Postive Aikido: Henry Ellis Interview

Henry Ellis interviewed by Arthur Lockyear for Fighting Arts International - Issue 93

Where and when were you born, Henry?
I was born in Yorkshire, in May 1936 in a little coal mining village called Brampton, near Rotherham. A place where you had to fight your way to and from school each day.

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An interview with Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris Interviewed by Geoff Thompson.

m_chuck_norrisI was recently invited to teach a self-defence seminar for Mr Chuck Norris in Las Vegas Nevada. Whilst there he was gracious enough to do an interview with me for Front Magazine and pose with his Front Hero medal. When I offered him the medal and informed him of his cult status with the readers of Front he was genuinely delighted and said it was a great honour. When you get to meet celebs it is often a disappointing experience, the minds eye image you have of your screen idol is often blasted half to death in ego.

I am delighted to say that Mr Chuck Norris was ego-less, he was not a disappointment, rather he was a delight. I found Mr Norris to be a genuinely warm and humble man, very quietly spoken and courteous at all times. This is what he had to say;

Geoff Thompson: What was your first break in to the film business?

Chuck Norris: Well, really my first big break was a movie called Good Guy's Wear Black. This was a screenplay that I helped develop and write. I peddled it around Hollywood for four years before I was able to finally make it a reality (laughs). But before that I had a chain of martial arts schools that a company wanted to buy and go nation-wide with. You know, like a whole chain of Chuck Norris schools. I thought that maybe 500 schools was better than owning six schools (laughs), well turns out it wasn't. Anyway two years later I lost everything. It took me five years to get out of that whole and pay all the creditors back. In the meantime I was trying to decide what I was going to do with my life. I was teaching private students at the time and one of them was an actor by the name of Steve McQueen. He asked me what I was going to do and said that I wasn't really sure yet whether I was going to start over again or what. I had a family at the time so I was making it by with private lessons and seminars. So he said 'I would suggest that you try the acting field'. I said 'why? I've never had an acting class in my life. I never even did a high school play (laughs). He said 'well, acting is not just having lessons. You either have a certain presence that comes across on the screen or you don't'. And he said 'I think you may have it. I strongly suggest that you give it a try'. So, of course I tried to go to acting school but, you know at this time I had no money. Nothing. And I was checking into acting schools and they were just too expensive. Finally I found an acting school that I was able to take on my GI bill through the military. So I went back to school to learn acting. Then I went out trying to find work (as an actor) but I was competing against guys with years and years of experience. I said 'this isn't going to work'. So I wound up writing my own screenplay and finally, you know through sheer determination and faith I sold the idea and made it a reality. That was in 1977. That, really was the beginning of my career.

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