You may have noticed that I’ve started taking the habit of writing about someone influential every Sunday. Influential to me, obviously, but hopefully somewhat influential to others once they read about them and learn bit about their accomplishments. This week, I thought I would write about an accomplished martial artist whom I’ve been reading about since my childhood: Bill “Superfoot” Wallace…
Wallace was born in 1945 in the United States and started to dip into the fighting arts through high school when he joined the wrestling team. He later went on to include Judo and had studied this for a number of years as well, but an injury to his right knee forced him to quit the art before he could pursue it to any extend. In 1967, Wallace served in the united States Air Force and it was there that he began studying the Okinawan karate style of Shorin-Ryu, which is a sister style to my own style of Uechi-Ryu.
I remember reading about Wallace as a child, in Black Belt Magazine. I was fascinated by the speed and accuracy of his kicks, and just a little bit jealous of the fact that I could never kick quite as high as he could. My constant practice and development of my roundhouse kick is a result of watching him in action.
Wallace spent many years in the karate tournament circuit, winning the Professional Karate Association’s middleweight full-contact karate championship and retired undefeated. Wallace eventually moved on to kickboxing tournaments, since these tournaments allowed for kicking while the PKA’s karate tournaments did not.
“Have A Blast. Have An Absolute Ball. Because It’s Something You Can Do Absolutely Forever, Your Entire Life. And It’s Just Fun… So Do It.”– Bill “Superfoot” Wallace
Wallace became known for his fast and devastating kicks, which earned him the name of “Superfoot.” Wallace normally focused his kicks on his left foot, since the injury to his right knee that occurred during his time in Judo made kicking with the right foot more difficult (although not impossible, if you’ve watched any footage of him). This certainly didn’t slow him down in any respect.
Although most people tend to focus on the popular aspect of a person, which in this case is karate, Wallace holds a bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology. Wallace has written many books and has taught karate and coached many others, notably Elvis Presley and John Belushi.
What inspires me the most about Wallace is his undying dedication to the art and to his own self-development. He’s been known to say that no matter how fast or strong his kick may be, he’d continue to work it and develop it in order to improve himself. Having injured himself early on in his martial arts career, most people in his position would throw in the towel and take it easy. Not this man. He stuck to his goals and ambitions and to this day continues to speak and give seminars. ☯