Joining All Movement (JAM)

About Joining All Movement (JAM)

Open since summer 2012, the Joining All Movement Center (JAM) in Reseda, CA—a new, expanded incarnation of the former White Lotus Martial Arts Center in Northridge—is dedicated to bringing a diversity of movement disciplines together. JAM's open gym sessions are attended by novices through elite-level pros in martial arts tricking and cinematic martial arts, Parkour and freerunning, bboying/bgirling, and more. JAM also offers an eclectic selection of classes such as Tumbling, Tricks for Dancers, and Aerial Arts. The gym's equipment includes an actual airtrick (not airtrack), the first in the United States!

As Hollywood stunt professionals and elite athletes in the arts, JAM co-owners Travis Wong, Jake Huang, and Aaron Toney know how hard it can be to find space to train in some movement disciplines, especially once you reach a high level. It's part of their vision to welcome displaced fellow artist/athletes to a gym where all forms of movement coexist.

JAM, says Travis, is "a home for everyone that doesn't have a home."

A gym where all forms of movement coexist.

You can bring your stilts or circus wheel to JAM. You won't be the first. Athletes who've dropped in to train include performers in the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil circus troupe. As long as you're not damaging the facility or endangering people, you can use any of your equipment during open gym. And feel free to bring your own music (for example, on an iPod).

As of this writing, JAM's open gym sessions typically draw 20 to 50 athletes. There's a cooperative vibe on the gym floor, where pairs of friends can be seen practicing together and trickers gather to take turns performing tricking sequences. Like bboys and bgirls cyphering, trickers train in a spirit of community, supporting and learning from one another.

To accommodate diverse activities, JAM's main training area is split into sections and equipped with specialty flooring:

  • Palmer Spring Floor: Excellent for acrobatics—tumbling, tricking, Parkour, etc.
  • High-Density Rubber Floor: Great for martial arts and kickboxing.
  • All-Purpose Wood Floor: Well suited to dance, tai chi, yoga, and more.

Also installed in the main training area is a 22'-long foam pit with runways and an entrance from an Aussie string bed trampoline.

Sometimes JAM brings out its 20' by 35' airtrick, a custom inflatable floor specially designed for tricking practice! JAM's is the first airtrick in the United States: It's much wider than the 6'-wide airtracks found at other gyms, and it doesn't require a blower running constantly.

Hip-hop classes are held in a studio adjacent to the main training area. JAM's Hip Hop Dance Elements is beginning level and requires no previous experience. Taught by industry pros, the class focuses on technique fundamentals of different styles within hip hop.

Joining All Movement has created an innovative Tricks for Dancers class, primarily targeted to dance industry professionals who want to amp up their repertoire. Tricks for Dancers covers the specific tricking moves dancers need for auditions, videos, etc., and teaches how to incorporate them into dance choreography.

Martial Arts Tricking (Tricking)

Martial arts tricking is a specialty at Joining All Movement. Combining aspects of martial arts, gymnastics, and bboying/bgirling in a unique discipline, tricking is such a young sport that new moves are still being invented every day. As of 2013, there are only about a dozen top expert-level trickers in the world. But some of them are right here in Los Angeles!

Tricking originated on the martial arts competition circuit, where competitors perform four types of forms: traditional, open, extreme, and musical. A form is a standard, predetermined series of moves. However, all but the traditional forms may incorporate nontraditional movements chosen by the martial artist.

Competitors wanted to show off by adding flashy tricks to their forms! However, many martial arts competitions are held in hotel ballrooms with brutally hard floors (solid concrete under thin carpeting). Using a forceful punching motion with both feet (as in a gymnastics round-off) to launch into a visually exciting trick proved to be painful and too hard on the body.

So the sport of tricking evolved to allow martial artists to perform beautiful, showy tricks while minimizing the impact on their bodies!

As a way to channel power and momentum into a jump without punching down with both legs, trickers developed one of the sport's distinguishing elements, swing-through moves. To perform one, a tricker lands on one leg after the previous trick and swings the other leg strongly in an arc, initiating and generating momentum into the swing-through move to follow.

Because running on concrete puts so much stress on the body, trickers don't use preparatory runs (such as gymnasts use to initiate a vault or a tumbling pass). So although it's a goal in tricking to combine as many tricks as possible in a sequence, tricking combinations can be performed in a space just six feet wide. In addition, trickers can perform sequences in place (without traveling), within a two-foot radius, or while moving in a circle.

Tricking has been embraced by the entertainment industry (after all, its purpose is to be exciting to watch!). So martial arts tricking's compact format now provides a big advantage: a tricker can readily perform an exciting, full-out tricking sequence in a small audition room.

Industry Involvement

Joining All Movement's owners are all active in the Los Angeles entertainment industry. In fact, the very day after JAM opened its doors, Travis was unexpectedly called away for seven weeks for the filming of Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters. Then Jake and Aaron were summoned to the sets of other movies. Still, they made the situation work! Travis supervised the final arrangement of gym apparatus via webcam.