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Scott Campsall

A Force of One

 It was a regular thing and Jack was a witness to it every afternoon. A little third grader named Carlos would be chased home from school by a bigger boy named Bobby. Bobby, a full blooded Native American kid would usually catch the smaller half Irish, have Cherokee child and beat him up if he couldn't make it safely home to his mother in time. This happened regularly in front of Jack's gas station in Miami, Arizona and he had finally seen enough.

The day had arrived when he finally went to Carlos' mother and told her to stay in the house this time and not interfere. She agreed and Carlos came running by the gas station right on schedule as fast as he could. Jack stopped Carlos and asked to have a talk with him and Carlos reluctantly agreed. He said he could only stop for a moment because Bobby was right behind him. He had to go because Bobby was going to be there any minute!

Jack told Carlos that today, he wasn't going to go anywhere. Today, he was going to stand up to Bobby. Carlos was defiant to say the least. Did Jack not know how big Bobby was? Did he not know about all of the beatings? Was he unaware of the fact that despite the fact Carlos' father was an alcoholic, that he would still rather be home than out in the neighbourhood playing after school? Jack insisted that Carlos stand strong and not back down to Bobby and in a twist of events, he encouraged Carlos so much that when Bobby eventually had arrived on the scene, it was actually Carlos that jumped him! The fight started out as usual with Carlos receiving a walloping until at one point, Carlos was able to grab a hold of one of Bobby's fingers and bend it back. He had control of the bully! The large tyrant cried out in pain and gave up to the small child.

That's how it started. Carlos was instilled with so much confidence from that encounter that he eventually enlisted in the Air Force as an Air Policeman and was sent to Osan Air Force base in South Korea. It was there that Carlos Ray Norris started training in martial arts and received the nickname of "Chuck". He moved forward and won the Professional World Full-Contact Middleweight Karate Champion title in 1968, which he retained until he retired in 1974. He started teaching students including many celebrities including Steve McQueen who encouraged him to take up movie acting. He landed many roles, but in the end it was after filming a movie with Bruce Lee that his career really took off.

There aren't too many martial art instructors that don't know the name Chuck Norris. There probably aren't too many people in the world that haven't heard the name before for that matter! To us, the true hero of this story is Jack the gas station owner. The man who took the time to encourage a little boy made a difference and to us, people who work with children as young as 3 years of age trying to instill confidence and self-esteem, this is a big deal. You don't have to own a martial art school though to have an impact. We can tell you of teachers and adults who have definitely made a difference in our lives. It's time for us as grown-ups to realize that we are now in the position of influence. Big trees grow from small seeds. Big futures can result from small words and deeds to the younger generation.
July 6, 2019