On this week’s podcast the Motivated Martial artists – Jackson White & Gavin Cook talk to martial arts legends Bill ‘SUPERFOOT’ Wallace and Kenny Herrera chatting about everything from grading with Chuck Norris to teaching Elvis Presley martial arts and making films with everyone from Jackie Chan to John Belushi.
Wallace was born in Portland, Indiana, and trained in wrestling during his high school years. He began his study of Judo in 1966 and was forced to discontinue his Judo related activities because of an injury he suffered to his right knee during practice. He then began to study Shōrin-ryū Karate while serving in the U.S. Air Force. After entering the point fighting tournament scene and achieving success there, he switched to full-contact competition.
With the coaching help of veteran fighter Jim 'Ronin' Harrison, Wallace won 23 consecutive professional fights between 1974 and 1980, becoming the Professional Karate Association middleweight world full-contact karate champion and retiring undefeated. He was known for his fast left leg kicks, especially his roundhouse kick and his hook kick, which was clocked at about 60 mph.
As well as Martial arts champion Bill also has many other accolades, from being Elvis Presley's martial arts trainer to an actor, acting, most notably in A Force of One starring Chuck Norris. Wallace was the play-by-play commentator for the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view event UFC 1 in 1993 alongside fellow kickboxer Kathy Long and NFL Hall of famer Jim Brown where in which he burped as he said "Hello, I'm Bill Wallace, and welcome to McNichols Arena" in what has become a much beloved blooper from that event. Wallace administers an organization of karate schools under his "Superfoot" system. He was elected to Black Belt Magazine's Hall of Fame in 1973 as "Tournament Karate Fighter of the Year" and again in 1978 as "Man of the Year." His film credits include A Force of One with Chuck Norris; Killpoint, with Cameron Mitchell; Continental Divide and Neighbors, with John Belushi; The Protector, with Jackie Chan; Los Bravos with Hector Echavarria; A Prayer for the Dying, with Mickey Rourke; Ninja Turf; and Sword of Heaven
Raised in Southern California Kenny was obsessed with Ringo Star and wanted to become a drummer, he started playing in bands around his local area and when girls would wink at him their boyfriends would try to beat him up he realised he needed to learn some self defence. He joined the YMCA and found a local martial arts club with Chuck Norris and Sherman Oaks after Chuck just brought the club off Joe Lewis. Chuck convinced Kenny to start fighting at competitions and this is where he met his wife after seeing her sparing he fell in love with her ended up taking her on the road with him playing music while also keeping up his training.
Kenny then came back home to California and joined Chuck again at the martial arts school. One weekend he went to a black belt seminar with Chuck hosted by Bill Wallace. He was blown away by Bills technique and became great friends with him traveling round together doing seminars up and down America and all over the world!