It’s something that Chuck Norris hasn’t ever spoken about openly but it’s well-known that he was awarded his third degree black belt back in 2015 and has trained under Jean-Jacques Machado since the early days of the Machado brothers living in the US.
Just last week, Machado paid a visit to Joe Rogan and opened up on his podcast about his relationship with Norris and how they came to meet. “We used to teach in our garage in Redondo Beach and we opened the door, suddenly looked, it’s like, man that guy looks like Chuck Norris!” At this point, Norris was already a black belt in Judo and Machado explained that he’d even spent some time training with other members of the Gracie family previously.
Machado went on to explain that this wasn’t just a student-teacher relationship but that they were genuinely friends as well: “Long story short he started training for us, when he started training for us we became very good friends. It was amazing like… right away he invited us to his house. Amazing person, we started hanging out!” Joe Rogan, who’s also met Chuck Norris, agreed excitedly that he is genuinely a really nice guy.
But that wasn’t all, Machado went on to say that “One day, after a few months of training with us he invited us to the valley where he used to live in Encino and said “look, I have a surprise for you guys.” Then he took us to a shopping center right up in the boulevard and he shows us one of the units, there’s mats, it’s like a school and he says “this is for you guys, this is your school.”
It turns out that Norris already owned the unit he showed Machado and his brothers, he was happy to offer them the building in order for them to start their club somewhere better equipped than the garage they were currently training in. Not just that, but it also meant that he would no longer have to drive along the I 405 to make training and for someone in the height of his fame on such a busy schedule, that would’ve been far more convenient for him too.
It’s no surprise after hearing this that Norris chose to continue training in BJJ and stayed under the Machado brothers. Machado no doubt owes a small part of his success to Norris’ involvement in the early days and his ability to fund his very first official school.
To find out about Steve Irwin’s BJJ history click here.