ULTIMATE MMA | www.ultimatemmamag.com [ industry profile ]
JESUS DIDN’T TAP
BY JASON DAVID FRANK WITH KAREN WILHELMSEN | PHOTOS BY JUSTIN TRAPP AND FIGHTERPORTRAITS.COM
FIND OUT WHO (A FORMER POWER RANGER) AND WHAT’S
(CHRISTIANITY) BEHIND THIS NEW EDGY, POSITIVE” CLOTHING LINE
Talk about moving up a ladder. Jason Frank started in the martial arts at the age of four at Red Dragon Karate under Shihan Louis D. Casamassa and became a junior instructor at age 12.
By the time he was 18, he was a second-degree black belt, and he eventually bought the same school in which he started his training.
From there, it was television and stardom on “The Power Rangers,” and today he’s the owner/CEO of Jesus Didn’t Tap, a new MMA clothing line that is turning heads and flying off the racks like it is going out of style.
In the following story, Frank explains how the clothing line all came about. — KW
FROM RAGS COME RICHES
We just wanted to come up with an edgy, good, positive clothing line. Nothing that’s negative. Something that is positive in the sport.
Once the name got out there, orders started coming in. You don’t even understand the orders. We get e-mails about how this stuff has changed people’s lives. How they rediscovered their faith.
Some of the e-mails I get are incredible. My customers are awesome, and they really care about my brand. It’s just kind of a new industry in itself, and I wasn’t prepared for that.
It’s been good, a little overwhelming to be honest. I’m happy and blessed at the same time.
BEHIND THE BRAND
I try to keep everything neutral. I don’t want to push religion down anyone’s throat. At the same time, with Jesus Didn’t Tap, you can take that meaning any way you want it as long as it gets the name out.
I get this question a lot: “Oh, you’re using Jesus as a business thing.”
The bottom line is there was a guy named Jesus Christ, and he obviously went through all the things he went through.
The whole concept of the line was me and a friend sitting around saying, “Jesus didn’t quit,” and boom, Jesus Didn’t Tap came up. To tap means he would quit, so he didn’t tap.
There are different interpretations of the T-shirts. It’s kind of crazy. Overall, there’s a lot of controversy because we are the first Christian-based MMA clothing line, and we happen to have one of the strongest messages.
I want to open Jesus Didn’t Tap Jiu-Jitsu schools. I would like to open 10 or so in lower-income cities. I want to have programs for kids and keep them off the streets.
I’ve been involved with martial arts since I was four. I’m a sixth-degree black belt. If it weren’t for karate, I don’t know where I’d be today, [so I want to give back].
Besides this, I have a couple more things in mind … like women’s shirts for breast cancer.
People run ideas by me constantly.
So this is a clothing line to help people out, not just to help me out. It’s helped me through all that I’ve been through in the past year and a half. Whether things are going good or things are going bad it’s just what you gotta do.
I’m a warrior and a trooper, and I work through it. There are a lot of things I want to do with it. It’s just a matter of time.
The Writer: Karen Wilhelmsen is a journalism student at the University of California, Irvine.
• Jason Frank started the martial arts at the age of four at Red Dragon Karate;
• Frank became a junior instructor at age 12;
• By 18, he was a second-degree black belt;
• Eventually, Frank bought the school;
• Today he owns Jesus Didn’t Tap clothing line;
• He recently signed with suckerpunchent.com.
Power Ranger Past
“The Power Rangers”? I would tell you that my experience was great. The show touched a lot of people.
The most interesting thing about being a Power Ranger is that some of today’s fighters know me from that show, so I’m thinking, “Wow, man. I’m reaching these young fighters who used to watch the show.”
Maybe it [being on the show] got others into the martial arts. I think I was able to reach a lot of people through a lot of positive things, like through the D.A.R.E. public education program. Now it just continues.
The reason I’ve been behind the scenes for almost two years is I don’t want to be in front of the scenes. I’m not the guy who says, “Look who I am” or “Look what I’ve done.” The product needs to sell itself. Jesus is such a powerful name that I want to step way, way behind him.
MMA’s Positive Side
One of my little girls, who is five years old, watches iCarli, and they have talked about mixed martial arts on the show.
So I think, “Wow, my 5-year-old daughter loves to watch mixed martial arts.”
There’s so much cussing, foul language and bad sportsmanship out there that I wanted to put something positive in the sport.
When she says, “Jesus Didn’t Tap daddy,” it’s something positive.