Chuck Norris is a popular name in pop culture with an aura of invincibility.
You have likely heard many of the funny Chuck Norris facts like “The Boogeyman checks under his bed for Chuck Norris.” Well, there is one person Chuck Norris checks under his bed for and his name is Tony Tulleners.
Chuck Norris started off in Karate and eventually became a household name as an action movie star. Part of being an action star is maintaining appearances, one of which was that Norris was unbeatable. This, however, was far from the truth. Chuck Norris tasted defeat at the hands of several men. Some were Joe Lewis, Allen Steen, and Louis Delgado. Losing is part of Karate and Chuck was able to return the favor to all of those guys. Tony Tulleners, however, was a different story. He was the one guy that Chuck Norris could not beat.
In the mid 60’s when Norris started to compete in tournaments he encountered Tulleners early on and lost to him twice in 1965. He had a chance to avenge the losses in 1966 at the finals of the California State Karate Championships in San Francisco, but Norris would once again come up short. Sometimes someone just has your number and it seemed that Tulleners had his.
You might wonder why you haven’t heard of Tony Tulleners before if he beat Chuck Norris. The world is a funny place, despite being able to boast that he defeated Chuck Norris three times Tulleners seemed to be more concerned with improving himself as a martial artist rather than obtaining fame and fortune.
Tony Tulleners Black Belt Magazine Cover
After his third defeat to Tulleners, Norris started to rack up some serious Karate tournament wins. It would have been great to see them fight again but the two never crossed paths again. Norris eventually ended up befriending Bruce Lee and caught his big break with a role in Way of the Dragon which is what many consider the launching point for his movie career. Norris would star in several action movies and the TV series Walker, Texas Ranger. He became a household name. The Chuck Norris Facts website was started in 2005 and well the rest is history.
On the opposite end you have Tulleners who didn’t really do interviews and although he had a couple of magazine covers he seemed to avoid the limelight. His only goal was to be the best Karate black belt he could be. Rumor has it he even did work for the FBI, although that has not been proven.
Tulleners was not a self-promoter, he could have tried to gain recognition himself off of the fame Norris had obtained but he didn’t. The man was simply focused on his craft. Unfortunately, video footage of the fights with Norris is non-existent like footage of many of those old Karate tournaments. Even the footage of those tournaments that exists is grainy and hard to make out. It would have been great to have been able to see the fights instead of just rely on reports from sources like Blackbelt Magazine.
So next time someone tries to throw a Chuck Norris fact at you remember the name Tony Tulleners. Make sure to let them know that the Boogeyman might check under his bed for Chuck Norris, but Chuck Norris checks under his bed for Tony Tulleners.