Master Aaron Hensley surprised himself when he won four world titles in July at the Chun Kuk Do International Training and World Championships hosted by Chuck Norris in Las Vegas.
It was his first tournament in six years and not only did he win every category he competed in, he landed a role in Norris’ next film. Hensley said he doesn’t know much about the film except that it is directed by Norris and will be his last starring role.
Filming will begin in Houston in October, Hensley said, and his character is killed by a sword-wielding Norris.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
There were about 500 teams at the invitation-only tournament, with Premier Martial Arts having the largest team, Hensley said. He said the event is equivalent to the Masters for martial arts, and includes teams from Australia, Canada, Mexico and many other nations.
The team placed second and member Donald Smalls II won three world titles and the Junior Norris Cup.
Different tournaments have different rules, Donald said, and Norris’ tournament is more suited to his style. The 15-year-old said he is inspired to go back next year to defend the cup.
“I love to win,” he said. “This is my biggest win yet."
Donald, who has been competing in the tournament for 10 years, won the age 15 to 17 division.
He said through martial arts he has learned there are no handouts; everything must be earned.
The conference and competition was held July 19-22 and offered attendees the opportunity to enhance their skills through a variety of classes.
Whitney Husid said her 12-year-old son, Benjamin, placed second in weapons, and all the kids got to meet Norris.
“He shook hands with every member of the team,” she said.
It was the first time her family went to the competition, she said, and her kids are excited to go again.
“It is such a tremendous opportunity for the kids,” she said, noting that her son is shy but the tournament helped him open up and build his confidence.
Hensley said it takes the team about 10 months to prepare for the tournament.
“It is a lot of stuff to learn,” he said.
Other team members who attended the tournament include: Karen Boyd, Nathan Boyd, Eliya Husid, David Brannon, Wes Fountain, Isabelle Jones, Dawson Bush, Brad Pond, Amanda Stiles, Kurtiss Peth, Dana Peth, Lauren Baker, Chris Miller, Jake Brodhecker, Jalen Smalls, Meghan Ferguson and Eric Hensley.
Hensley said the team won 13 first-place awards, eight second places and seven third-place awards.