An accomplished kickboxer, karate champion, author, and actor, as well as a personal trainer and close friend of Elvis Presley, Bill Wallace has seen and done much of what this world has to offer. After graduating from Ball State in 1971, Bill has never stopped pursuing his dreams and seeking ways to impact the lives of so many through coaching and sharing his great knowledge of his sport.
Time as a Student
After serving in the Air Force, Bill came to Ball State excited and ready to learn, following in the footsteps of his father and sister. Enrolled in the Teacher’s College, Bill began his studies in kinesiology, physiology, and industrial education while also competing on the martial arts team. He goal was to someday be a physical education and shop teacher much like his father. After starting, Bill quickly met and became close with Dr. David Costell. Dr. Costell poured a great deal of time into the young man. Together, the two of them ran countless tests in the kinesiology and physiology labs to try to determine why Bill was so incredible at his sport. Bill loved his time with all of his teachers and all of classes. He tried to get as much out of each experience as possible, a habit that he would continue into his future. Ball State also gave Bill the people skills that he greatly wanted.
“I was shy and scared when I came to Ball State, but the people here and the connections I formed opened me up, making me a better student, fighter, and teacher. This alone is just one reason why I love Ball State.” – Bill Wallace
Outside of the classroom, Bill began building his reputation as an incredible fighter. He won the national championship in point karate as a freshman and then for the next two years, defending his title gallantly. Throughout his time at Ball State, he won countless matches and titles, all preparing him for his professional career. He was quickly known for his fast left leg kicks, especially his roundhouse kick and his hook kick, which was clocked at about 60 mph. This is where his nickname, “Superfoot” originated. Overall, Bill values his undergraduate college experience and sees it as a turning point in his personal life and fighting career. Bill said that,”I knew everyone was 1000% behind me in my education and my sport.” He had a great deal of fun on campus as well with his team, coaches, and professors and made memories he will never forget.
A Chance Encounter
While doing graduate work at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, Bill fought at the U.S. championship in Dallas, winning another title. Little did he know that Elvis Presley was watching from the crowd and was rather impressed by what he saw. One evening at the martial arts school Bill was training at in Memphis, Elvis and his entourage walked in. After a quick introduction and short chat, Elvis left without sharing the reason for his visit. A few months later on Bill’s first day as a physical education and shop teacher here in Indiana, Elvis gave him a call and asked him to return to Memphis to open a martial arts school where he could train at and be one of his bodyguards. According to him, it was the easiest job interview he had ever had.
Although he could not spar to the fullest of his abilities with Elvis as no major harm was permitted, Bill enjoyed training the singer and fighting his other bodyguards and friends. Famous names that Bill got in the ring with include Red West, Sonny West, and Jerry Shilling. Bill served as the personal trainer and bodyguard for the King of Rock and Roll from 1974 till his death in 1977. From there, Bill went on to start a martial arts program at the University of Memphis, where he did his graduate work.
Career & Fighting Record
Between the years of 1974 and 1980, Bill had a perfect record, winning 23 professional fights in a row. He became the Professional Karate Association middleweight world full-contact karate (also known as kickboxing) champion. He defended the title of World Champion eleven times over the next five years. This perfect record solidified his reputation in world of martial arts and kickboxing, making him a true legend of the sport. He retired in 1980, but did come out of retirement in 1981 to land his final victory.
On top his long fighting career, Bill also became a prominent movie actor in sixteen different movies. Often staring as the bad guy, Bill fought against Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, and many others during his time on the big screen. Additionally, he has published three books, all about how to perfect the kickboxing technique and new ways to stretch and strengthen muscle groups crucial to the sport.
Retirement hasn’t slowed Bill down as he has continued to write and share his experiences through teaching seminars all over the world and offering online classes. His goal is to never stop pursuing his passions and sharing the sport he is so passionate about. Now a world traveler, conducting seminars and classes, Bill has developed the “Superfoot System,” which is a fighting style based on his own way of fighting. Dedicated to a life of learning, Bill is excited for what the future holds and too see what other incredible encounters he will have along the way.
Like many students, Bill didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do when he came to Ball State. His advice for students like him is “be passionate about whatever you do. You will be able to have the greatest impact on people this way.” Bill is a strong advocate about doing what you want to do, not just what you “should do.” He believes that at Ball State, each and every student can find what their calling is and he is excited to see the future of this university.