Chuck Norris awards 83-year-old grandmother karate black belt: 'Hugged me so hard'

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Martial artist and actor Chuck Norris awarded an elated 83-year-old Utah grandmother a fifth-degree black belt in karate.

“I was so excited. I was able to bow to him, turn around, he put (a black gi) on me, I turned back around and bowed, and then he grabbed me and hugged me so hard, he actually pulled me off the ground almost … my one foot went up,” Carole Taylor told KSL of her interaction with Norris at his annual United Fighting Arts Federation International Training Convention on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Taylor began practicing martial arts 15 years ago when she was 68, after she started taking her 11-year-old granddaughter to lessons. 

“I thought: ‘Wow, this is mental and physical. This would be a good thing for someone my age to do…. So I asked the teacher if it would be all right if I joined the class, and so that’s why I did it,” she recalled.

She performed in front of dozens of people at the convention Saturday to the Beach Boys’ song “Little Old Lady from Pasadena.” She put on a show by hobbling to the mat, before straightening her back and readying her stance as the crowd and Norris gave her a standing ovation. 

“(Norris) was so kind, and he’s 81, and he made some comments about that he had not been exercising all that much recently and that I had inspired him to go back and to begin to train again, and that made me feel very, very good,” Taylor said.

Norris, one of Hollywood’s most prolific action movie heroes, then gave her a fifth-degree black belt, which takes years to acquire in the Chuck Norris System. 

Taylor also teaches karate at the dojo where she first learned, and her daughter credits the practice for giving her mother “some purpose” during the pandemic. 

“It helps her mind to stay calm, to be able to focus on all the forms they have to learn, and that really has kept her brain fresh, I would say. It helps her to remember things, to memorize things,” Taylor’s daughter, Lacey Owens, said. “The dedication has given her something to keep going after every day.”

Taylor will be able to test again for the sixth degree black belt in a few years, which she is ready to also conquer. 

“It’s just one of those things that makes for a more full life for me, and I absolutely love it, and it makes me feel strong, and it makes me feel confident, and it makes me feel as though I’m able to continue to learn,” she said.

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