Fight Authority

Self-Defense Techniques   •   Martial Arts   •   Fight Videos

Sign-up for Free Fighting Techniques & Videos

Chuck Norris’ Chun Kuk Do style


Chuck Norris’ Chun Kuk Do style
Original Poster: DAT
Forum: Korean Martial Arts
Posted On: 19-10-2004, 19:45

Orginal Post: DAT: I found a school in my area that belongs to Chuck Norris’ system of Chun Kuk Do. Loosely based on Tang Soo Do this system is supposed to include grappling and joint manipulation as well as Korean katas.

Has anyone had any experience with CKD? I went to their site but it is “under construction”. I’d like to find a syllabus or belt requirement list for this style. The local school does not have one???????

Can anyone out there help me? Thanks.

Post: MrApollinax:


[ How CHUCK NORRIS Nurtured Chun Kuk Do into One of the Most Comprehensive Systems of the 21st Century

Chuck Norris’ martial arts roots may lie in tang soo do, but the former middleweight karate champion has never limited himself to that art. Upon his return from Korea after his tour of duty with the U.S.

Air Force in 1962, he found only Japanese martial arts instructors to train with. Undaunted by the challenge of studying a new system, Norris set out to learn everything he could about the Japanese styles. He trained with Black Belt Hall of Fame members Tsutomu Ohshima and Fumio Demura to learn karate’s powerful striking techniques, then integrated them into his arsenal of kicks. His enthusiasm and willingness to learn new things resulted in the birth of his own fighting system, chun kuk do, and its umbrella organization, the United Fighting Arts Federation, in 1979.

Formerly called the Tang Soo Do Congress, the Las Vegas-based UFAF was designed as a black-belt organization that would propagate chun kuk do while acknowledging the styles that make it up, Norris says. It currently includes more than 2,300 black-belt members located in United States, Mexico and Canada, while chun kuk do Federation, in 1979.

Formerly called the Tang Soo Do Congress, the Las Vegas-based UFAF was designed as a black-belt organization that would propagate chun kuk do while acknowledging the styles that make it up, Norris says. It currently includes more than 2,300 black-belt members located in United States, Mexico and Canada, while chun kuk do boasts more than 3,800 practitioners around the world. The following is an in-depth look at the continuing evolution of Norris’ eclectic system and an update on the federation’s growth as we begin the 21st century.


Chun kuk do, or “universal way,” was chosen as the name of Norris’ art to reflect its Korean heritage, but its techniques were drawn from many different systems, says Ken Gallacher, executive- vice president of UFAF. The system’s extensive repertoire features Japanese and Okinawan hand techniques, tang soo do and taekwondo kicks, kung fu circular movements, aikido grips and judo throws.

Gallacher, who holds a ninth-degree black belt in chun kuk do, says that all these facets help fulfill the practitioners’ personal goals as well as make them well-rounded martial artists. “People come into the martial arts for their own reasons,” he explains.

“Some want to do it for health purposes, and some want to do it for personal growth. Our martial art is geared to do all those things.”

Like their counterparts in other systems, chun kuk do students practice forms and sparring. They are expected to know how to execute basic hand techniques such as the reverse punch, back-knuckle strike, spear-hand, palm-heel strike and knife-hand, as well as the elbow strike and the front, side, round, back, heel and crescent kicks, he says.

They also learn to use traditional weapons such as the bo, sai and nunchaku. Brazilian-jujutsu techniques were added to the repertoire in 1988.

With so many techniques available, the practitioner can choose the move or combination that works best for him in any competitive sparring or self-defense situation. For testing purposes, there is a degree of uniformity in terms of how a move should be performed, but there is still plenty of room to be creative, Gallacher says.

For example, the kata that are performed in tournaments are often not traditional UFAF forms, but are routines the competitors have designed, Norris says. He’s pleased that students experiment with and add new moves to their repertoire. “That’s what you want: growth,” he says. “You don’t want to become stagnant. We’re always looking for ways to improve our system, so whenever we find something that will enhance it, we bring it into our moves.”


Norris also encourages students to use mental techniques to improve their physical skills. “Visualization is one of the things I did when I fought top guys like Joe Lewis and Skipper Mullins,” he says. “I’d seen their fights so many times that I could visualize them in my mind. I’d do the fights over and over in my head so I would know their strong points. When I got in [the ring , it was like I’d already fought them.”

Reggie Cochran, UFAF’s regional chairman for California, says such mental exercises are also great for helping practitioners develop self-confidence and a positive attitude. “Once you learn the basic techniques of visualization and relaxation, they can be customized to your own needs,” he says.


Norris’ decision to include jujutsu techniques is one example of his open-minded approach to the martial arts.

A student of Brazilian-jujutsu expert Carlos Machado since 1990, he appreciated how the grappling techniques complemented those of the other systems already in chun kuk do’s repertoire, and assimilated portions of the art into his curriculum.

“Karate and taekwondo are not capable of dealing with a grappler,” he says. “I incorporated Machado jujutsu so our students would be able to defend themselves better.”

Norris remains open to adding techniques from other systems as well. “If someone comes in from another style and that system has a technique we like, I will sit down with the black-belt advisory board and discuss incorporating it into our advanced system,” he says. “Once you get a black belt, that doesn’t mean that’s all you have to learn.”


There is no minimum age for earning a black belt in chun kuk do, but students are not eligible to test for the rank until they have studied the art for at least three years, Gallacher says. The process generally takes five years to complete. “You can learn how to fight in six months, but you will not be a well-rounded martial artist in that time,” he adds.

According to their guidelines, all prospective members must join the chun kuk do student organization to earn a black belt in the art, and once they receive the coveted rank, they are eligible to join UFAF. Those who hold advanced rank in another system must serve one year of probation and learn the forms and techniques of chun kuk do before they qualify to join UFAF, Norris says.

“Most of our prospective members from other styles come from taekwondo ,” he says. “Depending on their rank, the examiner will decide what level they start out at.”

Cochran, who holds a sixth-degree black belt in chun kuk do, says students test for the lower ranks before whatever board their instructor assembles, but the black-belt test is administered by the regional or national board of directors that is responsible for that area. To increase the likelihood of passing the exam, a few months before the actual test the candidate does a pretest to determine if he is physically and psychologically ready for the real thing.

“In the old days, we’d average a 50- percent failure rate,” Norris says. “The pretest was developed so students could feel confident they could pass the real test.” This strategy seems to be working: After taking the pretest, students have a 96-percent chance of passing, he says.

“Not only are you held accountable for being able to execute a particular technique when it’s called, but it needs to be done at a pace where you can do it with ‘no mind,’ ” says Ed Saenz, international training director for UFAF.

“You have to respond quickly because the moment you are in the middle of executing [one technique , I’m already calling the next.” The exam consists of a forms section and a traditional section that tests how students block, punch, strike and kick.

In addition, they must throw techniques against a heavy bag and pads and demonstrate their offensive and defensive proficiency in sparring, Gallacher says. After first degree, candidates must also demonstrate their knowledge of jujutsu, and the third-degree test adds a weapons element.

Finally, students must write a 500- word essay and be evaluated on how much they have contributed to the art and how active they are in promoting the benefits of the martial arts to other people, he adds.


Norris, Saenz, Gallacher and UFAF’s 10 regional directors spend hundreds of hours working to ensure the smooth operation of UFAF and implementing a standardized method of teaching and testing, Cochran says. “Because of the way it is structured with our regional chairmen, regional boards, vice-presidents and training directors, we have the infrastructure to get [the best information  out to our members,” he says.

While Norris’ name alone could attract many more people to the organization, the film star believes the quality of each member of UFAF is more important than its size. In fact, he seems most proud of the close-knit atmosphere that characterizes UFAF. “What we want is loyalty and dedication, and that’s what we have,” he says.[/quote >

Post: DAT:

Thanks for your efforts. That gives me alot of insight. However, I would still like to hear from personal experiences. Many times those magazine articles are not much more than PR releases. Thanks again though for the article. I appreciate it.>

Post: MrApollinax:

No worries. I’ve never run across a CKD school but then again I’ve never looked for one. If there are any schools in my area I’ll try to check it out if i have time.>

Post: Oa3k:

From what I can see the art will have alot of striking techniques and place good emphasis on grappling techniques. In a street situation you could be pretty lethal with it.>


Leave A Reply