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
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.
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
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
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
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
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!
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!
recapture those youthful years!
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!