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I recently gave my first Punk Rope class here in Belgium.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Punk Rope, it is an exercise class created by my good friend, Tim Haft, that incorporates various doses of jumping rope, playground exercises, themes, costumes, and punk rock into an hour of fitness fun.  Who can resist such a heady combination?  Certainly not me!  Punk Rope is a chance for us old people to revisit the glorious days of recess, group games, and mean kids stealing your lunch money*.
*subject to availability and location

You don’t believe me?  Well, take a look at this:

Ok, so maybe there aren’t any bullies shaking you down in the toilet stall, but there may be zombies waiting in the wings for a chance to eat your brains.  Or pirates, prostitutes, policemen, Canadians…(help me, dear god, the Canadians are coming!)…the possibilities are endless!  As a Punk Rope instructor, you are free to carry your class into the depths of your imagination or, as Buzz Lightyear would put it, “To infinity…and beyond!”

I began my journey with Punk Rope and its incredible pack of human beings back in 2009.  A good friend and show buddy of mine,  Erin, invited me to her punk rock rope jumping class.  It was love at first hop.  Of course, back in those days I had no clue how to jump rope.  I started the class with the simple goal of trying not to self-flagellate (failed), and ended the class with the ability to sustain a short spurt of hops (score!).  Only double bounce of course, but still. For those of you new to rope jumping, don’t be discouraged.  It is a skill that requires practice (doesn’t practically everything?), but if you are diligent, you WILL get better.  This I know from experience.

Incorrigible ladies’ man and entrepreneur-extraordinaire, Ladies and Gents, I give you..Tim Haft


Punk Rope’s founder, Tim Haft, is a native New Yorker who is determined to put the fun back into fitness.  In 2004, after suffering a severe injury, Tim scoured the city in search of an exercise class that would help him get back into shape without it seeming like a foot-dragging chore.  Unable to find one, he created Punk Rope.  I count myself lucky to have met Tim.  He is a genuinely caring, creative, and all-around awesome individual.  He is also extremely community-oriented, in true punk rock spirit, and is on a mission to bring people together.   He has created three different classes over the years: Punk Rope, Beastanetics, and MoshFit, which all have monthly happy hours at local bars.  His MoshFit class even takes place IN A BAR, the incomparable Otto’s Shrunken Head, which makes it very easy to drink as many calories as you’ve lost directly after class.  Bottoms up!


21434_646306404762_1595421191_nIn addition to all the happy hours, Tim also organizes various food and drink tours, notably the neighborhood pizza crawls and, in the winter, hot chocolate crawls.  The hot chocolate stops are generally limited to two or three max, though, as after the 3rd or 4th cup the sugar starts to get to you, like, woah.  In terms of pizza, well, let’s just say that I come from a family of what we like to call “hoovers”.  Four slices, minimum, to play.  SO BRING THEM ON, BITCHES, BRING THEM ON.

The culmination of Tim’s community events (not counting the work he does with various schools in the fight against childhood inactivity), most assuredly, are the gloriously gruesome Punk Rope Games.  The Punk Rope Games take place annually and pit up to sixteen teams of four persons against one other, gladiator style.  You may die, but you will die fighting.  The Games consist of a variety of individual and team-based challenges, both with jump ropes and not, including:  double unders, crosses, long rope, partner “punk-ups” aka push-ups holding a ball between your heads (I kid you not), ass to grass (or deep squats), chicken toss, shuttle runs, and whatever else might strike Tim’s fancy (nothing is out of the question, I repeat, nothing).  Every team has costumes of some sort and a team jump song, complete with original choreography.  There are sponsors, prizes (gift certificates to local bars, athletic stores, or even chocolate stores), and festivities following the competition, so you can rub your victory in the other teams’ faces.

The infamous "Chicken Toss"
The infamous “Chicken Toss”
The infamous chickens





The Punk Rope Games were launched back in 2009.  The VII edition will take place in September.  I was lucky enough to have been involved in four PR Games, from 2010-2013.  Here’s a look back at the badass bunches of individuals I was honored to call my teammates.


“The Nor’beasters”


“The Missionaries”


“The Asian Contagion”


“Super Sauce”

As you can see, the Punk Rope Games are not only about competition and going for the glory.  They are also about FUN. And dressing up.  Costumes, especially messy, grizzly ones (at least in my book), are definitely part of the program.  When else can you be a bloody mess in the middle of summer?  Well, unless you were around the city during the summer of Sam in 1977, I’d say it’s a rare possibility, indeed.  I am extremely sad that I will be missing the 7th edition of the Punk Rope Games.  One day, my team will reunite and take back the championship cup.  Until then, my friends, be good to each other…and…PARTY ON, DUDES!

Visit Punk Rope if you are interested in learning more.

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