Welcome to another Aussie Ninja interview! The true beauty of Ninja Warrior is that is requires such a huge cross section of skillsets, and so everyone tackles their training in a completely different way. A huge part of that training is training for competitions… and one of the most impressive year-long Ninja competitions in the world is right here in Australia… it’s the Ninja Challenge League, at the Ninja Academy in Perth.
We’ve got The Commissioner Mark Ravi to get us pumped for 2018!
The Commish, so excited to have you for this interview! The new website (https://www.ninjachallengeleague.com/) is so impressive. A lot of the US comps continually change their schedule and it’s super easy to miss nearby comps because they just weren’t listed when you last looked. Was it hard to lock everything in at the start of the year? Will any more comps be added throughout the year?
Hey Adam – super stoked to be talking to you! I’m glad you liked the new website – a lot of people don’t know this, but while Ninja Academy was first opening up I was finishing off a Master of Communication Management which had a web design component, so it was awesome to be able to design the site in a way that was functional and intuitive to avoid the problems you listed. It ended up being a lot more work than I anticipated but hearing positive feedback makes the extra effort worth it. Locking in the schedule at the start of the year was huge for me, I felt that ninja events should be something people mark in their calendar and train for, not just something people do on a whim and that meant being super organised on my end. I was lucky that some awesome gym owners from around Australia made it really easy to plan out the year. That said, I’ve left a few open slots for late submissions – the crew from South Australia has been pretty vocal about wanting a local qualifier so I’m going to keep working towards providing an option for them and the same can be said for the Queensland region.
What an amazing year 2017 was – we grew from a series of qualifiers and a Final to a fully-fledged league, we had more than 70 talented locals participate in the regular season, more than 20 interstate visitors in our Finals and two awesome Americans, headlined by the man himself, Drew Drechsel. A massive thanks to everyone who made the league possible in 2017, now on to some announcements for 2018! The NCL Finals will return on November 3 & 4, 2018, with greatly improved prize pool of up to $12,500 so mark the date in your calendar and follow the NCL on Facebook for more details on how to qualify. Happy New Year everyone, we look forward to seeing you #proveyourmoves in the NCL this year 😀😀😀
Really excited there are so many Interstate Qualifiers this year… what was the thought process behind including your more Eastern friends? Is it a consolation prize to make up for our lack of glorious beach sunsets?
We were lucky enough to have more than 20 East Coast ninjas compete in the NCL Finals 2017, but the majority of them had to fly over to Perth to qualify throughout the year which meant they were having to fly over twice to be a part of the Finals. This meant some of the best ninjas in Australia were facing a pretty significant financial hurdle to be involved with the NCL, so my goal for this year was to provide enough opportunities to qualify in their home states to keep the league accessible and ideally at least double the number of East Coast ninjas in our national Finals event (and give those poor Eastern ninjas exposure to our glorious sunsets for a few days at least).
How important is the NCL for ninjas who want to get onto the big show?
Personally, my whole motivation for starting the NCL came after a disappointing appearance on the first season of Australian Ninja Warrior – I realised that being on the show felt no different than running our local competitions, but lack of local competition opportunities meant I was still pretty green with ninja competition, so I wanted to provide more regular access to competition so people could better prepare themselves for what they would face on the big stage.
The NCL played a huge part in my training, it meant I was constantly testing my current ability level and doing obstacles under pressure, which was huge for my confidence.
When we were deciding when to hold the NCL Finals, we decided on a month out from the start of December so that ninjas could not only test themselves against the best in the country (and the world, with the inclusion of Drew Drechsel last year), but have enough time to address any weaknesses that were exposed in our Finals event. We like to think it made a huge difference for the ninjas that competed in the NCL, but we won’t know how they went on Australian Ninja Warrior until the next season airs.
Will you be competing in the NCL yourself this year? What are your personal ninja goals for 2018?
Competing in the NCL again this season will definitely be a priority for me this year, when I was setting up the league, I wanted to structure it in such a way that there was no advantage to running the league when competing in it so that I could participate without compromising its integrity.
So the courses are announced in advance (except for Finals) and the rules are written in such a way that there’s minimal grey area to avoid any bias with officiating runs.
As far as goals are concerned, last year my goal was to finish in the top 10 in the regular season and finish ahead of my brother in the regular season, which I achieved, but after a brain fart on Stage One last year, I have now fallen on the Peg Board in the Finals for three straight years, so my goal is simple – hit the buzzer in Stage One of the Finals!
I’m not at all asking you to play favourites, I would never do that to a Commish… but are there any up and coming new ninjas we should look out for in the NCL in 2018?
One of the great things about the NCL is that it’s open for anyone with talent to enter and dominate, so you can get complete unknowns making a name for themselves in the ninja community.
If I had to pick one up and coming ninja to keep an eye on in 2018, it would have to be Perth local Cam D’Silva – he’s only been doing ninja training for a few months but is already an absolute weapon, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he finished on top of the NCL ladder this year!
If people want to keep on top of all the NCL excitement, what buttons and/or should they click on?
Keep checking the NCL website and sign up to our newsletter, we’ll be updating the standings after every event so people can track the results of individual events and overall rankings.
Don’t forget to use the official hashtag of the NCL #proveyourmoves to share your training or competition performance with the NCL community.
Thanks again to Mark for sharing all the NCL info. We wish them the best of luck in their goals for 2018 and beyond. These articles are all about building the Ninja Warrior community around the world and helping each other out. If we help each other out, we all get better, and if we all get better, we can make the world a happier, fitter, more exciting place.
If you’d like to share your training routines and motivations, please contact us.
Train hard Ninjas