Joined the Air Force after high school and was stationed in Korea, where he first became interested in the study of martial arts.
From 1968 to 1974, he won six consecutive World Professional MiddleWeight Karate Championships.
Appeared opposite martial-arts expert Bruce Lee in Return of the Dragon (1974).
In 1990, started a foundation called Kick Drugs Out of America (which later became KickStart) whose objective was to help kids stay away from drugs by giving them martial-arts training.
In 1997, was awarded 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in the Tae Kwon Do system, the first man in the Western Hemisphere to be so honored.
An devout Christian, he joined the Board of Directors for the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools in 2007.
In addition to coauthoring his 2004 best-selling memoir Against All Odds: My Story, he cowrote the Western adventure novels The Justice Riders (2006) and A Threat to Justice: A Novel (2007) and penned the nonfiction, politically focused Black Belt Patriotism (2008).
Endorsed and campaigned for 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Is the founder of the United Fighting Arts Federation, which governs and teaches the martial-arts style of Chun Kuk Do.