LIFE OF A GENT
An original series exploring distinct gentleman in contemporary society.
There are certain conversations in life that resonate so strongly with our sense of purpose that we can’t forget. Spending a fractional moment in time with Mike Martin was both invigorating and enlightening; leaving me with a feeling of familiarity that I did not expect. It embodied the meeting of someone who understands and exhibits the attributes you both envision and strive to become. Extreme work ethic and undeniable devotion to his craft is evident by the enthusiastic way Mike both carries himself and discusses topics related to his passion. An undeniable expert at discussing days of old, he understands the artistic zeitgeist of those before us and implements them in a way that only a true historian can masterfully do.
Mike Martin, who goes by the moniker “PopRockz,” is a contemporary artist who specializes in the field of dance. A purveyor of many styles, Mike found his roots in “locking” (a funk style of dance created in 1969) which helped to mold the unique way that he adds a noteworthy flare on his everyday style of dress. Going past the coveted title of dancer, he is a modern archivist of the roots and beginnings of various dance styles. An expert at his craft, he is an avid traveler around the world; learning the history and movements from the founders of iconic dance styles. A teacher in his own right, when asked about his obsession with attaining the utmost knowledge about the history of a dance style, he casually remarks, “I want to teach the right way.” Without an understanding of the chronicles of these other dancers, you can’t provide a thorough and impactful class. The passion for knowledge that he exudes is infectious, and I found myself determined to be relentless in understanding this remarkable man.
Growing up in Whitmore Village, Wahiawa, Mike speaks as a man who is extremely well versed in understanding the complications that life can throw at you. A stroll through his hometown provided a microscopic view of the struggles he has conquered. “They used to find bodies in those pineapple fields” Mike solemnly uttered while driving thru the rural areas of Whitmore Village. The dilapidated houses were plentiful showing the deterioration and age of the slums from which Mike has had his humble beginnings. In addition to his rough origins, being deployed while serving his country in the United States Air Force showed a side of humanity that he believes none should see. These copious challenges would shock any, but Mike is never seen without a trademark smile on his face. A pronounced virtuoso at vanquishing negativity, he has an exceptional knack for employing a positive warmth that changes the atmosphere of anywhere he travels.
When asked for his definition of a gentleman, Mike elegantly answered in the suave manner that can only be seen in a true practitioner of the gentleman lifestyle. “A gentleman is classy and respectful. He just looks good man!” says Mike. Further than this notion though, the concept of “commanding presence” is what Mike truly advocates as the crucial aspect that defines a true gent. Both desirable and breathtaking, a gentleman can enter a room and become the center of attention; yet he doesn’t acknowledge or revel in it. To explain Mike says, “A gentleman looks the part and is extremely chivalrous; but not just for romantic interests. He has a deep respect for people, and shows it in a way that is subtle. Matter of fact, a gentleman leaves an impression once he walks in and even allows strangers to have their own sense of empowerment in themselves. A gentleman is sexy!” Mastery of the hallmark signs of a gentleman is clearly evident in the way Mike confidently describes a gent.
The Minimalistic Gent recognizes Mike “PopRockz” Martin is a remarkable individual that fully embodies the attributes of a modern gentleman. Despite grappling with his rough circumstances and becoming the intellectual and hard working man that he is today, Mike is an inspiring testament to the willpower of determined individuals. The ambiance that he sets within a room is extensive, and his work ethic is an undeniable insight on the staggering determination he has to accomplish goals. Without a doubt, he is a leader that will remarkably inspire a whole generation of dancers, and his thirst for knowledge leaves him in an outstanding position to leave an unforgettable impact on any he meets!