Although he started out as a boxer in Philadelphia, George Harris learned judo after enlisting in the Air Force and eventually became a judo instructor for the Strategic Air Command. He would eventually win six Air Force judo championships, four AAU judo championships, was on the first US Olympic judo team at the 1964 Olympics, and won the 1963 Pan American Games gold medal in the heavyweight class. He eventually reached ninth-degree black belt, the highest ranking ever among United States’ judoka. After leaving the Air Force, Harris became an international businessman and taught contract negotiation around the world. He continued to teach judo and other martial arts in New Jersey, where he settled, and in 1979 he starred as martial arts coach in the movie "The Year of the Gentle Tiger".