Is the Ninja Community even all that special?

Ninja Community

“Whoooooo go Aussie Ninja!”

I couldn’t even tell who has yelling for me anymore. It seemed to be everyone.

Minutes, hours, days passed while I was waiting for my green light. It was only 3 seconds, but the time between getting on stage and starting your run seems to take an eternity… and for myself, true as for everyone before me, and most likely everyone to run after me, that eternity was filled with support, love, cheering and encouragement from my fellow course-runners… the athletes in the Ninja Warrior community.

It’s a bizarre sport, this obstacle course racing.

While the Spartan races, Tough Mudders and other obstacle courses have been around for decades, Ninja Warrior competitions are still relatively new… and the community is a strange on indeed.

rockford - adamUnlike the other obstacle course races, at any one moment a Ninja Warrior competition has way more spectators than competitors. Mostly an entire crowd is focused on the sole athlete attempting the course.  This means every competitor has their moment, and truly, there are no winners or losers.  Sure, one person will have gotten further faster than anyone else… but it’s a sport on a spectrum. Luck absolutely plays a part, but it is a sport all about people challenging themselves… and those people that obviously rise to the challenge get the most cheering and the loudest support… even if they fall on the first obstacle.

Since there are no winners or losers, it means that there are no teams, and unlike any other sport I can think of… absolutely no me versus you.  I have no idea how it got to this point, but everyone cheers on everyone, and absolutely everyone chats about the best way to tackle an obstacle, giving away advice freely on different approaches to conquer the course.  It’s incredible to witness.  Athletes almost seem happiest when they personally do really well, which pushes someone else to move mountains to get further than them. I’ve seen numerous times the huge congratulations that people get when they finish the course, especially from the people who they’ve effectively now denied prize-money to.

Part of this mysteriously supportive community must be due to the complete lack of territory.  Great ninjas have appeared randomly from all over the place, and quickly became friends with everyone… so there was no time for regional competitiveness to develop.  Another part has to be due to social media.

Every second of every day, you can find ninjas supporting other ninjas on Instagram… commenting over a new achievement or trick they’ve posted. Often one ninja will put out a challenge, and everyone will go nuts trying it out.

#MuscleAllTheWayUp Challenge . Just #muscleup and end standing on top of the bar. Extra points if you want throw straight to both feet. @reallifeninja and @joemoravsky I bet you two can… and some other ninjas… ladies??? @universal_athlete who's got this overseas? . TAG @islandninja and use #MuscleAllTheWayUp Comment below if you think you got it or it's too hard. ____________________________________________________ #IslandNinja #ninjawarrior #ninjatraining #anw #americanninjawarrior #ninja #crossfit #challenge #training #calisthenics #motivation #ocr #fit #fitness #lol #muscleupchallenge #workout #athlete #anw9 #gripstrength #ninjaskills #stunts #play #rockclimbing #bouldering #parkour @ninjawarrioruk @xpaddicted @socalisthenics @superhumanspower @super_athletes @getbsf @spartanrace

A post shared by Grant Mccartney #IslandNinja (@islandninja) on

Grant threw out this little gem, which was then attempted all around the world.

This little competitiveness and support helps the entire community push itself to more and more physical achievements.  Ninjas (like most of the larger fitness community) often discuss their diets and overall health, to the discussion and support of others.  I’ve often thrown questions out on social media, and had a myriad of well-thought out and comprehensive answers…. which has helped me so many times with my own journey.  This community, which recognizes no boundaries, is an incredible place to help and be helped, which benefits everyone both emotionally and with their mental health.  I’ve had offers to sleep on people’s couches or to go stay with them from all over the world, people who I’ve never physically met but have spent so much time with online.  I know people who have gone through really rough times, and had this incredible community go massively out of their way to support them.  It’s beautiful to witness.

I’ve visited a lot of Ninja Warrior gyms, and without except I’ll be working on something and have a stranger come over and offer advice or encouragement… I can count on one hand the amount of conversations I had during the previous decade of #gymlife… and I was in the gym every day.  The amount of friends I’ve made since I’ve started training are numerous, and every single competition has been immensely rewarding, even when I’ve fallen disappointingly early.  This community looks after the physical health, the mental health and offers support and encouragement in a challenging environment like no other.

The television show American Ninja Warrior has gone a long way to creating this community, but I believe this creation was purely accidental.  The constant movement of the regional qualifier courses keeps the ninjas traveling and moving around, and doesn’t allow for territorial rivalries to develop.  The television created the spark, but the community took it upon itself to grow into the incredible movement it is today… check out this photo from the Ultimate Backyard Warrior competition?  Who couldn’t make a thousand friends in this kind of environment?



1 Comment

  1. Stephen Clark

    Super article.

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