HYDERABAD:Years ago, a seventh standard student who was inclined towards being fit as a fiddle came across karate. In no time, he was enamoured of the craft and started to take professional training. He knew he found his calling. The voice of clarity in his heart insinuated him to realise that he was born to ascend higher in defense art forms, thus making him sever his academics. Jackson master, he is fondly called now by his students, is the Michael Jackson of martial arts. Thanks to his appetite for learning martial arts, today he stands tall as the founder of a martial arts school and also as the man behind the chiseled and sculpted body of Tollywood stars Prabhas, Allu Arjun, Ram Charan and Samantha.
Having come from a humble socio-economic background, it was a difficult chore for Jackson to chase his dreams. “My family was not sure if my aspirations would fetch me stability in life or would help me have a steady income,” he says. Today, Jackson master is a celebrity trainer who has travelled across the world to get certified in nine martial art forms including Muay Thai from Thailand, which is term rarely heard of in India.
“I learnt a lot of Chinese martial arts. One among them is International Shaolin Ninja Kung-fu from my master Naser. I have received a four-degree belt in the same art form. I train in MMA (Mixed martial arts), Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Jiu Jatsu, Krav Maga along with gymnastics and Chinese weapons trainings,” he informs.
His brother Victor helped him financially and emotionally to master the arts.
His confidante and a doctor Kannaiah Thallapally says Jackson has earned so many trophies that his family had no other option but to throw a few onto the loft as they couldn’t accommodate them in the living room. Jackson replies, “I have just won 74 medals and a gold old medal in national kickboxing.”
Name any star and he has has trained him/her. Allu Arjun is a proud student for 13 years now and so is Ram Charan. He has also trained Balakrishna.
“Samantha is my new student. Allu Arjun and Ram Charan got to know me through their sources. They introduced me to the film fraternity,” he shares with gratitude.
Praising his dearest students, Jackson says, “Bunny and Cherry are diligent. They follow my time and are open to learning.”
Ask him if he finds any difference between training a celeb and a common man, he laughs and says, “Outside the gym, every man is a star to me. I have cruised through the ordeals. I know every man is going through turbulences and is still wearing a beautiful smile. That makes him/her a celeb to me. Inside the gym, there is no celebrity status. They have to leave all the stardom at the doorstep and enter. Learning doesn’t come when there is pride,” he firmly informs.
His students believe that his ability to recalibrate the strength, stamina and needs of a student’s body and giving a right amount of training is what makes him stand out. “Probably, the workout tasks I assign to my students is enough to burn more than 1,200 calories in an hour,” he educates.
At 40, he still looks like a collegian. “I practice kick-boxing and other martial arts every day. My typical day is like 12 hours of training to students. I start my classes at 4 am for a personal training. At 6, I am at Apollo Life Studio till 12 noon. I am back to Apollo at 5 pm till 9 pm. I take up personalised and customized coaching for different people at different places,” he shares, while guiding a student to kick the punchbag harder.
Although he doesn’t spare enough time to his own martial arts school at Masab Tank, he determinedly says it’s is dear to him.
“It was my dream to open a school. I made ‘School of Chinese Martial Arts’ come true. I am unable to give enough attention to it, but I keep a tab about how it is functioning. I have more than 40 students now,” he says.
“During the making of the movie Billa, the production house wanted someone proficient in Taekwondo and they got to know about Jackson master. He trained the cast for the movie and received remuneration in an envelope. Without even opening to see, how much he was paid, he went to the master, who trained him in Taekwondo and gave him the envelope,” Kannaih recalls an instance, with utmost respect, while Jackson master looks on.