“My Palms Were Sweating”: Chuck Norris’ Worst Fears Came True Once During a Martial Arts Demonstration in Front of 400 People

Published 12/26/2022, 1:30 PM EST

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Chuck Norris is one of the most bankable people in Hollywood. The star accidentally became an actor, after building up a reputation for his knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. It is hard to think of Norris being anything but his confident and formidable self. Yet, a while ago, the “Delta Force” actor spoke about how he got nervous while delivering a speech to a crowd.


Despite his on-screen and off-screen gravitas, something held the legendary actor back. He recalls being caught by stage fright, when at 21 years of age he was tasked with a martial arts demonstration in the March Air Force Base in California, in front of 400 people.  Let’s take a look at what caused his plight, and where it stemmed from.


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What is Chuck Norris’ worst fear?

Carlo Ray “Chuck” Norris was born to an absentee and alcoholic father. Though his mother raised him, he always lacked the inspiration of his father. In an interview with CBN, he shared, “I think a lot of my shyness and non-athleticism came because I didn’t have a father to instill those in me”.

Talking about his shyness and the day of the demonstration, he said, “My palms were sweating and I said, ‘Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Chuck Norris and I would like to welcome you here tonight.’ That was the last thing I remembered.” It was like he had faced his nightmare.


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Norris explains that regardless of his memory lapse, that moment helped him get over his insecurities. “I was able to crack that egg of insecurity that I had carried around for 21 years by doing that. I kept forcing myself to keep doing that, and eventually, I was able to overcome it.”, said Norris. Facing his fears is probably the bravest thing the young Norri did.

Did Martial Arts Save Chuck Norris?


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Norris started achieving proficiency in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tang Soo Do, and Judo, which changed his life forever. He said, “I was just a start-and-stop guy. I could never really follow through on anything that I started. Martial arts was really the first thing in my life that I followed through on and accomplished a degree of proficiency for,” And that made his unending journey even more magical.

via Imago

Martial art taught him to focus and discipline himself. Norris overcame his weakness of being shy around people and it helped him demonstrate his skills to 400 people even with sweaty hands and a thirsty throat. If it is not for his martial arts, he could not overcome his worst fear.


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Well, the great ones have fears too! Norris’ admission of his fragility inspires many to overcome their fears as well. If he had not chosen martial art, what do you think would have saved him?


Written by:

Soumili Chatterjee


One take at a time

Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh