Perhaps the best part of the American Ninja Warrior community is that we're seeing so many local Ninja gyms pop up around the country. These come in all shapes and sizes, whether it's a local competition or just a friendly training course set up in a friend's back yard. But perhaps the best are the Ninja communities that are sprouting in support of kids.
One in particular is The Dojo, a Ninja gym located within Hoosier Heights, just outside of Indianapolis. Jay Haas, The Dojo instructor, runs about 3 ninja classes for kids a week at Hoosier Heights in Carmel, IN. The carefully controlled chaos pushes each student to stop, think, and plan their actions on the course.
The classes have between 5-10 students and take full advantage of Hoosier Heights' vast gym space. And don't think this is a boys' club.
"Some classes are 10 girls to 1 boy," shared Haas. "Girls make better ninjas. The first obstacle boys need to overcome is their ego."
Case in point is 17 year old Kit Hill, who's been training with Haas for the past 9 months. The self-confident young woman helps Haas teach both the kids and adult Ninja classes.
"It's like a giant playground. I get so much stronger but it doesn't seem like a work out, it's just fun. I make sure they (the students) gain something from it. They exercise well, or they at least have fun."
Check out Sam Larson, age 9, showing off some serious moves:
Each class perfectly matches the skills of each student. There are adventurous young souls, like Sam Larson, who are always seeking the next challenge. Yet Haas also patiently works with the students that are more trepidatious on the obstacles. No student is pushed beyond their limits, but they are encouraged to test their boundaries. The confidence blooms in them when they've finally taken a successful leap.
Haas is usually accompanied by one or two teaching assistants for the duration of the class. This allows the students to receive personal attention, and means there are more eyes watching out for safety. This is important, because one of the things learned quickly in a kids' Ninja class is that if it can be climbed, those kids will climb it, and they won't be waiting for instructions. You'll also learn that there's no point in trying to interview 9 and 10 year olds during their class. They're having way too much fun learning and leaping to have any time for a boring adult.
Learn more about Jay Haas and his Dojo at Hoosier Heights here. Don't let the kids have all the fun. They offer classes for adults as well.
Tell us about the Ninja community in your area. Know a great gym? Attending a class? Let us know in the comments below so we can share it with the Ninja world!