Issue 66: Healthkick!

By: John Jenkins

“Show me a person who has a lot of energy with no direction, and I’ll show you someone who will quickly get into trouble.” These are the words often shared with a raptured audience of student leaders. The arc of my life reveals the authority from which these words are spoken. My start was in Newark, New Jersey, where the challenges of urban living pervades all aspects of life. Where the ravages of gangs, drugs, violence, and death make an indelible mark on any person.

I am blessed and grateful for the exceptional wisdom of my mother, who understood that, to save me from the lure of the streets, discipline was in order.

She quickly enrolled me in scouting and martial arts. Both provided discipline and an organized activity, far from the madness of the streets. Both played roles in saving my life. While participating in these organized activities, on a few occasions, death was avoided from a drive-by shooting which took the life of a dear friend. After a one hour class or scout meeting, I found out my friend was killed. Without the positive activity, I would have been on the same corner with my friend when the murder occurred.

Lucky for me, I fell in love with both activities. Scouting provided a chance to simply ‘feel’ the spiritual effects of nature’s landscape as opposed to the hardscape of concrete sprinkled with broken glass amidst a backdrop of the ceaseless drone of city life. Martial Arts gave me the personal skills to face and overcome my real opponents of fear and self doubt.

Eventually, what became clear was the importance of preserving a quality balance between community life and that of the natural environs. That recognition, combined with the courage to see and move beyond current circumstances, helped me reach a few laudable achievements as a world-class athlete and an historically elected leader in Maine.

These include numerous leadership recognitions by: the State Legislatures of Maine, New Jersey, and Kentucky (awarded the Kentucky Colonel distinction), Mayor of Lewiston, Maine State Senator, Mayor of Auburn (first person in Maine history to win a citizen-initiated Mayoral write-in campaign). This also led to my being inducted into a number of Sports Halls of Fame: Lewiston/Auburn, Maine State, World Martial Arts, and International Black Belt.

As a fourth year Rockland area resident, it has been a joy to share our tailored wellness expertise with participants of all ages and abilities. Many have inquired about opening a small martial arts/wellness center, to establish a permanent space to invite youth, adults, and senior citizens to continue classes.

My first experience with the Greater Rockland area came through engagements as an inspirational trainer. Speaking invitations came from area schools and organizations using the Samoset. Rockland provides the best of Maine in a small community. This includes arts activities, civic engagement, natural environment, and a dynamic balanced integration of a working waterfront with economic development. It is very exciting to add my energy towards making Maine and the Greater Rockland area a wellness destination. Based on interest and registrations, our martial arts/wellness center will offer tailored introductory classes in: Women’s Self-defense, Karate-Do, Jenkins Technique (Tai-Chi Balance). At a later date the curriculum may include eastern/ western fencing classes.

The location of the John Jenkins Academy will be in Rockland at 21 6 South Main Street, 2nd floor (across from the waterfront parking lot and standing clock).

For more information, please contact: John Jenkins / 207-783-3413 / e-mail: peptalk@peptalk.com / www.peptalk.com

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