Movie star James Caan hides a secret past as a rodeo king.

THE GODFATHER star had a nine-year career as a rough rider in the 1970s, and became very good.

He says, "By the time I quit, I had gone pro and even won a few events. I really had no right to be there, but I loved it. There was something about the dirt that made me feel clean.

"I'd be doing a movie, and then I'd go away with my rodeo buddies, who were champions, driving 10 hours to a rodeo."

The veteran tough guy eventually gave up his rodeo dreams to concentrate on martial arts - another tough hobby he excelled at.

He adds, "I've been doing karate for 30 years. My master TAK KUBOTA is now called SOKE, which in the martial arts world is like Christ.

"So I have this huge title, SOKE-DAI, which means assistant to the master. Now everyone has to bow to me. They can kick my a**, but they still have to bow."

17/09/2003 02:33