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Going from Ninja fan to Ninja athlete is a pretty tall order

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But there are plenty of Ninja opportunities out there to help make it happen.

NBC/David Becker

What do you do in the American Ninja Warrior off-season?

Stage 4 has been conquered, and we’re pumped up and ready for more! And just like that…the season is over and it’s a bit harder to find new Ninja action on our screens. We have a silver lining though—the off-season is the perfect time to make the transition from Ninja fan to Ninja athlete.

In case you’ve missed it, Season 12 applications are being accepted now!

Who has already applied? Who’s in the process of filming something amazing? And who thinks it sounds like a wild, crazy, and fun ride, but doesn’t have quite enough Ninja experience and training under their belt? If you’re in that last category, there’s still time. The last day to submit applications is usually just after the new year. Of course, it’s always best to apply as soon as you can, but if you need more time, it’s available.

Whether you’re a newbie, a casual Ninja, a sensational rookie, or a hard-core, dedicated veteran Ninja, you can always use more training time, right? Lucky for you, the sport of Ninja is growing, and there are new Ninja gyms popping up all the time!

Drew Drechsel now has three Real Life Ninja Academies in Connecticut, with one more opening any day now in New York. Backyard Ninja Kids’ dad, Scott Behrends, recently opened Ninja U in Iowa. The Chicago area is absolutely filled with gyms: Ultimate Ninjas (three gyms, plus one in St. Louis), Windy City Ninjas, Chicago Ninja Academy, and MuscleBall Ninjas, to name a few! Ninja Nation arenas have come on the scene in the last couple years in Colorado and Texas.

You get the picture: Whether you live in the East, the West, or anywhere in between, it’s getting easier and easier to find a Ninja gym near you.

Scott Behrends

Not only are Ninja gyms more plentiful, Ninja leagues are too! Not familiar with Ninja Leagues? They’re pretty much what you’d expect—a series of Ninja competitions, leading up to a championship event. It turns out though, that there can be a whole lot of variables in Ninja competitions, because every league has their own set of rules.

The National Ninja League (NNL), run by Chris Wilczewkski, is in its fifth season, and has been around around the longest. Close behind, in its fourth season, is the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA), run by Bob Clark. Until recently, these were the two leagues that Ninjas competed in.

Now, there are a few more options. Athlete Warrior Games (AWG) started in the Midwest, and has grown quickly since it began in 2017. A brand new league, The Federation of International Ninjas (FINA) will be holding its first ever competition in New York in November. The UNX, an adult (13+) Ninja competition series, had it first competition in September. And just in case you’re not drowning in Ninja leagues at this point, there’s one more league that we should note, The Next Level Ninja Games. This is the only league that doesn’t allow Ninjas to watch the competitors until their turn on the course is over. They even have a quarantine room!

All of the above leagues have competitions in multiple states, but many states have even started their own leagues, like the Colorado Ninja League and the Texas Ninja League.

Some Ninjas pick one league, and stick with it. Other Ninjas dabble (or dominate!) in all the leagues. (If there’s a league we missed, please let us know in the comments.)

With so many gyms, so many leagues, and so many Ninja events and activities in general, there’s opportunity everywhere! Pick a gym. Pick a league. Or do both. Go get stronger. Get faster. Get smarter on the course.

We want to see you on season 12 of American Ninja Warrior!

NBC/David Becker