Affiliate or Do Our Own Thing? The Night The Jungle Alliance Was Born

We had our own ideas from the start.

Our humble beginnings saw us using parks around Sydney to experiment with our own style of training. Influenced by many fields – BJJ, weightlifting, Thai boxing, Crossfit, calisthenics – we created unique programs (not all of them good) and ran with our ideas for a solid two to three years. 

This was a valuable time for us. We had a small, yet loyal following who wilingly threw themselves into the fire. 

We were creating our own style. Our own approach, that would become the flavour of ‘the Jungle Brothers’

It wasn’t until we opened our first gym that we would consider jumping from the path we were carving, over to something already established… 

Our first gym: Jungle Brothers Strength and Movement

We took over a struggling Crossfit gym and renamed it Jungle brothers Strength and Movement. We bought the gym under the premise it had a small group of members. This was good for us. Although we were hard-headed in doing our own thing, we figured the only logical step was to affiliate with Crossfit so we could satisfy the existing members, and maybe win-back some of the previous ones. We had our own values and things we wanted to explore outside of the Crossfit realm, but we figured we could continue to do both of those things over time. 

The thing was… The gym had NO members.

They’d all been burned by the previous owners and the place we just purchased was tarnished within the local community (news to us, at the time). We were in a tricky spot. At the time this was stressful, as we had ZERO income (we had not anticipated this) and no real idea of how to proceed. We pushed forward with the Crossfit affiliation. Seemed like a good idea.

Crossfit rejected our application. 

Fuck me. Would you believe that? They rejected OUR application? We didn’t even want it that bad!

When reviewing our application they had done a search on our address and stumbled onto the website of the previous owners. Those cats were not affiliated and had been operating illegally, and Crossfit assumed this was us. We promptly informed them of the actual situation and once the picture was clear they suggested to resubmit our application. They would process quickly and approve it. Their review process took around 4 weeks. 

This 4 week period would change the direction of our business, forever. 

Are we actually Crossfit, or are we something else? 

The time in waiting for the review to come through gave us a valuable opportunity to reflect. We held a meeting with the three owners – myself, Tee and Paul. We sat in the gym late on night after classes with a simple directive 

“Write up everything on the whiteboard that Jungle Brothers IS” 

The ideas was – once we’re done if the board looked like Crossfit, then we’d become Crossfit. If what was on the whiteboard did not look like Crossfit, we’d carve our own path.

Robust. Strength. Environment. Well rounded physicality. Mobility. Grappling. Nutrition. Fight. Primal movement. Locomotion. Pain free. Weightlifting. Energy system development. Touch. Jiu Jitsu. Breathing. Cold exposure. Muay Thai. Ancestral fitness. Food production. Tribe. Irregular object manipulation. Sustainability. Self defence. Capable. Power production. Mental health. Education… 

The words on the white board kept coming, and as we went deeper, the picture became clearer:

We were definitely not Crossfit. 

This is the night the true foundation of Jungle Brothers, and the Jungle Alliance was born. From this day on we would continue to carve our own path. 

PS. In the days following we received a letter from Crossfit. Our application had been approved. We threw that letter in the bin and never looked back. 

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