By Emma Pearson @emma_pear

MARTIAL arts master Jack Hearn is the oldest Judo Sensei in the UK - and at 92-years-old, he has no plans of bowing out

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Videographer / director: Paddy Hughes
Producer: Jack Fletcher, Nick Johnson
Editor: Kyle Waters

Jack and his brother set up their own judo club in North Shields, North Tyneside

The great-great-grandfather aims to complete his 10th Dan – the highest possible accolade – after his 100th birthday.

And the plucky pensioner says that 64 years of grappling and body slams has kept him young in body and in mind.

Jack, from Cramlington, Northumberland, is one of the country’s highest graded players and has practiced the sport for 64 years.

Now he is encouraging other OAPs to get out of the ‘retirement mindset’ and become an ‘adventure pensioner’.

Judo master Jack got involved in martial arts in 1951 after appendicitis ended his cycling career

Jack said: “To those people who are now ‘retired’, forget it.

“There is no such thing as retirement. Get up and get out, do something, keep active. That way you will live as long as I have.

“There are loads of activities out there for the older generation to get yourself involved in.”

Jack has been practicing judo for 64 years and hopes he can inspire OAPs

Jack first took up martial arts in 1951 after appendicitis put an end to a promising cycling career.

And after discovering judo – which he first practiced on ‘sawdust’ and a few ‘pieces of wood’ – Jack never looked back.

Jack said: “I used to be a racing cyclist. I cycled down as far as Lincoln, and to the top part of Scotland.

The judo master currently holds a ninth Dan black belt

“One day I suddenly felt a pain and discovered it was appendicitis.

"The doctor said I shouldn’t cycle again, so I had to look for something else - and that’s when I took up Judo.”

Jack and his brother went on to set up their own club in North Shields, North Tyneside.

Jack has now taken up dancing as a hobby to add to his already active lifestyle
The former cyclist attributes his good health to the fact he has been doing judo for 64 years

And now, over half a century later, Jack is an accredited Sensei and Hanshi – a doctor of physiology in Judo.

Jack currently holds a ninth Dan black belt, and will have waited ten years to be eligible to present himself for his tenth - in his hundredth year.

And Jack’s lease of life doesn’t just stop at judo.

He said: “I found a place nearby where there's dancing. I have never been on a dance floor in my life. I wondered if my feet could do that.

“I am not Fred Astaire, but I'd give him a run for his money.

Jack who is a great-great-grandfather will have to wait until he is 100 to be eligible for his tenth Dan black belt

“You know, it’s never too late in life to find something that you like.

“In my case, I looked after my body when I was young and I now know my body is looking after me, now that I am old.”

Jack’s active lifestyle is part of a trend emerging in older generations.

 

Judo Sensei, Jack, is one of the highest graded judo masters in the UK

Recent research from online marketplace Groupon has revealed how the current generation of retirees in the UK spends an average of almost £700 more a year on leisure activities than the previous generation.

The study found that retired Brits are now 15% more active than the rest of the nation and spend more time outdoors than most 18-24 year olds.

Almost a fifth of British retirees admitted to considering cashing in their pensions to raise extra money to fund trips and leisure pursuits, with 35% saying that risky activities make them feel younger.

Jack first started practicing his judo moves on pieces of wood and sawdust

Now Jack is working alongside Groupon on a campaign to encourage Britain’s retirees to try something new and to give this a kick-start, Jack will be offering five lucky winners the chance to train with him in one of his Judo classes.

To enter the free deal to be in with a chance of winning visit: www.gr.pn/jack

Commenting on the results of the research, James Scott, MD at Groupon UK, said: “This research shows that 60 is the new 40. Retirees want to live life to the full, get out of their comfort zone and try new experiences.”

Judo master Jack is also an accredited Hanshi which is a doctor of physiology in Judo

To keep up with the senior generation, and for great savings on ways to stay active visit: www.gr.pn/local-fitness