Soccer games, gymnastics meets, football scrimmages, Tae Kwon Do tournaments …and Ninja competitions? Did I just say, Ninja? OK, don’t picture the sword rearing black cloaked kinds, but instead picture elite athletes that conquer obstacles using specific skills and techniques.
Whatever their interest, support it, love it and help sculpt it!
Movement in our little ones is just as important as learning their A, B, C’s. Keeping their hearts healthy through wholesome foods and physical activity will lead to healthy choices for their mind, body, and spirit.
So, where does one learn how to Ninja?
Let me introduce you to Warrior Tech OCR in the heart of Morrisville. It’s a bubbling mecca of equipment to climb, swing, jump, leap and run on, strategically designed to offer courses for both kids and adults to test their skills. Think American Ninja Warrior scaled down to a version suited for beginner to intermediate that caters to families looking to get fit and healthy…in a more unique way.
As one of the owners, I thrive on adventure with my family and we regularly spend weekends traveling to run Spartan races. My kids love tackling obstacles in a race setting as well as on the course at ours and neighboring Ninja Facilities. With our goal to be fit and healthy as a whole family our main focus, we built our place paying particular attention to the Kids Program, knowing budding Ninjas would soon be on the loose grasping for a place to train.
To build a fabulous Kids Program, you need a fabulous Kids Program Director! I would like to introduce you to Coach Justin, our Chief Kid Wrangler! His expertise in coaching, knowledge of the body, experience in Ninja Warrior and Obstacle Course Racing, and years of working with kids in multiple sports created the perfect formula to get our doors open.
How about a little Q&A, shall we?
RMB: Movement, especially nowadays is so important for kids. I personally think whatever movement they do is beneficial! But, specifically, what are the benefits of obstacle course training for kids?
Coach Justin: There are a ton of benefits, but I will try to shorten my answer to the three things I feel are the biggest. First, we know so much more about the importance of being well rounded in our fitness, but a lot of kids are now playing one sport year round. This creates imbalances in the body and limits mobility. Obstacle course training works every part of your body and encourages movement through ranges of motion that don’t get trained in other sports. Second, this sport sets you up with a great foundation for their other sports. Not just because of teaching so many different movements, but creating strength through bodyweight exercises. The most important area that it helps strengthen is your core. A strong core helps with body control, creates strength in multiple directions and rotational movements, and helps with posture.
Third, at our facility, we teach both the mental and physical aspects of obstacle course training and competition. We have created five pillars based on our foundation of both character and athleticism. Mobility in terms of being well rounded in both character and athleticism, Adaptability in your athletics as well as your regular life situations, Fortitude in physical endurance as well as mental and emotional grit, Dexterity in finding creative ways to move your body or figure out ways to solve problems, and Coordination through using your body parts all together or working with others as a team.
RMB: American Ninja Warrior, Ultimate Beast Master… Team Spartan or even Gladiators play nonstop on our TV! My kids are obsessed. I really hope I’m not the only one! Much to many people’s surprise, this sport has been around for a while, but NBC has brought it to the limelight! Do you think this is the reason for its popularity or are there other reasons?
Coach Justin: Those shows and the athletes involved in them are a huge reason for the popularity of this sport. The community surrounding ninja warrior and obstacle course racing training and competitions is the best that I have seen in sports. I have been around a lot of sports both as a coach and an athlete and the people in those two sports are more supportive and helpful than any of the others. That combined with the accessibility of the athletes makes this sport different than the classic sports because you can talk to and learn from your heroes.
On top of all that, the sport is fun and different. It mimics play. We just made it bigger, more fun, more difficult, and safer. We can make working out fun for both adults and kids, so we often get families to do it together, which helps keep it popular for any age group.
RMB: When my oldest was a wee one I vowed he would only participate in Yoga. Yup, only non-contact and safe sports for him! Errr, so now he’s a Ninja. At some point, my plan veered way off course. OK Coach Justin, share the risks with us. We get asked all the time, so let’s get it over with. Lay it on us!
Coach Justin: The risks are similar to most play situations with the added factors of inexperience and magnitude of the movements. Luckily we can mitigate those factors with technique, body control, and practice. At our facility, we coach falls and rolls along with specific techniques for each of the obstacles. The familiarity with each obstacle and the understanding of how to react if you do fall is huge for not just keeping the kids safe, but also for giving them the confidence to try things they would previously be afraid to attempt. We also preach body control on a regular basis and implore the kids to consistently keep themselves in body positions that are more conducive to safe falls. Oh, and we have a ton of mats.
RMB: OK, so we know Warrior Tech is a place and it offers training…and camps? And Competitions? And events? Tell me. Tell me everything.
Coach Justin: The most popular for kids is the camps. Our camps a great full day experience where kids learn everything from our pillars, to nutrition, to anatomy. The camp week culminates in a ninja competition on a course that the kids help create keeping all skill levels in mind.
Kids classes are my personal favorites because we get to break down the obstacles into drills and get into the nitty-gritty of technique and train specifics. We take a few obstacles each day and turn them into stations in order to get the kids a great workout… and they think they are just playing on stuff.
Our competitions are an awesome and fun way to see the results of the hard work the kids have been putting in every month. It challenges them on the obstacles and techniques we have worked on, as well as seeing how they adapt to new things they have yet to see. It also challenges me to make sure that I continue to grow with the amazing abilities of these incredible young athletes. We have a stage one that includes things all ages and ability levels can enjoy, then a stage two that lets the athletes that qualify see where they stand and push themselves to their limits.
In addition to those consistent and continual offerings, we offer special events. For those, we can offer class type instruction, open rig time, or structured team building instruction. We also offer birthday parties in less structured, but still safe, environment.
Soccer games, gymnastics meets, football scrimmages, Tae Kwon Do tournaments …and Ninja competitions. Period. It’s no longer a question, but a statement. Ninja is a sport and its loved by many for all it has to offer. This sport brings our family together, offers a supportive community and launched a business I can’t wait to open the doors for every morning. Our tagline below says it all …