An accountant from Prince George's County is using a patented jump rope routine to firm the body and heal the soul. Kenny Strachan's Jump A Ropics, touted on network and cable television, is more than an exercise routine to catchy tunes. It is a vehicle for a healthier lifestyle and a way to find inner peace.

Jump A Ropics combines elements of gymnastics, basketball, boxing, kinesiology, and yoga to help promote fitness and coordination. Strachan jumps on a mat he made, with a rope he developed, to music he arranged. He jumps forward, backward, laterally, and over and on top of a balance beam. He whips the rope through the air at a swifter rate than most people -- 180 rounds per minute vs. 140 -- and emphasizes jumping backward, which aids in balance and coordination by keeping the shoulders square.

But it is much more than just fancy footwork. Strachan is debunking misconceptions and creating attitudes, just by jumping rope to music.

"I have two left feet but it doesn't matter," he said. "I still can't dance without the rope, but just give me one and watch out."

As a child in Rochester, N.Y., Strachan was attacked by a gang and kicked in the throat. He had problems with his thyroid for two years until it was surgically removed.

Strachan since has been bucking the odds and doing things his way. He never joined a gang or took drugs. He was the only one of six children to go to college. Those experiences contributed to his decision to leave a steady, well-paying job as an accountant to become an exercise entrepreneur.

For Strachan, jumping rope is a symbol of what he's been doing all his life: making things right by doing them his way. "Everything I do has a purpose," he said.

When he jumps with children, he tells them stories about Jump A Ropic Man, based on his life. "A lot of these stories are my life: My brothers are addicted to drugs, my father's an alcoholic, friends died," he said. "I gave up a pretty good career but what's most important is not to fall in the trap of working and worrying about keeping the status quo. I want to break away from the tired mode of doing things."

After studying his movements and muscle development while jumping for 10 years, Strachan began to study athletes.

"When I saw boxers jump {rope}, I thought they were wasting their time," he said. "They were jumping rope stationary, but in the ring, they're constantly moving. I watched each sport and made notes."

Strachan formulated a set of jump-roping principles for each sport, 13 in all. To develop explosive speed for sprinters he includes a set of deep jumps, stressing the quadriceps. For basketball players, extensive work on the calves helps develop quickness and jumping ability. Last year he approached Larry Mangino, assistant men's basketball coach at George Washington, about a preseason conditioning routine for the team.

"We continued it in-season, which is rare," said Mangino. "Usually, once practice starts on October 15, time constraints are such that you have to practice basketball, but we were so sold, we stayed with it.

"Our rebounding was much better, our shot blocking improved. Our conditioning was better. How much can be attributed to Kenny's program it's hard to say, but I've gotten feedback from a lot of different people who said it was the best-conditioned George Washington team in years."

Make no mistake, Strachan is marketing himself and his techniques hard. He hopes to sell mats, ropes, tapes, videos and books. But, as with everything else attached to jump rope in Strachan's life, there is more to it than meets the eye.

"My father and I were never close; he was never around," said Strachan. "Through the years, I yearned whenever I saw Boy Scouts and I couldn't be in them; I wanted to go fishing with Pop and we never did. So it means a lot, the moments, they're very important. My little girl is my heart. If anything, I'm doing this for the freedom to be with her."

He is coordinating activities with the Montgomery County Executive Task Force for Wellness for Youth.

"Kenny wants his jump roping to be a commercial venture but if it's marketed and made to look as attractive as Nintendo, maybe the kids will switch," said Carl Noyes, a member of the task force. "It's a lifestyle, cultural thing. . . . Kids sit inside with Nintendo and get fat and out of shape. Jump rope is an alternative to drug use, sitting around eating and drinking."

"Hopefully, parents will do it with the kids," said Strachan. "If a kid sees his father {drinking beer} on the couch, then that's all he knows. You realize all that you're seeking is right in front of you."