For D’Jack, a professional DJ and fitness entrepreneur, moving to Beijing helped him find his life’s work. Between DJ gigs and teaching JINDAFIT, a high-intensity workout he created based on African dance, he talked with us about his unusual childhood and how he got here.
Music and dance have always been integral to D’Jack’s life. As a young teenager growing up in the Cameroon, he was gifted in entertaining; he could dance, sing and had a unique voice that led many people to ask him at an early age to host school performances and larger events. One of D’Jacks first paid MC jobs brought him up close and personal with some of the best DJs in his city. Working closely with these DJs he recalls “During my time MCing, I fell in love with turntables,”. The way the DJs mixed beats was like “magic,” to a young D’Jack, so he pursued it. True talent as a DJ is something you have, or you don’t, he believes. He remembers hearing people scream on the dance floor at his first solo show, when he unexpectedly mixed two unique songs together. “It’s something that you really have to have in you, to make someone scream on a dance floor,” he says.
Music was more than just a novelty, however. It was also a way to cope. Both D’Jack’s parents passed away before he was thirteen years old, leaving him to grow up with a distant uncle and aunt he did not feel a connection with. “Music saved my life,” he says about his challenging childhood. “Without music I would not be here.”
Before long he was scoring regular gigs as a DJ and working a series of odd jobs to support himself. At 18 D’Jack decided to pursue opportunities beyond Cameroon. Over the next few years he spent time in France and various countries in Central African before visiting Dubai – where he discovered his talents as a fitness instructor. While teaching fitness in Dubai and DJing on the side D’Jack was offered a unique opportunity to DJ in Shanghai. After a few shows he decided to make the move permanent and has never looked back.
For D’Jack, who had always imagined China to look like something out of a Jackie Chan film, the culture was a surprise. “I was shocked,” he says. “I didn’t expect to see China like this.” For one thing, he was surprised to find opportunities for music and dancing.
The Story of JINDAFIT
Shortly after moving to Bejing to try another city, D’Jack decided to explore what options there were to be a fitness instructor in Beijing. One day he stopped into a gym to try out a step class. He did not enjoy it. He found the class impersonal and disconnected. The instructor, he said, didn’t even look at him. “I walked out of there, I was like, ‘no. I need to create something.’ He set out to put his own spin on a work out. He created his dance and fitness workout called JINDAFIT a high-intensity workout based on African music and dance moves, the very same music and rhythms that shaped his childhood and made him feel alive.
Traditional African dance lends itself naturally to a workout, D’Jack explains. This is because there is a lot of repetition to each move, and it targets the hips, core and shoulders. Coincidentally this also makes it a great workout for those who work at a desk all day, which is obviously common in Bejing, although there’s no set target market for it.
“If you like fitness, if you like to move your body in a different way … JINDAFIT is what you need,” he says.
To introduce his new movement to Beijing D’Jack started by approaching local gyms and fitness centres and offering to do a demo class. The results were positive and JINDAFIT’s following grew. D’Jack now travels the world teaching JINDAFIT and has grown the brand further by offering instructor certifications and a growing Atleisure clothing line called ‘JINDAFIT Atleisure’. One unique foundation that is personal to D’jack’s JINDAFIT brand is his dedication to uplift people’s spirits. His program trains people to take care of their total body, and overall wellness and to pay it forward. A portion of all proceeds gained from his classes are donated to charity.
“People say we cannot change the world … and I say, no, we can actually. We just have to try. Because what do you lose by trying? You lose nothing.”