Bill "Superfoot" Wallace

Discussion in 'Articles' started by SifuPhil, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    William "Bill" Louis Wallace is an American martial artist who was the Professional Karate Association (PKA) World Middleweight Full-Contact Karate Champion for almost six straight years.



    Wallace was born in Portland, Indiana on December 1, 1945 and trained in wrestling during his high school years.

    It was literally by accident that he got into karate because originally he was an exceptional judo player. He got his start in judo while in the U.S. Air Force, and in 1966 he had the misfortune of sustaining a career-ending injury at least as far as competitive judo was concerned: he had completely ripped the ligaments in his right knee.

    While his knee was healing, Wallace seized the opportunity to get into karate and decided to "just do it." He trained under Michael Gneck at a school in Okinawa's Naha City beginning in February of 1967 and made short work of earning his black belt.

    After entering the point-fighting tournament scene and achieving success there, he switched to full-contact kickboxing. Wallace turned professional and captured the PKA middleweight karate championship with a second-round knockout (hook kick) of West German Bernd Grothe on Sept. 14, 1974 in the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

    With the coaching help of veteran fighter Jim 'Ronin' Harrison, Wallace won 23 consecutive professional fights between 1974 and 1980, becoming the PKA middleweight world full-contact karate champion and retiring undefeated. His nickname “Superfoot" appeared after his manager saw an advertisement for a "super foot-long hot dog" at a sporting event (I suppose it could have been worse – he might have become known as Bill “Foot-Long” Wallace or even “Kosher Nathan” Wallace...).

    He was known for his fast left-leg kicks, especially his roundhouse and hook kicks, which were clocked at about 60 mph. Due to the injury to his knee he kicked only with his powerful left leg, using his right leg as a base. Even though opponents didn't have to worry about two feet coming at them it didn't help much - Wallace was just too quick with that foot. He used his foot as others would use their hands, faking opponents with two or three rapid feints and following-up with one solid knockout technique. His power was amazing, his precision astounding.

    Blinky vs. Bill

    On March 13, 1980 he knocked out Jem Echollas in the second round with what the referee called "the fastest kick I've ever seen in my life." But at 34, he was giving away eleven years to his final-round opponent, William “Blinky” Rodriquez, who had never been knocked down by a kick or punch.

    Blinky and Bill - 1991.jpg
    Blinky and Bill – 1991

    The 23-year-old Rodriquez was a member by marriage of the legendary Urquidez family, in which there are eight black-belt holders and the babies teethe on focus mitts. His mother-in-law was a professional wrestler in the 1930s. His brother-in-law, lightweight champ Benny Urquidez, had black belts in karate, judo and kendo, and his wife was a black belt and one of California's first registered female boxers. The leader of the clan, and Blinky's manager, was the oldest brother Arnold Urquidez, who taught his students to deliver punishing leg kicks that rivals said were no more "sweeps" (roundhouse kicks designed to knock an opponent's legs from under him) than a right cross is a love tap. Age was not the factor that most worried Wallace partisans in this fight: the problem was a PKA rule that allowed the "sweeps" (kicks to the knee were still illegal, however). Wallace fans feared that Rodriquez would batter Wallace's invaluable left leg until it was useless.

    At the start of the fight Rodriquez promptly began treating Wallace's left calf like a soccer ball. A few seconds later he was penalized for kicking Wallace behind the knee. In the second round Rodriquez was warned for an illegal kick; in the fourth for booting Wallace in the rear; and in the fifth he was cited for a major foul, kneeing Wallace in the groin. He denied it. He was cited for the same major in the last round, but this time even Wallace took out his mouthpiece to plead on Rodriquez' behalf, and the foul call was erased.

    The cards of the three judges gave the fight to Wallace on a split decision, but with penalty points for fouls deducted the decision was unanimous for Superfoot. It was not so much a matter of Blinky Rodriquez' being a dirty fighter as a difference of opinion over what full-contact karate should be. One solution at the time seemed to be to allow kicks only above the waist, which in any case were much more appealing to the spectators than kicks to the leg.


    Bill Wallace retired as the undefeated PKA Middleweight Champion after defeating Bill Biggs in a 12-round bout in June 1980. The victory, Wallace's 23rd straight, signaled the end to an illustrious 15-year career in tournament and full-contact fighting.

    There is an urban legend of sorts about Bill suffering the loss of one testicle during a point fighting tournament (or while defending one of his titles, depending upon which story you believe), when his protective cup was “struck at an unfortunate angle” (Google promptly gives me 276,000 hits for “Superfoot testicle” - go figure, none of the ones I checked provide any positive proof). He also supposedly saved the testicle and showed it to football running back legend Jim Brown at the first Ultimate Fighting Championship, which also featured commentating from Wallace.

    It is not recorded what Kathy Long, also announcing at the event, had to say about the matter.

    William “Bill” Wallace … William Wallace … both lost testicles at the top of their game … amazing some of the coincidences in the martial world, isn't it?

    He had competed along with such greats as Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis and Skipper Mullins over the years and more than held his own. That alone would have been an amazing achievement.

    Enkidu likes this.
  2. that first pic of the side kick....thats what i want to be able to do.....but sadly....i have realized i will never be that flexible.....

    the only way i can get close to that height is by swinging my leg around into the high side kick
    SifuPhil likes this.
  3. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Like you said in your other comment, check out some of his stretching books / videos - there might be something there. I also came across a Russian guy - wait, let me check his name - Pavel Tsatouline - who has a lot of material on stretching that I found quite challenging, especially his "Forced Relaxation", "Relax into Stretching" and "Super Joints" stuff ...
  4. Dave76

    Dave76 Deheuol Gwyn Dragon

    SifuPhil likes this.
  5. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Excellent point, Dave - I believe they even mention that in the forward to his Super Joints book.
  6. Judah

    Judah fights in tights

    Is there something wrong with your hips? If not you CAN get much more flexible. The older you are the harder it is but it's not impossible.
  7. started training when 30 yrs old and all my life havent been flexible

    i can do side kicks to head easily but i want that pic......stretchung three times daily has helped

    lastnite i watched a sretch where yu use the wall.....gonna try that.....just dont think i can

  8. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    A combination of different types of stretching will help:

    Judah likes this.
  9. toddjutsu

    toddjutsu Initiate

    A great man and Martial Art legend. Met him once, during a layover at the airport, talked for about 15 minutes, nicest guy in the world.
  10. Mitchy

    Mitchy Initiate

    Bill is such a funny guy and he is a perfect example for a person who can be a great athlete while eating extremely unhealthy. He goes to McDonalds every day for a plain quarter pounder and large fries.
  11. johnnewman

    johnnewman Grasshoppa

    Such a nice man with good sense of humor.

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