Chuck Norris

The year is about 1965 and I am a surgical resident.  Jack Laskey D.O. was a resident in anesthesia and came in one day to tell us he started taking karate.  He was all enthused about it and would tell us during surgery of moves and maneuvers in the sport.    I don’t remember the year exact, but one day he told us there was a national meet at the Cleveland Arena, a very large indoor sports area.   He told us that he was going to be the doctor for the meet.  Then a couple days later he had to bow out on one of the afternoons and asked if I’d cover for him.  At this time karate was no contact, with protective gear and a referee, who also afforded points.  I went to the arena on the appointed afternoon not really knowing what to expect and was taken to sit on the seats next to the contestants right on the floor with the action taking place about 50 ft in front of me.  The referee was an intriguing person…I was told he was a professor of philosophy at a nearby university..he was foreign…Thai I think, and dressed in a brownish purple silk ghee.  He was unusually short and thin but behaved like a ballet dancer every time a point was scored, he animated the action and showed how it was made.  I relaxed after realizing most if any of my chore would be to patch up broken toenails.  Then there came the match between a white guy with slightly reddish blonde hair and a black guy, both black belts.  This was at a time when black-white confrontations were frowned upon.  They sparred for a short time and I could feel tensions from the audience.  Suddenly the white guy landed a kick directly over the liver of the black guy and he wasn’t just knocked 10 ft from here to there, he exploded from here to there.  He landed on his back and wasn’t moving.  I sat there in amazement not really knowing what to do.  Then the referee motioned to me to come check him out.  In my mind, I thought “what for he’s dead”…but by the time I got to him he was aroused and starting to move.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a ghee for karate, but it’s not the same as Judo or Ju-Jitsu.  It’s much thicker.  He had a raised footprint right over his liver.  The crowd was crazy till the referee quieted them down, and the black guy left the arena.  The white guy….was Chuck Norris.

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