By Robert Brizel, Brick City Boxing Correspondent
In MMA news, noted Mixed Martial Arts star Bob Wall, a ninth degree black belt under Chuck Norris, who co-starred with Bruce Lee in the famous martial arts films “Way of The Dragon” in 1972, “Enter The Dragon” in 1973, and the posthumous Bruce Lee film “Game of Death” in 1978. His role as the villainous O’Hara who loses in combat to Bruce Lee in “Enter The Dragon” was part of the worldwide martial arts craze occurring in the 1970’s which was inspired by Bruce Lee’s life and career.
Wall studied a mix of several martial arts under many notable masters, including: Martial Arts Master Chuck Norris; Judo under Gene LeBell; Okinawan Shorin-Ryu under Joe Lewis; and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Machado Brothers; and Okinawan-Te under Gordon Doversola (who also trained Jim Kelly).
Nearly 20 years after Bruce Lee’s death, Wall became world famous in the Martial Arts community for a very different reason, his public feud with Aikido Master and Martial Arts actor Steven Seagal between 1988 and 1992. Seagal made disparaging remarks about the late Bruce Lee and Karate Master Chuck Norris, and other American martial artists in interviews, culminating in two articles in Black Belt Magazine. Seagal claimed he would fight anybody to the death anybody who believed they could defeat him. Indignant at Seagal’s boasts of ability, and slights of Lee and American martial artists, as well as offended by his boasts, Wall gathered a group of martial artists willing to answer his challenge came about in response, nicknamed the “Dirty Dozen” (in similar reference to the 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen. Besides Wall, the group included Benny Urquidez, Bill Wallace, Howard Jackson, Roger Carpenter, Allen Stee, Jim Harrison, Dennis Alexio, Richard Norton, Billy Robertson, Pat Burleson, and William Rodriguez, with Karyn Turner named as a possible promoter for one or more Seagal matches against the membership. “The Dirty Dozen” were controversial in the martial arts community, with some deriding them as an overreaction and a promotion of violence. However, Rodriguez declared “just by not accepting the challenge, Seagal tells us where he’s at.” The counter challenge was never taken up by Seagal, but emotional echoes surrounding the Bob Wall-Steven Seagal controversy raged within the Martial Arts community for years.
Wall was the co-founder and CEO of a martial arts organization known as World Black Belt Incorporated A self-taught Martial Arts historian, Wall authored the book Who’s Who in the Martial Arts and Directory of Black Belts in 1975, the first book of its kind for martial artists. In 1966, along with karate champion Joe Lewis, Wall opened the Sherman Oaks Karate Studio in Sherman Oaks, California. In 1968, Lewis sold his share of the studio to Chuck Norris. Wall appeared in such television shows as Banacek. His last major movie appearance was in Michael Jai White’s “Blood and Bone” as bodyguard O’Hara in 2009.