Howard Jackson had a phenomenal winning streak in major
competitions-Tournament Karate, Kickboxing, full contact Karate, and Boxing. He
was voted the best by his competitors and peers. Jackson was born in
Detroit, Michigan to working class parents who many times had to rely on
government assistance for housing and food. Life for the Jackson family
was unstable and his mother and father died at an early age. The oldest of four
children, he saw his two brothers die violent and tragic deaths. He and his
sister (Corliss) survived the troubled streets of Detroit.
Jackson started studying kung fu in 1967 after the Detroit riots and
searched for a martial art that would work best for him. A turning point came
when Jackson witnessed a demonstration by an individual who had been
studying Tang Soo Do karate for two years and thanks to this young man, Howard
Jackson was led to Harold Williams who became his mentor and karate
instructor up to Howard's testing for first degree black belt in Tang
Soo Do karate. In 1970, Jackson along with two other soon-to-be
champions, Johnny Lee and Everett "Monsterman"
Eddy, and the champion of that time frame who was testing for fourth degree
black belt, Chuck Norris, (Pictured with Howard at Right) were
all tested for black belt by Grand Master Hwang Kee and His Moo Kwon
Shortly thereafter, Jackson searched for the ultimate self-defense
martial art. He joined the Marines Corps and discovered tournament competition.
While at Camp Pendleton, he read a karate magazine about his stable mates, Johnny
Lee and Everett "Monsterman" Eddy, who were
winning karate championships all over the country. Jackson had to find a
way to be a part of karate competition. He got his chance and entered the Four
Seasons Karate Championships. Although he was disqualified for excessive
contact, he was noticed by Chuck Norris and Bob Wall. Although
complemented for his exceptional kicking ability, he was told of his lack of
control. Chuck and Bob also encouraged him to develop his usage
of hand techniques. At that time, they invited young Howard to the Chuck
Norris Karate Studios in Torrance, California.
The next week Howard caught the Greyhound bus from Camp Pendleton in
California to Long Beach, California and spent his weekend leave training with
Chuck Norris and his many talented black belts (such as Bob
Wall, John Natividad, Darnell Garcia, Bob Burbitch, Ralph Alegria, Aaron Norris,
and Pat Johnson, just to name a few). Jackson became an
integral part of the Chuck Norris fighting team who were winning both
team and individual championships across the country.
In 1972-73, Jackson was ranked among the top 10 national fighters in
the United States. He was called "California Flash" because of his
most outstanding attribute, his initial speed and a unique ability to rapidly
close the gap on his opponents. He was ranked number 8 in 1973. Howard
was contacted by heavyweight champion Joe Lewis and invited to his
sparring session, and Joe and Howard became sparring partners.
Joe also saw Howard's potential to be a recognized champion.
Joe became a part of Howard's success and he helped Howard
to become both mentally and physically prepared for competitive fighting. Joe
Lewis combined his personal theories in fighting along with Bruce Lee's
and taught these theories to Howard. While Chuck Norris, Mike Stone
and others gave Howard the tools of competitive fighting, Joe
In 1973, Howard won the grand championship and first prize $1000 in
semi contact competition at the Top 10 Nationals in St. Louis.
Jackson became the only two-time grand Champion of the Battle of Atlanta
(1973 and 1974). In 1973 , he was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of
Fame as "Fighter of the Year." Jackson became
the first lightweight to dominate his sport and professional karate's biggest
money winner of 1973. Jackson had usurped Bill Wallace, at the
time America's top tournament fighter. In 1974, he won the lightweight title in
the split-division United States Championships in Dallas. Jackson was
the Black Belt and Professional Karate Magazines #1 U.S. karate fighter of 1974
(Karate Player of the Year).
After a knee injury in 1974, Jackson's whole world seem to crumble.
After two years of therapy for the knee, and perseverance and determination,
Jackson launched a comeback in 1976, competing in professional boxing,
karate, and kickboxing. On January 26, 1980, he captured the WKA full-contact
welterweight title. Jackson won an unanimous decision over Japan's Yoshimitsu
Tamashiro. In January 1981, he won against Miyaso Chiba in Tokyo to
become the world junior welterweight champion of the World Kickboxing
Howard Jackson was the first competitor to win the Karate Player of the
Year award with only two years of experience and was one of the first
internationally recognized world champions. He was the first karate champion to
be ranked in professional boxing-number 6 in the world by the World Boxing
Association (WBA). At age 23, Jackson attained his goal of becoming the
first black man to reach the pinnacle position of tournament karate. Howard
Jackson was the only champion in history to hold world titles in semi
contact, full contact, kickboxing and boxing.
After retirement in 1983, Jackson worked for 10 years as Personal
Protection Officer/Training Partner to actor and World Karate Champion, Chuck
Norris. His total dedication to the sport and the art earned him the
admiration and respect of his contemporaries; he was known as a professional's
professional. In keeping with his goals of accomplishment and self improvement,
Jackson left his position with Mr. Norris and worked for 5 years
as Bodyguard to the Temptations (Left). Howard then
returned to his position with Chuck Norris. Jackson credits martial arts
as giving him focus and a method by which he could achieve realistic goals. He
learned that "step by step, one small goal at a time, he could
accomplish what he wanted."
From Howard... Physically my
body is in wonderful shape, by just knowing the right exercise, proper
proportion of exercise, and the exercise that benefits me the most. Strength
wise I am at my highest state. Both physically and mentally. I am able to push
myself mentally to the point where I can achieve personal gains from my physical
efforts which will not cause serious injury or break my momentum with my
workout. From the stand point of life itself, I have had a wonderful prosperous
life. I have had my ups and downs as we all do. I am going through my third
divorce. I have three wonderful children. My oldest son Howard Jr.,
turned 30 this February (2002). He is a police officer for the L.A.P.D., (Los
Angeles Police Department, California, USA) and a very good one at that. He
also plays football, a running back, for the police department. He also is a
work horse. Howard Jr. has a wonderful wife,
Shanta and my two grandsons, Jonathan 9 and Jordan 2.
My second son Jeremy resides in Alberta Canada. Jeremy, a
great athlete, won a full scholarship to Michigan State, for hockey.
Jeremy was one of the best players on the hockey team while being an
intrical part of the team at such an early stage of his college freshman year.
He was on the first line. The only player to have free roam because of his
ability for being a play maker, his exceptional speed and his ability to handle
the puck. Unfortunately, age played as a negative conclusion on my young
upstarts college career. He lost his focus from hockey and fell into the teenage
party syndrome. We've all been there and done that, so I understand, but I'm
very proud of him. He went back to Canada, projected his focus again on hockey
and is now being noticed by the NHL and WHL hockey leagues. Trial, tribulation
and maturity has established itself with my son. He's learned how to channel
his energies to more positive goals.
Last but not least, my one and only daughter Amber Nicole Jackson,
whom I held on to her name prior to her arrival. I had her name to bestow on
Jeremy who turned out to be a boy. At any rate, the way to a man's heart
is not the food he eats, it's the daughter he spoils. I spend a lot of time with
my eight your old tyke. She is the apple of my eye, especially during the
difficult time of divorce. Life is all that you make of it and I'm making the
best of it, regardless of the ups and downs, there's always the better days. My
children are my life. It took me such a long time to realize that life is truly
all about family, because that's what has kept me going all these years.
- Achievements and Awards
- 2003 Battle of Atlanta Centurion Club "Enthusiasm and
- 2003 County of Los Angeles "Commendation for Outstanding
Contributions to Youth Athletics"
- 2003 California Legislative Assembly "Certification of
Recognition for Enhancing Community quality of Life"
- 2003 State of California "Certificate of Recognition"
- 2003 Martial Arts History Museum "Martial Arts Hall of
- 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award "Outstanding contributions
to Martial Arts and the Sport of Karate" March Madness
- 2003 Living Legends "Pioneer Award"
- 2002 Most Inspirational Award UFAF
- 2002 7th degree black belt in Chun Kuk Do UFAF, Chuck Norris System
- 2002 Top Ten Athletic Achievement Award to "The California
- 2002 "Outstanding Contributions to the Martial Arts"
- 1997 Martial Arts Museum of America "Award for Excellence"
- 1992 Michigan Karate Hall of Fame "Outstanding
Contributions to the Growth of Martial Arts in the United States"
- 1988 American Karate Black Belt Association "American Warrior"
- 1986 "Outstanding Contribution in Non-Contact Karate,
Professional Boxing, World Welterweight Champion in Full-Contact Karate and
Professionalism as a Fighter"
- 1981 "World Jr. Welterweight Champion for 10 rounds in
- 1974 Black Belt Hall of Fame "Karate Player Award"
by Black Belt Magazine
- 1973-1974 Golden Fist Award for "Outstanding Competitor"
- 1973 Battle of Atlanta Tournament of Champions "Grand
- 1972 All Star Black Belt Team Championships "Super Star"