Olympian inspires excellence through jump rope
December 18, 2012
HOHENFELS, Germany (Dec. 18, 2012) -- Olympian Buddy Lee visited Hohenfels last week to give a jump start to the Army's "Get Fit, Be Strong," or GFBS, initiative through a series of classes introducing children and families to his world-class jump rope program.
Lee picked up his first jump rope at age 14 when he saw his neighbor working out with one.
"Like a lot of boys, I had thought jump ropes were for girls, but when I saw my neighbor who was a fourth-degree black belt using one, I wanted to do it, too," said Lee.
Already a high school wrestler, Lee incorporated jumping into his training regime and he's never stopped. A three-time World Military Champion, 10-time World Cup Champion, and 20-time National Wrestling Champion, Lee attributes much of his success to rope jumping.
"This rope became my best training partner and my best friend," he said.
Lee became a spokesman for the Army's Child, Youth and School Services GFBS campaign last year and visited Army installations across the continental U.S. This year, he's working his way across Europe, and planning a tour to the Pacific.
In support of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" program, GFBS aims to provide not only the latest in fitness training, equipment and services, but also foster enduring habits to help make healthy living a part of everyday life for Army families.
"We're here really to motivate young people to get moving and stuff because of all the incredible benefits they get from exercise -- mental, psychological and physiological -- that can help them combat some of the things they're dealing with," said Lee.
Lee said rope jumping is the fast track to fitness, and that 10 minutes of jump rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging or two sets of tennis. As the jump rope conditioning consultant to the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1996 to 2000, he trained over 25 Olympic sports teams.
Lee and his team conducted training for FMWR, CYSS staff and others as well as conducting two classes at the Hohenfels Elementary School, Dec. 13. The following day they held a two-hour session for Hohenfels Middle-High School students, and another session open to the entire community at the CYSS School Age Center that evening.
"The key to jumping is to be light on the balls of your feet," Lee explained. "If you can hear your feet hit the floor, you're jumping too hard."
After training attendees on the basic techniques of jump rope, Lee kept them motivated by conducting various contests and handing out prizes, including DVDs of his training program and even his latest high-tech aero speed jump rope, official training rope of the U.S. Olympic Team.
Lee told the children that sharing ways to integrate jump rope training into their lives wasn't just about improving their chosen sport, but also other areas of their lives. He believes exercise and jumping rope can teach children commitment, focus, self respect, confidence and resiliency.
"This jump rope has taken me to 50 countries around the world; I met presidents because of the jump rope," he said.
A former U.S. Marine and the son of a Vietnam veteran, Lee said he understands the pressures faced by military children.
"It's easy to do the wrong thing, but it takes a commitment to do the right thing, to take care of your mind, body and spirit," Lee told his audience. "There's a champion inside of all of you, but you've got to be willing to prepare yourself and to push yourself. You will get knocked down, but you just have to get back up, brush yourself off, and keep fighting."