s flashback, check out Chuck's book.


The Corsair said...

you're welcome Jimmy. Our favorite Karate Kid film was the third where the creepy guy with the ponytail teams up with Kreese to take on Laruso and Miyage. The 80s magic was gone, and the dotcom 90s were on the horizon, but it was stil priceless.

The Corsair said...

Yeah, Chuck is quite a super-Republican, but my mom loved Walker, Texas Ranger, so that's why I did the piece. I think the whole alpha male Republican thing comes out of his struggle from poverty and karate, which I can respect.

Miyage's death is a little bit more troubling. I always hoped that there would be a tv show based on the film. How could it go wrong? I'm thinking Laruso, PI, like Magnum, except Daniel-San, now grown up, is using his Okinawa-based martial arts skills to haly crime. But now that Pat Morita is dead ... (sighs). Pt Morita was the man.