What an incredible time it is!
“Ninja” as it is collectively becoming known is bigger than ever. And I can’t express enough how blessed I feel to be a part of it. Having started one of the first dedicated Ninja training facilities in the region, I can tell you it’s been a ride! As CNA has grown and evolved, we find ourselves at a crossroad. At this junction, we stopped and asked ourselves, how do we really want to be involved in the community, and what is it that we stand for?
Over the last several years, I have met and worked with literally thousands of people. From adorable pre-schoolers, to upper-echelon Ninja Warrior competitors and everyone in between. I’ve been interviewed and featured in major media outlets, presented at schools, and guided those who’ve been beckoned by the siren call of the bright red buzzer. What started as a few obstacles in the corner of our tiny warehouse has become a mecca of sorts for the obstacle enthusiast. But I never really planned it that way, it just kind of happened. Sure, lots of hard work, blood-sweat-tears, etc. But now we are refocusing on our next evolution.
There are 3 main points I’d like to drive home today. First, I want to explain our training philosophy. Not so much the technical side, but rather the ethos that drives us in our approach to everyone regardless of age, ability, or experience level. Then, I’d like to share my perspective on the “State of the Ninja”, and what that means for the future of the gym and community at large. Finally, I’d like to formally introduce some of our new programs/services that we are launching this summer.
There is nothing new in terms of training. You can change the shape of a dumbbell, but 10 pounds is still 10 pounds. Fads, gizmos, pills, potions, powders, crazy diets all come and go, but at the end of the day what works is still what works-the BASICS. I could probably write a book on that concept alone, but the basics is where the results are.
The next “pillar” of our training is this: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. That can mean a number if things depending on the context, but in our case it refers to: 1. On the ninja course, you must slow down enough to do it right. Practice perfect technique slowly, once proficiency and eventually expertise is developed, the speed will come. 2. Another way to think about it is in terms of progression through the movements and skills. It takes time, it’s not a straight path, it’s a mountain with switchbacks, avalanches, grizzly bears and mountain lions. Figuratively, you might be in grabbing distance of the peak, and a rock can slip right out from under you feet, sending you tumbling all the way back to the bottom. Which leads us to our final point on training:
The obstacles we face in life are no different than those we face in the gym or on the course. The life lessons learned in the gym are some of the most valuable. We learn the value of being consistent, persistent, and dedicated. We learn about setting and working towards a goal. We learn to savor the sweet taste of victory, and sometimes we gag on the bitterness of defeat. It’s what we do after those things that truly matter. Do we turn tail and run? Give up and quit? Or do we adjust course, work on our weaknesses, and listen to our coach? The latter, duh.
I could go on for days on the subject of training mentality, but the key point is this: our training philosophy does not revolve around a dogmatic prescription of specific exercises or the latest and greatest shiny object. Rather we focus on setting and achieving goals, taking responsibility for your actions, building a solid character and work ethic that will spill over into your life.
Most importantly, and especially for our youth students, we are striving to make moving and exercise FUN. We aim to do this by making our services fun and engaging, AND…by modelling good behavior.
State and Future of the Ninja
Having spent the last decade in the fitness industry and being an enthusiast since childhood, I feel like I have a decent idea of what the future holds for this industry, and especially the Ninja world at large. Just a few years ago, there were no Ninja warrior gyms. I became a Ninja warrior gym almost by accident! However, recently we have seen more and more businesses pop onto the scene. Not only that, but Ninja Obstacles is becoming a sport in and of itself and independent of the American Ninja Warrior(™) TV show. The formation of Ninja leagues, large experience events, the growing sales of Ninja obstacles for home and commercial use, as well the spin-off shows around the world and here at home, tells me that Ninja is going to be here for a while. That’s great, but what does that mean? I don’t know exactly, but what I do know is that Ninja as a sport, while obscure now, is something that obstacle enthusiasts need to get behind. The next few years will be very interesting. It’s kind of like the wild west right now, there are a lot of competing elements trying to implement what they would like to see as Ninja Warrior played out as a legitimate sporting contest rather than a reality TV show. Long story short, Chicago Ninja Academy aims to provide a training environment where Ninjas of all levels can develop at a pace and to level they want.
Our goal is to provide a path for development for those who want to compete in Ninja Competitions, while still providing the fun, no-pressure, training environment that so many of you have grown to love. We aim to develop general athleticism and fitness, to make our students stronger and more resilient (and less injury prone), as well as hone the “Ninja-specific” skills needed to achieve individual goals/ participate in Ninja competitions.
In summary, the staff and coaches of CNA and I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. We look forward to guiding, witnessing, and celebrating the development of all of our students. So without further ado, allow me to hawk my wares.
New Programs and Offerings:
For more detailed information on any of these, click on the BIG BOLD WORDS!!! Before I get into sales mode, I just want to again, profusely thank everyone who has been a part of our Journey. CNA would not be the amazing place that it is without the wonderful people who have joined us over the years. I am truly humbled every time I see someone achieve what they thought was impossible or the joy on a kids face when they come into the gym. I am truly blessed.
Starting the week of June 11th!!!! The Kids COMPREP course is designed specifically for the kids that want to reach the next level. Classes/practices are 2X/week. Prep Course enrollment includes Unlimited Open gym!
This 4-week program is a fun, progressive course designed for kids who are brand new to CNA. Safety, obstacles, balance, strength, agility, and fun challenges will get kids comfortable in our ongoing rec program, or to transition into Competition program, and be able to safely use the gym during open times.
Open Gym Programs:
Not only are we a Ninja warrior gym, we are a well equipped strength and conditioning facility. Fully equipped with everything you need and nothing you don’t. Monthly memberships available! Please email us to set up your first visit.
During Ninja open gym, members will have access to all the obstacles in the gym space. Options include: monthly membership, drop-in, and punch-card pricing.