Did you know that the martial arts and movie industry legend Chuck Norris trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
And that he even trained with the Gracie family – as well as rolled with Rickson?
Norris reminisced about the first time he trained with the Gracie family, as well as how he heard about them:
I was in Rio de Janeiro on vacation and I was going round to all the different martial arts schools and working out, and every school I went to – the name “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu” kept popping up.
They said: “Oh man, the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu!” And I said: “I’ve gotta found out who they are.”
So I finally tracked them down in Rio and I went to their school and I met Mr. (Helio) Gracie, the father.
I met Rickson Gracie, who was the world champion at that time, and Royce Gracie.
The Gracies gave him an opportunity to train with them, as well as roll with Rickson:
So I asked them if I could work out with them and they said, you know, very cordially: “Of course!”
And I was a black belt in judo so I thought I had some pretty good grappling skills.
Anyway, I got on the ground with Rickson Gracie and it’s like I’d never had a lesson in my life.
He played with me.
Helio Gracie wanted Norris to stay and train with them for the upcoming time period, but the actor had career obligations:
He (Helio Gracie) says: “I want you to stay here”.
He says: “You got great potential, I can make you a great Jiu-Jitsu person.”
Unfortunately, I was getting ready to do a movie and I couldn’t stay there.
But I went back to LA and I started training with Rorion Gracie, who had a school in Los Angeles.
And I started training with the Machado brothers, who are the cousins of the Gracies.
Watch Chuck Norris talk about the experience: