Bodyguard to the stars: He learned how to fight when he was 3. Now, as a top karate expert, he guards and acts as friend to celebrities in Australia and overseas. By Nene King

A row of framed pop posters hangs on the wall. Most are affectionately inscribed.

One reads: “For Bob, thanks for all your help. Love and kisses Linda Ronstadt.”

On the poster announcing the David Bowie tour of Australia, the star has written “With all my thanks for your excellent work.”

But the prize possession is the “Thanks to Bob Jones Karate Skool” Mick Jagger scrawled before he flew out of Australia with the rest of The Rolling Stones.

Bob Jones, 1.8 m (6 ft) tall, with shoulders almost as wide and a mane of thick, wavy red hair, has been in the business of protecting international stars on tour here for almost a decade.

Bob’s long list of clients includes Shelley Berman, The Rolling Stones, ABBA, Bad Company, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Joe Cocker, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and his wife Linda.

“They are crazy, fascinating, often highly intelligent and always fun people,” Bob says.

Recently his charges have been taking him on tour out of Australia…to South-East Asia, Japan and the U.S.

Later this year, he flies to Los Angeles to work with Fleetwood Mac again.

There is also a possibility of going on the road for nine months for the David Bowie world tour next year.

Early this year he spent two weeks in Japan, guarding the lovely Linda Ronstadt, after looking after her in Australia.

“I had to protect her from quite a few socialite playboys,” Bob says.

“I think the Linda Ronstadt tour was the first time I had met male groupies.”

Bob describes the beautiful U.S. singer – who recently made world headlines when she went on safari with California’s Governor Jerry Brown, the handsome politician in her life – as a “refined lady”.

“She’s quite different from the public image she has created by saying things like she would like to sleep with a priest,” Bob adds. “But it’s true that she’s really into dieting and she’s a weight training fanatic. She lifts weights every day, but she hasn’t got big muscles. It’s funny to watch her. She huffs and puffs like a guy. It must be doing her good. She’s 32 and she looks 22.”

Bob Jones, who calls himself a martial arts addict, is one of the highest ranked Australian-born karate teachers. He has won and lost some of the top karate tournaments in the U.S. and now has schools all over Australia. He has choreographed fight scenes for TV series such as Homicide and Division 4 and the film, The Last Of The Knucklemen.

He is talking about starring in a new TV series with his right-hand man Richard Norton.”

“We’d play a couple of bodyguards who finish tours with stars and get involved in protecting big businessmen who deal in lots of money and precious stones,” Bob says.

Which is what the Bob Jones Corporation is doing, plus running rock and roll fitness classes for girls at its headquarters in Melbourne.

It was Bob who gave the unpredictable Mr Jagger karate lessons between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. most days when the Stones toured here in 1973.

In Australia and later in Los Angeles, Bob taught Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) new karate techniques to make her stage act more aggressive. He also taught Mick Fleetwood’s wife Jenny yoga in Los Angeles.

[Sam’s comment: It was a complete missed opportunity that Bob Jones didn’t introduce, discuss and practice with Agnetha, on some of the yoga exercises during ABBA’s 1977 Australian tour. Agnetha later said in the As I Am book: “Yoga is a way of life and gives life purpose. I wish that I’d discovered it a long time ago. Not least for breathing exercises. Imagine, I could have made good use of it in ABBA, which involved so many time changes, so much stress and nervousness, so much concentration and winding down.”]

Stories about the stars tumble from the lips of the fast talking Mr Jones.

He tells of David Bowie’s incredible Knowledge of current affairs and world politics and the case of science fiction books he carried around Australia.

“These tours are great fun, but they are hard work,” Bob says.

Bob, who was born and raised in Melbourne, left school and went into real estate. Sitting behind a desk didn’t suit him and he ended up promoting dances.

“A fight broke out one night. As I was the promoter, I rushed in, broke it up and threw everyone out who was upsetting the dance. Being a redhead qualified me. Kids starting calling me names like Bluey and Ginger Mick when I was three years old…about the same time I learned to fight.”

From promoting dances, Bob formed a security group and moved into discotheques, hotels and then pop festivals.

Sunbury was his first big assignment…to control 70,000 people at the three-day festival. Bob headed a team of 200 security men. Then promoter Paul Dainty employed him to tour with The Rolling Stones.

“We’re not just bodyguards – we act as personal companions as well,” Bob adds. “The job involves so much. You have to watch out for what we call the publicity bandits…the people who plant drugs in the stars’ rooms and then call the police and Press.”

And who are some of Bob’s favourite performers?

“Joe Cocker. He’s a wonderful, genuine guy and his cheque helped me landscape my swimming pool.

“Paul and Linda McCartney are delightful people who are crazy about animals and Stevie Nicks is a real superstar. She needs to be made a fuss of all the time. She’s a hypochondriac, but a beautiful lady.

Photos: (1) As a little scrapper at school, kids called him ‘Ginger Mick’. Now, 6 ft tall Bob Jones, red hair an’ all, has built a highly lucrative business from his skills. (2) Lovely singer Linda Ronstadt, one of karate expert Bob’s clients, whom he got to know and describes as “a refined lady”. (3) One of the most exciting tours for Bob Jones was that of the Swedish group ABBA. Transcribed for ABBA World

New Idea (Australia) · 21 July 1979 (Pages 17 & 19)

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