For those of you who don’t know, Bill got his nickname due to the speed of his kicks which were once measured at over 60mph.
American-born Bill retired undefeated from competition in 1980 after being the Professional Karate Association (PKA) Middleweight Champion for six years. He was Elvis Presley’s bodyguard and personal trainer from 1974 until his death in 1977 and founded Elvis’s Memphis karate club for him.
He was elected into Black Belt Magazine’s Hall of Fame in 1973 as “Tournament Karate Fighter of the Year” and again in 1978 as “Man of the Year”.
Despite retiring from competition over three decades ago, Bill continues to be one of the martial arts most popular figures, writing several books and appearing in over twenty movies including “A Force of One” with Chuck Norris; “The Protector” with Jackie Chan; “A Prayer for the Dying” with Mickey Rourke; and most recently “The Operative” with Michael DePasquale Jr.
We had a great time together last year and even went out for a few drinks later (although Bill doesn’t touch alcohol and sticks to Coke).
Skip forward to this year, and last month I was talking to an English friend of mine about Scottish legend, William Wallace and he called him “Bill”. It then dawned on me that Bill “Superfoot” Wallace was actually called William Wallace!!
Now, I’ve already mentioned in previous posts about my intention to open a William Wallace Visitor Centre in the former Barony St. John church in Ardrossan and this now struck me as a bit of a coincidence as I now knew another William Wallace. “Wouldn’t it be good” I pondered, “If Bill Wallace could officially open our Centre giving it a William Wallace connection.”
Pie in the sky though, as Bill lives in Miami and doesn’t get to the UK much, never mind Scotland LOL.
Then, three weeks ago I get a phone call from a martial arts friend in London – Bill Wallace is coming over for a UK tour and is going to be in Glasgow at the end of September.
Now, as you know, I’m a great believer in fate and so I took a chance and contacted Bill to see if he could squeeze in a visit – and lo and behold he could. 😀
Not only that, when I picked Bill up to take him across to Ardrossan on the west coast of Scotland, he told me that back in the 1970’s the USA karate team came to Scotland for a tour. They had visited Edinburgh and were on their way to Dundee when Bill saw a castle ruin and asked the tour bus to stop. He ran out and across the fields towards the castle, zig zagging along various paths as if he had run along them a thousand times before. His team mates had trouble keeping up and finding the right path.
When they found Bill, he was in the ruin of the castle at a plinth which said that William Wallace had stormed the castle back in the 13th Century. Nobody present knew this existed – including Bill. Spooky, eh?
On his return to America, Bill decided to find out more about his family roots and discovered that his grandmother had indeed been Scottish and had emigrated from Scotland to America. Bill then contacted The Society of William Wallace and told them where his grandmother had been born and they confirmed that it was “highly likely” that he was descended from the original William Wallace.
Now that has got to be an omen!
What are the chances of me meeting a Wallace from America who agrees to open my Centre and then reveals that he is descended from the original William Wallace?
Not only that, but I thought it might be a good idea to link Bill and William together as this year not only marks the opening of our Centre in Ardrossan but is also the 720th anniversary of William “Braveheart” Wallace’s takeover of Ardrossan Castle.
To mark this, I had arranged for Bill to be photographed at Ardrossan Castle behind my church with a Wallace sword.
Now that IS an omen!