Work hard, because regardless of who or what is around you, the end product is a reflection of who you are.
We live in a world of moments. This moment you are reading a sentence, the next you are thinking of it, and by tomorrow you will have forgotten. So, live in this moment. Help people who need it, make an impact in their lives, take positive risks, and work harder than ever in the moment. Because no matter what you've done in the past or will do in the future, you will always only have this moment.
The story before the movement
Born in Salinas, CA., raised in Fort Worth, TX. I found myself caught up in a life of poverty, with no way out. With no father to turn to, and a mother struggling to keep food on the table for her children, I fell into a life that isn't meant for anyone; Gang life. A feeling of loneliness, can cause a person to seek approval in the most dangerous of places. As a 14 year-old boy failing in school and having no real mentors, I ended up with the wrong crowds, thieving, fighting, skipping school, among other things. I was a troubled kid with no parental figures and what seemed like no hope for a future. I found myself in deep trouble and was brought home by the police on a multiple occasions. I fell under probation after some time. Feeling like she was losing her son, my mother attempted to put me in boxing and martial arts. She hoped I would gain better structure, and release anger or stress. I became well rounded in my fighting abilities, and gained some discipline, but I was still around the wrong crowd. So the trouble continued. In a last attempt to fix what was left of the family my mother made a rash decision, we moved to a new home away from the hood. Unhappy with the move, and not having a place to focus my energy, things became stressful. I began to get into fights at the new school. Most of the time it was because of simple comments, things that if I had really tried to avoid, I could have.
2 months into being at the new school I was called into the office. I was told that I had skipped so much freshman year I needed to catch up on credits(116 days of school to be exact). They changed my schedule and told me I had room for one elective. I didn't know what some of the options were, but I knew that in gymnastics I could learn to do a back flip. I chose gymnastics, and they accepted my request to come and work out. I met the coach for the first time. He looked over and said "You look about the right size, let’s see if you can do anything. Come by after school and we will get you a shirt and some shorts.". It was fun, I didn't realize it at the time, but meeting Coach Eric Briley would be the turning point that would change my life.
Gymnastics was tough, and I didn't have the strength to be a good rings guy, but I had speed and that meant I could learn to tumble. I became obsessed with becoming better, every day, day in day out. I would walk to school at 6 am and walk back home at 8 pm. I was there before my Coach, and wouldn't leave unless I had to. Morning workouts would be an hour and thirty minutes, evenings would be three to four hours. We competed for fun the first half of the first year I was there (the school had just been built), and I did horrible. We took half the summer off, but I didn't stop training. Every moment of every day I was outside falling on my side, back, and face, training. I learned to fall so well, that it was no longer unsafe, I fell so often that I started landing. Once summer was over I came back into the gym, and something felt different. The floor was softer, springier, and I felt lighter and stronger. Without warming up, as everyone was walking in I decided to attempt some of my new skills. Round off - Back handspring - Arabian step out- Round off- Back Tuck, I had never felt so graceful or so much time in the air; I felt like I could fly. As I land Coach Briley looks to me and yells "Yeaaah!!! That was Great!!", he waives me down, and excited I follow. He calmly looks at me and says " Jenin that was amazing bud, you're the first one in, waiting before I even get here, and you don't leave till I kick you out. But... I can't use you.". For a moment my heart fell, I was confused. I had worked so hard and I was being told I could be part of the team. I felt cast aside, but before I could mutter a sound, he placed his hand on my shoulder and says " I know you have the drive, but if you don't pass, you don't compete.". And that was it, I knew what I had to do. I finally had a reason to try, a reason to focus on more than just the physical. After that moment, I realized that school was easy. It's all just putting things together, remembering things, and regurgitating them. Once upon a time I didn't even know how I got to high school, I'd never studied a thing. I sat in the back with my head down hoping no one would ever call on me. Now I felt like I could take one everything.
Junior year was almost over, I was at my last competition and I had progressed from 6.5 the first year I walked in (those were some of my highest scores.), to 9.2s. I was on floor my best event and it was the last time I was going to get to compete, but my coach didn't know that. We were up against 5 other schools and I just had to stick my landing on optionals, the pressure was on. As I saluted my mind went blank, and every time I had ever come in early, or stayed late, it all made sense. I finished my routine with a double full, and I stuck it. All I can remember from that moment was finishing my routine, and my Coach yelling at a distance "YEEEAAAHH!!!". I walked off the floor as he met me half was, with a big smile on his face. He placed his hand on my back and said " I'm proud of you, you did great.". I walked away trying not to cry, it was the first time I had ever heard those words. I realized at that moment why I always fought so hard, what gymnastics, and my Coach meant to me. Senior year came around and I couldn't compete, I had skipped so much during my freshman year, I needed to catch up on credits. I began to teach gymnastics as a way to help him out. It was a way to give back. I learned that I could become the influence Eric Briley was to me, for someone else. Thus, I began to teach childrens gymnastics. Soon after I became interested in parkour as well. I got hurt on several occasions, at the time no one in the area knew what it was and definitely no one taught it how to do it properly, so I learned it the hard way. After a couple of years, I began to teach it. This way no one had to go through the lessons I did. I taught nonprofits, to help children that couldn't afford sports find their way out of trouble. The only thing they had to do to train with me was pass their classes, and they did. Parkour eventually helped me build a parkour team and a name that became recognized (PKOUT, Parkour, Over. Under. Through.). The team and I would train everywhere, and one fateful day, while we jumped over alleys roof to roof, and flipped through the streets a man watched from a distance while having dinner with his son. This man approached me asking to see one of the flips I had done, he shook my hand and asked me if I had ever been on television before? I ended up on national television 2 weeks later on a show called "The Good Guys". He gave me my first opportunity to be on set, and is the reason I am Union. This man’s name is Russel Towery.
Since then I have had the pleasure of being trained by some amazing people. John Cann has taken more time than anyone to help me establish my skills, in stunts and in some occasions in life. I've had the pleasure of training with Freddie Poole, a great martial artist and Stuntman/Coordinator, and many other amazing people. They are the reason I keep training, they are the reason I work hard, and they will be a reason why I succeed. Everything I have ever learned, is a gift, by everyone I have ever studied under. I hope to someday share this gift, not to change the world, but maybe someone’s world.