Superstar Brian Jacks gives judo masterclass in Walsall

By John Scott | Walsall | Sport | Published:

He is a judo legend – but most people still remember him for his all-conquering performances on the TV show Superstars.

Brian Jacks (left) with Kevin O'Reilly

Now 70, Brian Jacks remains as fit as a fiddle.

And he drew in enthusiasts from throughout the Midlands when he staged a Masterclass at Wolverhampton University's Walsall campus.

Those coming to gain from Brian's experience were aged 11 to 70 and varied from Orange to 7th Dan Black belt.

The event, which raised £180 towards Cancer Research UK, was organised by Kevin O’Reilly, a senior coach with Wolverhampton Judo Club, Roger Houston, the sport's Midland area chairman and Dave Elmore from the university.

It was more than 40 years since Kevin last had a coaching session with Jacks, who was the first Briton to win a medal at the judo World Championships when he got a bronze in 1967.

He was also European middleweight champion in 1970 and 1973 and won a bronze medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Jacks was chief instructor at the UK's first Judo Club and later dominated the British and European versions of BBC TV 'Superstars' competition in the late 70s, becoming famous for his rapid squat thrusts and beam presses.

Brian during his Superstar days


Jacks lives in Thailand where he runs a 60-room hotel but returns to the UK as a guest to teach Masterclass Judo sessions or deliver after dinner speeches.

Mr O’Reilly said: "I heard he was in this country promoting a book and it was too good an opportunity to miss so we booked him.

"He did a session in which he went over techniques for standing and ground work. He also gave tips to people on how to overcome their particular technical issues.

"He told everybody what training methods had worked for him. It was great to hear a legend of the sport pass on tips that still work today."

He continued: "When I was 15 or 16 - and he was getting towards the end of his competitive career - I was part of the Midland Area Squad when he gave an advice session on the mat at our training camp.

"It was great to see that over 40 years later he was still knowledgeable and active. The atmosphere was great."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer


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