“Jim Harrison saved my life once… he pulled his punch an inch from my face!” – Chuck Norris
Called ”one of the most dangerous men in the world” by Bruce Lee, Harrison got his indoctrination into the Martial Arts from Bob Kurth, a former Judo Champion and Navy Commando [UDT] during World War II. From Kurth’s teachings, Harrison evolved into a three-time U.S. Karate Champion and a three-time All-American Champion….and the list of titles goes on.
Jim Harrison, a former Special Operations police officer in St. Louis who served on a ‘Special Violence Squad’ that was sent into the ghettos after the most dangerous criminals, was an AAU Regional Judo champion, 3-time U.S. Karate Champion, 3-time All-American Grand Champion, undefeated U.S. light-heavyweight Kickboxing Champion, and coach to the undefeated 1974-76 U.S. Professional Team. At the age of 63, Mr. Harrison won the National Masters Judo Championship and placed 3rd in the Masters World Championships in 1999. In the photo below he is shown using his grappling skills against the then World Superwelterweight Champion, Bob Ryan in a street scuffle.
Harrison, one of the toughest and hardest training competitors of his day was also known for many impressive and dangerous breaking feats, including shattering, with a shuto strike, a bottle full of gasoline with a lit wick that erupted into a ball of flame.
During Jim Harrison’s 1970 , first ever, full-contact bout in Dallas, Texas, he received a cut from a glove lace over his eye. Attempts at taping failed to stop the bleeding, finally, between rounds a physician came into the ring, and without anesthetic stitched the wound over Harrison’s eye. Harrison calmly laid on the floor of the ring during the stitching without a flinch, then went on to win the fight with a knockout.
Note: Here is a link to a Facebook video of the match. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1024580258890
[Notice the muscular size and athleticism of Jim Harrison’s opponent, Victor Moore in the video. Also note Jim Harrison’s Judo ability and ground follow ups. This is 23 years before the first UFC.]
Perhaps his most legendary feat of toughness was when as a police officer, he was ambushed by an ex-con who came out of a bathroom stall and fired a high caliber pistol at Harrison through the bathroom stall door, striking him several times in the chest. Harrison and his partner managed to subdue his attacker before passing out from his wounds. The wounds, very serious in nature, kept him down for a while, but he recovered and came back stronger than ever.
Mr. Harrison has trained U.S. Special Forces, Rangers, SEALs, Marine Recon and Delta Force and served in a para-military SAS (Search and Destroy) unit that undertook missions in SE Asia during the early 1970’s. He provided personal security for Chuck Norris, Linda (Mrs. Bruce) Lee and Prince Mikhail Matijasevic.
Jim Harrison lives in Missoula, Montana. His school is Sakura Warrior Arts. This article is mainly based on his biography there and other sources. His website is http://sakurabushidokan.homestead.com/