Going Japanese

Jack goes Japanese

Our Parsley Box Personality tells us why...


When Jack Hearn was told an injury would prevent him from cycling he looked around for something else he could do – and took up judo.

At the age of 99 he is now a technical consultant in the sport and has the highest possible grade belt that is achievable – a 10th dan.

Jack’s judo days took him all over the country, setting up clubs and helping others progress through their grades. He has appeared all over the media for his achievements, including being the subject of a BBC 3 feature on ‘Amazing Humans’.

‘After 71 years I think I have got the hang of it,’ he said, adding that it has probably kept him fit all his life although he did used to do a bit of dancing.

He says there’s no real secret to keeping fit and healthy in older life – just keep your mind active.

‘Everything starts with the mind. The brain tells your body what to do so it figures you should keep it going.’

Jack still drives, although only during the day as he finds night driving a bit tricky these days. He likes to pop out to see friends and family or nip to the coast to enjoy the sea air.

‘It is important to get out into the sunshine. I don’t just sit around doing my knitting!’ he jokes.

There are plenty of people for Jack to see. He has four children and ‘plenty’ of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Most live nearby and recently held a big party for his 99th birthday.

He is also regularly visited by his judo students – some of whom go back three generations.

‘I get people coming up and asking if I remember who they are, sixty years on!  I might have taught them when they were seven or eight years old and now I’m teaching their grandchildren.’

Jack’s advice for enjoying life to the full is to have respect – for your life, your friends, your family and the time you have.

Judo keeps Jack fit – and he hopes it will continue to do so for many years yet.

‘Make the most of every single minute of the day and always look out for those around you. You don’t have to spend money to enjoy life, either. There are things all around us to be enjoyed.

As for the future, Jack says he has a lot to be getting on with and has no plans to slow down just yet.

As a technical advisor in his sport he is still regularly helping training new student of the sport and helping to give clubs and players advice on the nuances of the Japanese art.

‘I’ve got plenty to be getting on with so have no desire to sit around on my butt! It’s a wonderful life and there’s lots more I want to do.’

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