The main protagonist is Barry Gabrewski, an asthmathic boy who lives with his widowed father, Jerry Gabrewski. A loner, Barry has vivid daydreams about being Chuck Norris' sidekick, battling against Norris' movie enemies - who are often personified by Barry's everyday bullies - and rescuing Ms. Noreen Chan (Julia Nickson-Soul), his favorite teacher and damsel in distress in his dreams.
In order to fulfill his dreams at least in part, Barry wants to be taught martial arts, but is turned down by the arrogant dojo owner Stone (Piscopo). Instead, he is taken under the wing by an old Chinese man called Mr. Lee (Mako), the sly uncle of his teacher. Mr. Lee decides to teach Barry some kung fu so that he can defend himself from the bullies, and treats his asthma, increasing Barry's endurance. Barry later enters a tournament with Mr. Lee and Ms. Chan and finally sees his dreams fulfilled when Chuck Norris, originally only a guest at the tournament but persuaded by Lee to aid one of his most ardent fans, joins them as a team member.