Origins of New Jump Swing & Donald "Spiderman" Thomas!

When I was 5 years of age, my parents moved from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn to purchase a home on Amboy Street, Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York. It was there on that street that I first learned to run, jump and play a variety of games, which for the most part would all be considered aerobic activities today. Most of the games that the boys back in those days played were in the streets, and my mother forbade me to play in the street. At the age of 3, I ran away from her and was nearly injured by an oncoming automobile. 

Needless to say, I got punished very often for disobeying my mother's wishes. Her concern for my safety, however, was no match for my desire to fit in with the rest of my peers. I roller skated, ice skated, bicycled, played punch ball, handball, softball (The Amboy St. Tigers), Crack Top, Skelly, Two-Hand Touch, street tackle football, Hot Peas and Butter, Hide (anywhere on the block) and Seek, Ace-King-Queen (Chinese Handball).  I swam at the then Betsy Head Pool, now Marcus Garvey Pool, which is what made Amboy St. a dead-end street) and was known as Spider-Man! 

Excerpted from the book: "New Jump Swing Record Breaking Jump Rope Program for Fun, Fitness and Cross Training," Copyright 1992 PDN .

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 That's right, Spider-Man. 

Although Brownsville is the birth place of Murder Inc. and the Amboy Dukes, on my block there were no gangs, due to the very close tabs that most of our parents placed upon us. They knew that we didn't have jobs and so unexplained items such as clothing, bicycles, and scooters were never allowed. But we did have a daredevil club, officially the Amboy Street Chapter of the Merry Marvel Marching Society. Each guy took the name of their favorite Marvel super hero. My favorite hero was Spider-Man. 

Our group used to meet on top of a building in the back of the block referred to as "The Tip." It was one story high! Part of the initiation into our club was jumping off of "The Tip." Running and jumping were always my athletic loves, although basketball was never a game that I played or enjoyed, except for Taps (a foul shooting game that includes jumping). 

As a camper at Tilden-Canarsie Day Camp in Brooklyn during the 1960s, my nickname became "Spider". Very few people in that camp, up until this day, know my real name. As "Spider", I ran and climbed and jumped. Sprint events were my forte. I used to get out of the bus at its first stop (Meyer Levine J.H.) and race the bus to its last stop (Tilden H.S.)! 

I never beat the bus, but the training was great. 

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 At twelve years of age, my life took a great turn. 

One day while playing in the street, I squatted down to rest . . . 

Suddenly a sharp pain went through my left knee. I shook it off after a while and continued to play. Being young, I just figured it to be something minor. 

As the weeks went by, I noticed pain in my right knee as well. At no time was this pain so great that it caused me to stop doing all of my running and jumping; I would just have constant pain in my knees the day after. 

Can you imagine being thirteen years old and taking children's aspirin for pain? 

Can you imagine rubbing down with liniment throughout your teenage years? 

I would tell people that I had "bad knees," but due to all of the running and jumping that I was still doing, no one really believed my problem was that serious. 

At the age of 18, I consulted an orthopedic surgeon by the name of Dr. Joel Teicher. Upon examination, he diagnosed my problem as Osgood-Schlatter disease with boney patellar fragments. In layperson's terms, I had a knee disease that required the removal of more than twelve bone chips from each knee! 

While convalescing, I read a runners magazine article that highlighted the benefits of rope jumping. It seemed to have everything that I was looking for. It was low impact, low cost, taught you how to be light on your feet and didn't hurt your knees when done properly. 

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Oh, happy day! 

I'd found the healthy way to jump, not off of roofs, but, with a rope. 

Although I began my research into rope jumping in 1972, I did not pick up a jump rope until 1975. I spent those three years developing my nutritional and motivational psychology program, The Philosophy of Diving Nutrition (PDN). 

I knew that if Donald "Spiderman" Thomas was ever going to jump again, it would have to be a new kind of jumping and swinging

In my life, I've been medically diagnosed with acute rhinitis, bronchitis, Osgood-Schlatter disease, acute sprains of the left side of the shoulder, elbow and lower back. Through the practice of New Jump Swing, as well as PDN Vegetarianism, I've been able to overcome these ailments and live a relatively healthy life. 

A healthy lifestyle is what will allow people to overcome low life expectancy statistics. A healthy lifestyle is what will reduce heart disease, cancer, adult onset diabetes, childhood obesity and AIDS! 

As a nation, if we are to curtail skyrocketing medical care costs, we must begin by teaching our citizens how to reduce their chances of developing diseases that have been proven to be lifestyle-related. By no means am I suggesting that these lifestyle changes require you to live a cloistered life, merely that these changes are for the improvement of your health and that you the individual have the power to make these changes. 

Many people cannot afford the cost of membership to a gym, health club or spa. Many cannot access a swimming pool for swimming or a snowy mountain for cross-country skiing. The reality of violence in the streets and parks of urban America have made some people fearful of running alone or with someone. New Jump Swing was designed with those realities in mind!

 

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 Rope jumping can be done indoors or outdoors. 

The jump rope is a lightweight and extremely portable piece of exercise equipment. Jumping rope can be done in your garage, basement, hallway or on a roof. It can be great fun, once you learn the ropes. 

For those of you who know and enjoy the value of athletic cross training, New Jump Swing was made to fit the bill. All of the exercises that you will see in the New Jump Swing booklet were designed not only to be fun for the young at heart, but also, specifically designed to aid the athlete in training. 

Whatever your sport, New Jump Swing has a technique that will help you. 

Enough reminiscing about my youth, let's get started! 

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 Let's all recapture those youthful years! 

Many concepts of reversing the aging process, gerontology and life extension have been espoused in recent years, but for me, but they don't mean a thing without New Jump Swing!

Donald "Spiderman" Thomas is the proud owner of 98% of all monthly core Spider-Man comic book titles published since 1962.