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Chuck Norris w. Ken Abraham

Author of  Justice Riders

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt  |  Interview



Chuck Norrisís television series, Walker, Texas Ranger, which completed its run in April 2001, after eight full seasons is the most successful Saturday night series on CBS since Gunsmoke.  Norris has also been starred in more than 20 major pictures, including Delta Force, Missing In Action, and Sidekicks, and has written the original screenplays for a number of his box office hits.  Among his more rewarding accomplishments is the creation in 1992 of his Kick-Start Program, which began in Houston, Texas, teaching 150 at-risk children martial arts as part of the P.E. curriculum.  Since that time, his program, which instills discipline and respect and raises self-esteem, serves more than 5,000 youngsters year-round at 35 schools in the Dallas and Houston, Texas, areas.  A New York Times bestselling author of two books, including the 2004 autobiographical, Against All Odds, Mr. Norris recently completed his first book, a fiction, The Justice Riders.  This is the first title in what is to be a series of Justice Rider novels all set in the Old West.  Before we take your questions, Mr. Norris, would you like to begin with an opening statement?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, Iíd just like to say that I really appreciate everyone being on the line and doing this interview this morning.  And Iím really excited about this book and so Iím looking forward to the interview.

OPERATOR:  Mr. Norris, our first question comes from Jennifer Bobolski with the Altoona Mirror.


MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Hi, Mr. Norris, how are you?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Iím doing well, thank you.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Well, I know that youíve written your autobiography and that you also wrote The Secret Power Within.


MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  I was just curious as to what made you want to make the jump into fiction writing, and if you found that transition challenging at all?  Iím sure it was.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, it was very challenging.  But the thing is that Iíve had this concept in my mind for a long time as far as making a movie, Iíd like to have made this a movie.  But I thought, well, this is a great opportunity for me to try my hand at fiction.  And I love the story concept that I wound up writing, you know, dealing with a few men who helped to change the course of history.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And then also, thereís some historical facts in this book.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You know, I donít know if you know about that, but the Sultana was a steamboat back at the end of the Civil War that was transporting soldiers back home.  And they were only supposed to put on like, 400 people on that steamboat, but the captain was getting paid per head, and so he wound up putting 1,600 - [Interposing]


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  - people on the steamboat, and then going down the river, the boiler blew up, and 1,400 of those people drowned, were burned, or were drowned.  And it was the biggest water catastrophe, tragedy in the history of--but it didnít become news because that same week, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Thatís right, yeah.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And so the thing is, the Sultana didnít get the news that it deserved, and so, you know, you can still find books about it, but it didnít become like the Titanic, you know?


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Being known like that, and anyway, and so thereís some historical concepts in the book as well.  But it was fun writing it.


OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Rayanne Rubenstein with Fish Magazine.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hi, Rayanne.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  How are you today?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Iím doing good, thanks.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Good.  So I see that on the jacket of the book that you had some collaborators?


MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Can you tell me about the process that you went through in order to create the book, like, exactly how, like, did you originate it, and then you - [Interposing]

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, well, the thing is, is that Ken Abraham, who has written many New York Times bestsellers, you know, he wrote Lisa Beamerís book, Letís Roll, and Tracey Stewartís book, Payne Stewart, The Authorized Biography.  And, of course, he helped me with my book, Against All Odds.  And when I decided to write this, The Justice Riders, I knew that I needed some help with this, and so I called Ken and we collaborated on it.  And then I brought my brother in to help me create the storyline of the book, because heís also a producer, writer, and director.  And then I brought in Tim Graham, who is a historical buff, and heís the one that really brought up about the Sultana, and he knew all about the Sultana, which, you know, again, as I was saying, is a true story, that did really happen, that we incorporated into the storyline of the book.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  May I ask a follow-up question?


MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  And so do you have a clue as to whatís going to happen to your cast of characters now that the Civil War is over?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, yeah, well, the second book is already in the development stages.  Oh, yeah, they will continue on with their quest in this book here.  And basically, Iíll kind of give you a little advance concept of the book, is that, you know, now that the Justice Riders have completed this book here and theyíre going back and they meet with General Sherman, who tries to make them U.S. Marshals to help clean up the West.  But before they do, they have their own quest that they have to do, and thatís what the next book is about, is their personal quest before they wind up coming back to General Sherman.  And so itís going to be another exciting story, I believe, and Iíd have to say that Iím very excited about The Justice Riders because I think itís a page turner, which to me is very important.  When I read a book, I want to be looking forward to the next page, and I think thatís what The Justice Riders is all about.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Phil Anderson with the Topeka Capital Journal.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Good afternoon, Mr. Norris.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  How are you doing, Phil?

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Good, itís a pleasure to speak with you today.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Itís my pleasure.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  And thank you for taking the time this day.  And just kind of a follow-up on the other questions.  Do you have any idea of the timetable of when some of these books may go into production, in terms of film?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  No, not actually, Phil, you know what, it all depends on how well it does.  [Laughter]


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You know, it helps if itís a bestseller.  But we have no projected date, you know, again, thatís all speculation whether it will ever become a movie or not.  Itís something that I would love to do, is turn Justice Riders into either a movie of the week, or whatever we can do with that.  But right now, all Iím concerned about is trying to make it the bestselling book that I can possibly make it.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Very good.  

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  But the thing is, is I think that people will really enjoy it.  Like I said, thereís a lot of facts in the book, about the Sultana, and also, a lot dealing with the Civil War, that is that itís got a lot of factual concept to it as well.  And, of course, we incorporate the Justice Riders, which is all fiction.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Would this be something that if, at some point, it did get to the level of success, where a movie might be possible, would this be--what would you like to see as far as your involvement in the movie?  Would you like to produce or direct or be in the movie as an actor?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  I would produce it, yeah, I would produce it.  Ezra Justice, who is the main character, is quite a guy.  And heís a guy in his thirties, of course, which Iím much older than that.  But I would love to see this become a movie or a movie of the week, preferably.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Thank you very much.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You bet you, Phil.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Jodie Baxter with Parent Guide Magazine.

MS. JODIE BAXTER:  How are you?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Fine, Jodie, how are you doing?

MS. JODIE BAXTER:  Iím doing well, thank you.  I know one of the things thatís really important to you is your faith.  But what Iím wondering if you could talk a little about how you imbued that in this historical fiction piece that youíve created?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, the thing is, is that throughout the book, Ezra Justice, who is the main character of the book.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You know, becomes a Christian when heís in his youth, because Ezra grew up on a plantation in Tennessee during pre-Civil War.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And his best friend is a slave boy, and this slave boy converts him to Christianity.  But all through the book, you know, Big Nate [phonetic] is the black boy that is his best friend.  And Big Nate says, all through the book, he says, Ezra, your problem about faith is itís 18 inches too high, which means that heís intellectualizing his faith, rather than it become part of his heart, you know, heís intellectualizing it.  And so the whole book deals with this, and, boy, Ezra eventually finds his faith in his heart, and not in his head.

MS. JODIE BAXTER:  Wonderful.  Thank you so much.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Youíre quite welcome.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Lindy Woods with the Christian Networks Journal.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Good afternoon, Mr. Norris.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hi, Lindy, how are you doing?

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Oh, just great, thanks for inviting us to speak with you.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, thank you so much for doing this.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Well, hereís my question, my first question.  In most of your movies and television shows, good always wins out over evil.  But most all of them, and even in this book, contain violence as a means to an end.  And Iím wondering, how, especially, like, with your Kick-Start Program, how do you instruct young people that you work with, to know where to set their own appropriate physical boundaries, in terms of violence?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, the thing is, is that you try to avoid it at all, if at all possible.  And itís only being prepared.  And the main thing, generally, you can avoid violence when youíre prepared.  Itís when youíre not prepared, thatís when, you know?


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And so the thing is, we tell our kids that the only time you ever use your abilities is when itís the last resort.  And the thing is, thereís a certain demeanor with martial arts kids, and I can always see it, and I can always tell, when Iím traveling around, I can always tell when a kid comes up and asks for an autograph, whether heís a martial artist or not a martial artist by his demeanor.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And itís a very confident demeanor.  And so the thing is, relating to my Kick-Start Program with my kids, is that these kids never get into trouble because they donít have to.  They have the ability to deal with the trouble, and so they donít have to look for trouble.  And most bullies are guys who are very insecure and they look for weaker people to pick on.  And they will never pick on a person that they think can take care of the situation.  And so you find that when you become good in the martial arts, you never have to use it.  And as far as my movies go, you know, my characters, well, like my series, with Walker, is that it was the last resort.  It was either, take care of it on a physical level, or be killed, or be injured, and so we always try to make a point that it was always a last resort.  And thatís what it is all about today, you know, is that we all wish that if we were walking down the street and walking in an alley and some person confronts us, that we can deal with it.  And we all wish we could have that ability.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And thatís basically what my concepts of it is all about.  And, of course, to make the movies entertaining, youíve got to deal with those type of things in an action way or otherwise, you donít have a movie.  [Laughter]

MS. LINDY WOODS:  [Laughter]  Well, thatís what we expect from you.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  But as far as my Kick-Start Program, we always sell to our kids, that you never use this, except if itís a last resort.  And mostly, you know, kids do, and kids know, and they have that responsibility.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Uh huh.  Great.  Thank you very much.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Youíre quite welcome.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Ryan Richardson with Modern Disciple Magazine.

MR. RYAN RICHARDSON:  Good morning, Mr. Norris, how are you?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Iím doing well, thank you.

MR. RYAN RICHARDSON:  I appreciate it.  I had just two questions, I was just wondering, for you, what was the difference between writing a screenplay and writing a fiction novel?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, you know, the thing is, when youíre writing your autobiography, of course, you have all the facts before you and you can kind of write what your whole life was before you.  But in fiction, youíve got to create and youíve got to use more of your imagination.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  To create the flow of the book.  You know, when I wrote Against All Odds, of course, Iím just writing about my life, as it came out, as it rolled out over the years.  But in The Justice Riders, again, we had to come up with creative ways to make it entertaining, and keep the story flowing.  And where the people will say, boy, I canít wait until the next, you know, to see what the next page is all about.  And thatís whatís creative in writing fiction, is trying to make it a page turner, where you canít wait to see how the story folds out.  And I really think in The Justice Riders, we do this, thereís some incredible things that these guys encounter throughout the book.  Because the whole thing is about seven men that General Sherman has recruited.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  To help expedite the end of the Civil War.  And each man, you know, thereís that different character in its own way, I mean, thereís really a great cast of characters.  Ezra Justice, who is the main character, as the guy, like I said, who grew up on a plantation, and when he becomes a Christian, he doesnít believe in slavery.  And so when his parents die and he takes over the plantation, he starts treating his slaves as equals.  He starts paying them a salary as employees, and not as slaves.  

MR. RYAN RICHARDSON:  Which is a revolutionary idea.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  A revolutionary idea, and, of course, he gets a lot of flack from the other plantations.  But the thing is, is that he doesnít care because he knows in his heart, this is what he should be doing with the people that work for him.  And then when the war breaks out, then he has to make the decision and, of course, he goes to fight for the North.  And Big Nate, who is his best friend, slave boy on the plantation, who is his best friend, he goes with him to fight for the North.  And Nate is his spiritual advisor, you know?


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And Nate is the one that tries to keep Ezra on the straight and narrow with his faith throughout the whole book.  And then, of course, weíve got, and me being half Irish and half Indian, you know, my Irish side of this is Sergeant Shawn OíBanyan [phonetic], who is an Irishman, who is an Irish boxer and just an impetuous guy, who we recruit to be part of the team.  And then thereís Sergeant Harry Whitecloud [phonetic] who is part Sioux and part White, and heís part of the cast.  And we just have a tremendous--and then we have a flamboyant, a womanizing Brit, called Sergeant Reginald Bonestill [phonetic].  And then, of course, we have the Hawkins Twins [phonetic], two brothers, Roberto and Carlos, who are quite a character, and theyíre very colorful guys, too.  And so we have a real good cast of characters.  

MR. RYAN RICHARDSON:  Itís been interesting to see that youíve taken a real approach to incorporating multicultural characters into the book.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, and the situations that they deal with, whether itís faith or politics or whatever it may be, or prejudice.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Because here, you have a black man and a white man, and youíre dealing with the racial issues there.  And a British guy and an Irish guy, you know, because of Ireland.  And so thereís a lot of things going on in the book dealing with racial prejudice and prejudice in religion as well.

MR. RYAN RICHARDSON:  And now was it a focused approach to address that topic, you know, within Christians and within the church as well?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, it does, again - [Interposing]

MR. RYAN RICHARDSON:  A lot of people shy away from that though.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  I know, but what weíre talking about is tolerance, and thatís the key thing.  I mean, be tolerant of anyoneís faith.  And the thing is, whether, if they believe one way or another, you know, be tolerant with that.  And if the world would kind of understand this, have this understanding, letís work together.  Weíre all human beings.  And we all have our prejudices and so forth, but the thing is, letís be tolerant with each other.  And if we could do that, there would be a lot more peace in our world today.  And this book kind of deals with some of that.

MR. RYAN RICHARDSON:  Thank you very much.  I appreciate it.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Uh huh.  You bet.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Erin Steele with the Killeen Daily Herald.

MS. ERIN STEELE:  Hi, how are you?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Iím doing well, thank you.

MS. ERIN STEELE:  Good.  Well, my question is, youíve definitely become a pop culture figure, I mean, Conan OíBrien even has his Chuck Norris [unintelligible].  And Iím wondering if you feel the TV show and your books have further elevated your status as an icon, and specifically, in Texas?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, what surprises me is the college kids.  [Laughter]  And I have to be truthful, it kind of surprises me, that of all the things thatís going on, on the Internet right now with me, you know, I never envisioned something like this ever materializing.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And people send me emails of different things that the college kids are saying about me on there.  And some of them are funny and some are a little bit gross, to say the least.  But Iím thinking, golly, I mean, why have they picked me to be the central character of all these things thatís going on?  And I have to say that maybe itís because of Conan, because heís so fixated on the Walker character every night, and opening it up on its show.  And I donít know if you know, I did his show about a year ago.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Where I came on and beat him up for doing that.  Iíll tell you, heís a great guy and I really enjoyed doing the show with him.  Because I think that Conan is predominantly a college viewing type audience.  And so I guess maybe they picked up on that and it just mushroomed from there, I presume, truthfully, I donít know, but itís quite surprising to me, that theyíve centered on me.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  But the thing is, you know, I donít take it offensively.  Some of it is pretty funny, but some of it, I think, is a little bit way out.

MS. ERIN STEELE:  Yeah.  What Iím also wondering is, for those who were big fans of the TV show, do you think the book will kind of wet their appetite for those who are looking for a similar character as Walker?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  I hope so, because Ezra Justice, thereís a little bit of Walker in Ezra Justice.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And, of course, you know, a little bit of my character, because I wrote the book.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  But anyway, thereís a little bit of this guy, Ezra, who, you know, I think youíll see a little bit of the western flavor in Ezra Justice, because it is a combination of a western novel.  But first, dealing with the Civil War, but eventually, they become law enforcement officers as the books come out.  But getting back to the kids, you know, writing on there, again, I just want them to know that I donít take it offensively.  [Laughter]  Some of it, I donít even know, itís pretty far out.

MS. ERIN STEELE:  Yeah.  Well, thank you, I appreciate it.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, you bet.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Phil Anderson with the Topeka Capital Journal.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Hello again, Mr. Norris.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hello, Phil.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Iím making the second lap here.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Thatís quite all right.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Say, why do you think it is--and Iíve enjoyed all of the questions and answers and itís a lot of fun listening in.  But why do you feel that people are still interested in westerns after all this?  Itís now about 130 or 140 years after some of the things take place, that youíre writing about, and why is there still this appeal for people nowadays?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You know, the thing is, because Walker had a western flavor to it, and I always felt that Walker was a modern day western.  And I think that people all are concerned about justice, you know, and good overcoming evil.  And thatís really what Walker is all about.  And most of my movies dealt with good over evil.  And I think thatís more of the jest of what people are really concerned about, is just having good win out over evil.  And I think thatís why Walker was a success.  And hopefully, The Justice Riders will be a success, because thatís basically, itís a feel good kind of a book, and itís very entertaining, and thereís a lot of twists and turns in the book that will keep you interested in turning the page.  And I think the secret to the success of it is that we, as human beings, always want the good to win out over the bad.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Yes, and there does seem to be a lot of these books and movies coming out now.  And it seems like Hollywood has shifted a little bit to at least being open to movies with these types of messages.  And maybe, have you seen this a little bit more, in terms of Hollywood?  And also, I wanted to ask you one other question real quickly, and that is, in this particular book, how do you plan to have this marketed?  Is it going to be in mainstream bookstores, Christian bookstores, both, and who do you see as the audience for this book?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Truthfully, I think itís like the Walker audience, and I think that itíll go from the young, and I think the young kids will enjoy the book, all the way to the senior citizens.  Because Walker had a wide variety of viewing audience, and I think the book will have the same, I think, because the young people enjoy the book, and I think everyone in-between will enjoy the book as well.  And so I donít think thereís a focus group that we have to say will be the only ones that will enjoy this book.  I think anyone from 12 on up would really enjoy reading this book.  And youíre right about the feel good, you know, the movies that are coming out now are basically feel good kind of movies.  And Narnia, dealing with more, a little bit of the faith-based concept of Aslan being a depiction of Christ [unintelligible].  And actually, thatís what got me into the movie business, I have to say, because I thought the movies were just too anti-heroic.  And I thought that we needed some positive images on the screen.  And so when I decided to become an actor in 1976, I said, you know, I want to project a positive image on the screen, and justice fighting against injustice.  And so that was always my story concept, whenever I did my movies, that I would always focus on those kind of movies.  And Iíve turned down a lot of movies that had a negative connotation to it, because I want to stay on a positive flow with my films.  And it paid off for me, it worked.  [Laughter]

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  [Laughter]  Yeah, there was an audience for that, wasnít there?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, there was an audience for it, yes, and so I really focus on that particular audience.  An audience who looks on the bright side of things, and not the dark side of things.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And the concept of the glass being half full and not half empty.  And so thatís kind of the focus that I do.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Well, thank you for your time again.  

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Anytime, Phil.


OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Lindy Woods with the Christian Networks Journal.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Thanks again.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You bet, Lindy.  

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Iím wondering, when you started this project, if you were really just thinking about the fun of the stories and the fun of going through that, or were you hoping that you might be able to influence readers or, you know, later on, the moviegoers, about the deeper issues that are in them, like war, slavery, prejudice?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, when I decided to take this on, yeah, I had that in mind.  And the thing is that, I donít want to cram Christianity down peopleís throats.  But the book does deal with people, like thereís one scene on the Sultana, and I donít know if youíve read the book yet or not, but when the Sultana is going down, you know, a lot of people are dying.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And 1,400 people died.  And the Justice Riders are on the boat and theyíre trying to save as many people as they possibly can.  And thereís one particular part where this man is dying, and Big Nate, you know, my black friend, heís trying to help him, but he realizes thereís nothing he can do.  And the man now is dealing with his sins, and heís saying, you know, Iíve been a sinner all of my life and I know where Iím going.  And Nate says, you donít have to go there.  He says, all youíve got to do is accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and confess your sins and you donít have to go to hell.  And so thereís some things like this here, and this man, you know, finally confessing his sins before he dies.  And so thereís some very emotional scenes dealing with faith in the book.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And then Ezra dealing with his faith, you know, he thinks that heís a Christian, but heís intellectualizing his Christianity.  And Nate is constantly reminding him that faith is not in your head, that faith is in your heart.  And if you would just let it come down 18 inches lower, youíd find out really, what itís all about.  And thatís what Iím trying to do with the book, you know, to try to convey to the reader that we should look into the heart of the person.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And not at the color of their skin or their religion preference or their politics.  And thatís basically what this book does, you know, through all the action that goes on with the book as well.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  I hope that we evolve that in when it hits the screen.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, and the thing is, I think about my brother, who was killed in Vietnam.  And the last letter that I got from him, it was four hours before he was killed in Vietnam.  And in his letter, he said, Iíve never felt closer to God in my life than I do right now.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  A little foreshadowing there?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah.  And then four hours later, he was killed.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And so the thing is, you know, that old saying, there are no atheists in foxholes?


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, the thing is, when life gets real down, youíve got to find something that gives you, you know, that itís more than just your own ability.  And youíve got to find a higher power to overcome those.  And thatís basically what they do in the book here too, is the situation that they have to deal with, that they realize is beyond their own physical ability as a human being.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Rayanne Rubenstein with Fish Magazine.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Oh, hi there again, Mr. Norris.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hi, Rayanne.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  By the way, I wanted to tell you that Iím speaking to you from Nashville, Tennessee.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, really?

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Yes, I am, and so I very much took to heart your scenes in the book about the Battle of Franklin and all of that.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, yeah, we go down to, you know, he lives in Franklin, and so we go down there quite often and see him and his family.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Yes, excellent.  Well, my question is about the other aspect of your quite extraordinary career, which is your martial arts career.  And Iím sure that you knew this would probably come up.  But Iím interested to know, I read a quote of yours, actually, about the philosophies of martial arts.  And it seems to me that your relationship with martial arts and your relationship towards Christianity seem to converge in many ways.  Could you address that?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, they do, you know, the basic philosophies of martial arts is really based a lot on Proverbs in the Bible, if you really think about it, you know, about the type of person that you should be, and thatís all martial art philosophies, that really, if you read Proverbs in the Bible, you will see that they all kind of interrelate.  And so the thing is that, we do, as a martial artist, our main goal as a martial arts teacher and what itís done for me, basically, Rayanne, when I started the martial arts in Korea, I was a very insecure young man, physically, and mentally, and socially.  And the martial arts really helped me overcome those very insecure things in my life.  And so thatís why Iím such a strong advocate of the martial arts.  And thatís why I became a martial arts teacher, to help young people who had the same inflictions that I had, and help them to overcome them.  And I did that for years, for 15 years as a martial arts teacher.  But when Iím teaching these young people, you know, Iím thinking, these are kids whose parents can afford to bring them to my school and pay the tuition, and what about the millions of young kids in America whose parents donít have the money?  And I said, how could I reach those kids?  And so it had been in the back of my mind for many, many years.  And then finally, about 14 years ago, I decided to start a program, a foundation called kick--well, it was called, Kick Drugs Out Of America, at that time, and now I call it Kick-Start, and building strong, moral character in our youth through the martial arts.  And using this tool, this martial arts tool to help these kids to set their minds on a positive way of life, and going down the positive direction of life, and not the negative side of life.  Because so many of these kids are at-risk children, who feel that theyíre not going to live to be 20 years of age.  And that theyíre going to live a life of crime, or whatever the case may be, or drugs.  And so through the martial arts training, we help these kids to understand that thereís more to life than that, and that they can be anything they want to be, if they just focus themselves.  And we give them positive affirmations every day in class.  And you can see a whole transformation of positiveness happening in these youngsters.  And I have to say, that has probably been the most fulfilling thing in my life, is seeing some of these kids now going to college.  And if you would have talked to them, Rayanne, they would say, you know, because of the Kick-Start Program, thatís what kept me out of jail, or possibly being killed on the street.  And so that has been a very gratifying thing.  And as you may now from my martial art background, Iím starting a world combat league.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  That was actually my next question.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, well, what motivated me to do that is that I thought, how can I keep this program going?  Because with the Kick-Start Program, we have 5,000 kids in the program.  And over the last 14 years, weíve graduated 35,000 kids, who have now, many of them have gone on to college and become successful in their own lives today.  One boy graduated from MIT on a scholarship, which, you know, Gerard Orisparza [phonetic], who was a kid going in the wrong direction, and when he got into our program, he got focused in a positive way and he wound up getting straight Aís through high school and graduating from MIT.  And so these are great success stories.  And one girl, a Hispanic girl, who graduated from high school valedictorian, who is the first girl to ever go to college in her whole familyís generation.  And so it has just been--seeing these success stories of these young people has been so gratifying.  But the thing is that I have 37 schools and I have 5,000 kids, and I want 500,000 kids in the program.  But it costs me 2-1/2 million a year for these 5,000 kids to keep their program going.  And so in my mind, how can I raise the money to extend this program on a national level?  And so my concept was to start this professional league, this world combat league of team fighting, city versus city, and itís called the Turf Wars, and turn it into a successful league, like the football, baseball, and basketball league, which could be a huge successful thing.  And the profits will go to the Kick-Start Program.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Well, youíve already have your first matches, right?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yes, we did, we had it October 8th at the Convention Center in Dallas, and we had Dallas fighting Oklahoma City, and Houston fighting Los Angeles.  And January 21st, we have the next event, the East Coast event, where New York will be fighting Miami, and New England will be fighting Philadelphia.  And this is on a team level, you know, itís interesting because when I started putting this out to recruit fighters for the team, it was going to be mainly a male team, and all of the sudden, I started getting emails from women that said, hey, if youíre going to start a league with teams, we want to fight.  [Laughter]  And so I thought, golly, you know, and so anyway, we decided, here in Dallas, that we had six men and one woman per team.  And Iíll tell you, the excitement of these girls fighting was absolutely incredible.  And so, of course, the fight at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on the 21st of January, we will have a woman on each team there competing, too.  And then the next one will be March 4th at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, which will be Denver fighting Dallas, and Las Vegas fighting Los Angeles.  And so weíre starting to put these matches on, to eventually, hopefully, turn it into a full-fledged league with seasons.  And 2007 will be actually, the beginning of our seasonal league with eight teams.  

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  And how do you find the time for all of this?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  [Laughter]  Well, you know, you do what you have to do, Rayanne.  The thing is, when youíre passionate about something, you just find the time to do it.  And Iím extremely passionate about the combat league because this is something where I can actually help millions of young kids get focused in their life in a positive way, and maybe keep many of them from going on to prison or leading a life of crime or being killed on the street.  And if I can do that, thatís what I would love to be able to help do.  And thatís why the league is so important to me, to help make this become a reality to help these millions of kids.  And so thatís what my main focus is on right now.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  And youíre doing this with your own money?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Uh huh.  Yeah.  Well, hopefully, eventually, it wonít be my own money, you know, we hope to be able to sell these teams in various cities, where they can support themselves.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Great.  Well, congratulations, itís very exciting.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, thank you, Rayanne.  And where are you located?

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Iím in Nashville.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, you are in Nashville?

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  As a matter of fact, Iím on Third Avenue South talking to you right now.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Oh, well, great, well, when I come down and visit Ken, maybe weíll drop by and see you sometime.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Hey, letís do that.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Okay.  Great, Rayanne.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Okay.  And so Iím going to let somebody else speak now.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  All right.  Well, thank you so much.


OPERATOR:  The next question comes from Jennifer Bobolski with the Altoona Mirror.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Hi there, again.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hi, Jennifer.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  I was just curious as to if youíre ever concerned that people have maybe one view of you, such as, you know, who you played on Walker, Texas Ranger, or if people just see you as a martial artist?  Or do you see yourself as kind of having a persona of a man who has a lot of interests?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, the thing is, of course, now, they see me more as Walker.  


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  I hear, hey, Walker, you know, but the thing is that all of my movies and the series, Walker, theyíre, you know, Steve McQueen, when I became an actor, when I did my first film which was Good Guys Wear Black, which I got crucified by the critics then, that was the worst acting that theyíve ever seen.  I should get back to my school and start teaching.  And, of course, it hurt my feelings, but you have to understand this industry.  And thatís when Steve McQueen said, look, you did too much dialogue, when thereís something important to say, then say it.  And he says, thatís what I do.  He says, when itís important to say it, Iíll say it, and that way, people remember it.  And let your costars do all the fill-in work.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You know, the dialogue.  And so I always kind of kept that in mind.  But the thing is that the character that I play is a lot of Chuck Norris.  And thatís what Steve McQueen said, put a lot of your own character in it, because that way, it becomes, you know, itís real, I mean, that is you.  And he said, a lot of the character in my movies is Steve McQueen.  And so Iíve always kind of kept that in my mind, that the character I play is a lot of me.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Right.  And so itís nothing to be, you know, not ashamed of, but worried about, that youíre just seen as one thing because all of your roles have been - [Interposing]

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, they call me stone face which [laughter], and maybe, you know, thatís probably true.  I mean, I never intended to be Laurence Olivier.  And my whole goal in my film career is to project a positive image on the screen, that I hope people will enjoy watching.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And maybe tolerate my inexperience as an actor.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And it worked out because, you know, I tried to play a positive character, and a guy who fought against injustice, and it worked.  I did 23 movies and I never lost money on a film.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Well, thatís good.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And so the thing is, thereís audience out there that like to see positive movies.  But actually, you see that in the movies today, you know, positive movies are the ones that make the most money.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Right.  Well, then with the positiveness, do you see yourself as being a role model, either for kids or even adults?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, I would hope so, that they look to me as a role model in a positive way.  I donít mind that, and I try to live by that, you know, as much as I can as a human being, you know?  [Laughter]

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Right.  [Laughter]  No oneís perfect, yeah.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  No oneís perfect.  And weíve all made our mistakes and you just have to live with them and try to not make them again.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And so thatís always been, basically, my philosophy in life, that I will be making mistakes, but hopefully, I will not make them a second time.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And so thatís what I try to project in my movies.  And actually, thatís what I try to project in this book, too.  And I think itís a very positive book.  And itís got a lot of twists and turns in it, and some very colorful characters in it, that I think the audience will enjoy reading.  And so I would really like it if they actually do get the book, if they like it or donít like it, Iíd like for them to email me at and let me know what they do like about it.  Because Iíve got a three-book deal and so if thereís things in there that they donít like, I would like to know about it, and maybe correct it in the future books.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Right, yeah, before you write the two other books.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, before I write the next book.  And so, again, if your viewers or people that read your articles, get the book and if they would email me at and let me know what they think, I would appreciate it.

MS. JENNIFER BOBOLSKI:  Good.  Well, thank you so much, I appreciate it.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Okay.  Thank you.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Lindy Woods with the Christian Networks Journal.



MS. LINDY WOODS:  Hi.  Well, itís been so interesting to listen to you talk about your own character.  And itís just been an amazing career that youíve not been stuck as the Walker icon, you know, we all know you like that, but we all know you as so many other characters as well, through all of your movies.  And you werenít just limited to Walker.  And so Iím wondering, which one was most like your real personality?  And which one do you think was least like you?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, the thing is that thereís a lot of Walker, I mean, a lot of Chuck Norris, rather, in all of them.  And I think The Hitman was probably the one furthest from my character.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Which was a very dark person.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And it was a story about a cop that goes undercover with the mafia.  And anyway, he becomes as bad as they do.  And I think that was pretty far from who Chuck Norris is.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Was that hard for you to play?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hm, it was a challenge, letís say it was a challenge playing that particular character.  But I would say that was the one movie that was, it showed the dark side.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You know, itís like in this book here, and this war, it either brings out the best in you or the worst in you.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Right.  Kind of like Christmas.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, exactly.  And so the thing is, in this book here, Mortiky Slate [phonetic], you know, it brought out the worst in him.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And it brought out the dark side of him.  And, of course, the book talks about how we deal with that, and all of that with him.  But with Ezra, the war helped him to get closer to what true faith is all about.  And so the thing is, is thatís what war is all about, it can either bring out the best in you or the worst in you.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Uh huh.  

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  I forgot what the question was.  [Laughter]  I got off on a tangent here and I donít remember what it was, Lindy.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  [Laughter]  And who which of your characters was most like your real personality?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, yeah, I would say, well, I would have to say that Walker is close to Chuck Norris, as anything that Iíve ever played, because that was eight and a half years of that character.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Well, yeah, he probably became you, whether he started out that way or not.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yeah, and so I think that Walker showed the vulnerable side of Chuck Norris, as well as the combative side of him.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And also, the family man, which I am, as you know, I have seven children.  And we have 4-year-old twins and so, you know, I think, in fact, on the last episode of Walker, that two-hour movie of the week.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  You know, when Walker ended, Walker and Alex had a baby girl.  And so now four years later, we do a movie of the week, the Walker movie of the week.  Well, now, Walker and Alex have to have a 4-year-old daughter.  Well, my 4-year-old daughter played her in the film.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And I have to tell you, itís not in the movie, but when they were shooting the scene, and Danilee is my daughter, and sheís sitting up on the counter with Alex while Iím coming home for dinner.  And Alex is fixing dinner for Walker and theyíre kind of adlibbing, you know, sheís kind of adlibbing with Dani.  And so Alex says, well, what should we put on this plate for daddy?  And she says, Jesus.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And now, Alex, you know, it kind of stumps her there for a minute because she doesnít know how to reply that.  And so she says, well, what should we put on this plate?  And she says, God and Baby Jesus.  And now, Alexís face turned red as a beet, because she doesnít know how to reply to that.  And finally, my brother, who was directing, says, okay, cut, letís try this all over again.  But, of course, we couldnít use that, but we kept the clip here, and so we watch it at home.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  It sounds like your kids are going to be evangelists.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, the thing is that weíre trying to teach them what faith is all about.  And if you ask Dani, what is in her heart?  Sheíll say, Jesus is in my heart.


MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  And so thatís what we want our kids to grow up with a strong faith and knowing what is right and what is wrong.

MS. LINDY WOODS:  Thank you.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Youíre welcome.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Phil Anderson with the Topeka Capital Journal.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Okay.  Again, Mr. Norris, youíre still there?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hi, Phil.  Yeah, I sure am.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Say, you know, following up on this previous question, and I may ramble just a second, so bear with me.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Sure, go ahead.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  But in some of the things that youíve done and are doing, how do you sort of mesh those with your Christian faith?  In other words, maybe the combat league and things of this nature, wouldnít someone say, well, does that fit into a personís faith?  And do you feel like maybe youíve kind of broken down some barriers in your career, as far as maybe crossing over into some areas, as a Christian, so that people canít say, well, you know, youíve sort of pigeonholed yourself, and certain things, you wonít do.  Have you opened up, maybe to some new ventures out there, and not just in your acting career, but otherwise?  And then I guess to follow up on that, to what extent is there--how have you been received in your career, in your acting, with being a professing Christian whoís been out there, and have you caught any flack for that or have you had support from people?  And who, if so, has been a support, in terms of maybe some of your own contemporaries?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, the thing is, everyone knows what my, you know, that Iím a Christian and they know my faith, and they respect me.  And Iíve been very fortunate in the film world, even though Iím a conservative and the majority of the people in the entertainment field are liberal, theyíve always respected me for my beliefs.  And again, thatís what this book is about too, is respecting each other for their own beliefs and what they feel is right and what is wrong.  And, Phil, the thing is, is that Iíve never had a problem with that in the entertainment field of that.  And as far as the Kick-Start Program, all of my instructors are Christians.  And many of my instructors take many of their students to church on Sunday.  And these are, again, weíre talking about at-risk children, who are very limited in being able to get around and the things that they can do, and all the vices that theyíre faced with, and theyíre living with aunts, uncles, grandparents, or being around families that are on drugs.  And a lot of our kids are faced with those kind of problems every day.  And so our instructors are trying to do the best they can to help them realize that it doesnít always have to be that way.  And that they can make things better in their lives as they go.  And Iíll give you a good example about our instructors, is we had a young girl at one of our schools, a vivacious little gal, you know, a real outgoing type girl.  And one day, she starts coming in and sheís very quiet and sheís not talking.  And the instructor realizes that something is wrong.  And so he goes over to her and he says, is there something that you would like to talk to me about?  And so she tells him that her uncle is molesting her.  And he says, well, have you gone to the counselor?  And she says, no, no, no, Iím not going to tell anybody, youíre the only one that I will tell.  And so the instructor talked her into going to the counselor, and they wound up arresting the guy and all of this stuff.  But this girl would never have gone to anyone else but this instructor, because these instructors build a sense of believing in them and trusting them.  And so a lot of the kids will come and tell my instructors things that they would never tell anyone else.  And so thatís because all of my instructors are Christians, and they bring out that Christian feel.  And, of course, we donít teach Christianity in the schools, weíd get kicked out if we did.  But the thing is, is that the kids know, because my instructors, being men and women of faith, because I have female instructors as well, that they are people of faith, and that they feel like they can trust them.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Chuck, one quick question to follow up and then Iíll say good-bye.  Why do you get involved with this, you know, itíd be real easy just to kind of do your acting and sort of retreat back behind some walls.  But whatís your motivation for getting involved in these types of projects that are trying to reach people in need?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Thatís a hard question to answer, Phil.  Itís just something that I feel strongly about.  You know, being a boy growing up, I was an at-risk boy.  I grew up with an alcoholic father, a philanderer who was never home, and my mom had to carry the load as father and mother.  And I faced a lot of challenges in my life that I could have gone down.  And fortunately, for me, I had a strong mom, who kind of kept me on the straight and narrow.  But I could have gone down the wrong path of life as well.  But growing up without a male role model, I grew up extremely insecure and non-athletic.  And the martial arts helped turn all that around for me.  And so I know that the martial arts does help, the philosophy of the martial arts does help kids who are facing these same, similar problems in their lives.  And so the thing is, if we can reach as many kids as possible, and get them on down the right path of life, then itís not only good for us, itís good for the whole country.  Because these kids have an influence on ten other kids, and what I have found is that our kids in high school that are in our program affect positively probably ten other kids in school, in a positive way.  And so if we can get this going on a national level, and thatís why I said earlier to Rayanne, thatís why I started this combat world, combat league, this team, kickboxing league, because if we can make it a success and make it a financial success, then the profits of that league will go into expanding the Kick-Start Program on a national level.  And thatís the only way that I can see it going because I canít get the federal funding, and I canít ask my friends who help me support the program right now, you know, I canít get anymore money to expand it on a national level.  And so the world combat league is the answer to this problem, if we can make it work.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  Well, thank you again, Chuck, and God bless you, and keep up all of the good work.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Thank you so much.

MR. PHIL ANDERSON:  And weíll talk to you later.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Okay.  Phil.

OPERATOR:  Our next question comes from Rayanne Rubenstein with Fish Magazine.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Hey, there, Chuck.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Hi, Rayanne.  Thanks for staying on with us.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Are you still there?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Yes, I am, Rayanne, can you hear me?

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  I can, can you hear me?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Okay.  Uh huh.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Okay.  And so I have a few quick questions for you.


MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  As a role model to so many other people, Iíd love to know who your role models are.

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, Iíd have to say that top of the list is George Herbert Walker Bush.  Iíve gotten to know this man since 1988, when I campaigned for him.  And itís amazing, I got a call from his campaign manager, Lee Atwater, when George, Sr. was running for President, asking me to MC a rally in Riverside, California.  And I was not involved in politics or anything at that time.  And I said, well, if he wants me to try, I will.  And so I did it, and it was very, very successful and I wound up going on the campaign with him for four months.  And I got to know the man quite well.  And over the years, I have found that he is an incredible person, I mean, a man of integrity, a man of compassion, and I have to say that heís at the top of the list of the men that I most admire in my life.  And heís the one that actually helped me get the Kick-Start Program going.  You know, getting martial arts in the public school system was practically impossible to do because the Board of Education thought, well, no, weíre not going to get martial arts in the public school system, itís just going to make bad kids badder, and that was kind of their philosophy.  And they didnít understand the true meaning of the martial arts.  And so I was at the White House having lunch with former President Bush and I told him about what I wanted to do with the Kick-Start Program.  And I told him the benefits of it and how it will help kids overcome a lot of the insecurities that they have in their lives and get on the right path of life.  And he says, why havenít you done it?  And I told him the reason and he said, well, maybe I can help you out.  And so he helped me to get the first school started in Houston, Texas.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Is there anybody else that youíd care to name?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  Well, of course, my stepfather was a man that I admired incredibly, too.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  Whatís his name?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  George Knight.  And my stepfather was a great man.  When I finally talked my mom into divorcing my dad at 16, you know, and then she wound up marrying George, and he was a great influence in the lives of our family.

MS. RAYANNE RUBENSTEIN:  In your own eyes, what is your greatest achievement?

MR. CHUCK NORRIS:  I think that the Kick-Start Program, and I think that the thousands of kids that have gone through this program and the thousands of kids who have gone to college and now are working in the industry in a positive way, and are making a productive influence on our country, who would say to you, Rayanne, itís because of this program that Iím not in jail or dead right now.  And seeing th