Welcome to another installment of Ninjas in Training! The true beauty of Ninja Warrior is that is requires such a huge cross section of skill-sets, and so everyone tackles their training in a completely different way. So, we’ll be asking friends of site to share with us their approach.
You would definitely know our next guest, it’s the NinjaDoc himself Noah Kaufman!
Noah, thank you so much for this interview! I met you earlier this year at the Wolfpack Tour where even though you were managing everyone and organising the whole entire event, you still took the time to say hello and have a quick chat… your time-management skills are highly impressive, between bouldering, parenting, training, doctoring, organising the next Wolfpack Tour… how do you tackle everything at once?
Adam! So good to spend some time together! Yes indeed, I have never been this busy in my life, and it is truly a labor of love. Some weeks are literally over a hundred hours of work… Yes, that basically means every waking moment. Mostly it’s a lack of TV, obsessive focus and attention to detail, and a powerful work ethic for which I owe my father. It gets tough on the family—and especially my 6 year old, little ninja Zun. But he and my wife are very supportive, and we are really doing something great here. We are building a brand and a sport that may ultimately replace American Ninja Warrior. TV shows have life-cycles, but sports can endure and right now, we are building something really cool that the Ninjas have partnership and ownership in. It’s really incredible and we owe a lot to our partners in New York with GF Capital and to the whole Ninja community which is filled with so much love and inspiration!
The next Wolfpack Ninja Tour is a mere 3 weeks away, I’m really hardcore pumped and can’t wait to tackle the course. Who are you personally excited to see run this course?
I am really excited to see the women compete. I know many more of the top women are really excited this time around, and so their field will be much deeper than the first Tour stop last April. New to our Pro Team is Australian Olivia Vivian who was an Olympic gymnast. I have seen how fast she can race, and we tried to recruit her for Team Ninja Warrior in the US when we learned our female on the Think Tank, Asya Gretchka, had broken her foot. I have seen Olivia beat Meagan Martin’s times on a rehearsed Pro Ninja course.
Hopefully Jessie can compete as the defending champ; I know she is nursing a knee sprain, and Meagan is very consistent as one of the top athletes out there. Speaking of which, her boyfriend, the one and only Flip Rodriguez is injury free and competing this time around, so this will be his first real race competition with us, and he is a speed demon! Of course defending champ Adam Rayl is a total beast, and I can’t wait to see him go for the gold. Also Nathaniel Coleman who is a top US climber and performed well at the last stop. I expect great things from Joe Moravsky who is at the top of his game and several other male athletes as well. Nicholas Coolridge is always so much fun to watch and after his 3rd place finish in the first event—and his being the only competitor to actually beat Rayl—I think he could be a contender for the title as well. I also am looking forward to seeing other Ninjas and top Spartans, climbers and gymnasts come out of the woodwork to try their hand at this amazing new sport. We have over $50,000 in cash prizes for this event, so it’s exciting to see who that prize money will attract! I expect incredible athletic displays and heart-pounding action… Just like last time!
I can’t believe the prize money that is on offer… I’m not just excited for the amounts available, but with the interest in ticket sales and sponsorships, I feel like the Wolfpack is at the helm of creating a legitimate sport that people could actually earn a living in. Was that the plan for a while, or did it happen organically, or accidentally? The whole thing is incredible.
Oh that has been the plan all along, and we have sophisticated financial backing out of New York with our partners at GF (www.gfcap.com). We are pretty much the only ones who are doing this at this level and it’s very exciting. It is so much work, but the events—as you witnessed first hand, Adam—are MAGICAL! We will be growing for years and it is a very exciting time to see this thing come together. 2018 will be really exciting in different locations and since this is an international competition, we are seeing more and more interest from overseas. This time around we will have Wolfpack Pro Team athletes Olivia Vivian (AUS), Alex Mars (SWE), and Sergio (SPA) – the Spanish Ninja Warrior Champ to name a few. We have our eyes set on the Olympics ultimately and creating a sport that can survive for generations. This is history being made, and it’s really fun to be doing this with the help of the Ninja community!
I’ve been to a few competitions now, and I’m now even more blown away with the course you guys put together and the fact that nothing has to be reset. That, and the fact anyone between total total beginners and super amazing professionals could all have a great time attempting the course. Is working within all those limitations difficult? What is the thought process you go through?
Great question, Adam! Yes, we spend a LOT of time and money in R&D, and wait until you see this next course… Wow. Testing is important to us as is safety, and we really want to push cutting edge courses and obstacles that flow well and enable the most fun for the most people. The TV courses can feel wonky at times and even a bit unsafe. Many people get injured and they mostly don’t show those stories of broken legs and dislocated shoulders. Those courses are big and showy and they like the big, fantastic—yet often dangerous—falls into water. We are focused on the athlete, not the show. We want an event that is challenging for all competitors, super fun and flowy, testing multiple Ninja-skills and most importantly, we want the fun factor to be through the roof. With Wolfpack Ninja Tour 2.0 you will see that we have been working hard—welding, engineering and testing—we are definitely vying for the title of “world’s best obstacles/Ninja event”! I can’t wait to share this next level evolution with the Ninja community. Ninjas are going to be psyched!
Do you have any sneaky tips on skills we should be developing/refining over the next couple of weeks?
I think I can drop some hints… The next course will focus on swinging and the upper body elements are super cool. There will be multiple ways to do obstacles and the harder methods are generally faster. I would get creative and think about transitions and flow between lower and upper body elements. Our lower body elements will be super fun and not quite as challenging this time around, so no need to practice difficult barrel-rolls, log rolls, dizzy obstacles, etc. One arm swings will get the top Ninjas further faster on this course and so will “Ninjanuity”! Expect some real dynamic moves!
What is the Wolfden? Is it separate to the Wolfpack Ninja Tour?
Yes! The Wolfden is our new 18,000 square foot training facility in Northern Colorado. It is our R&D warehouse as well as the place that we train. We are also using it to test out curricula for our upcoming foray into smaller footprint training facilities that will be coming online in 2018. After having such success on the show all these years, and now sharing our training methods with others, it’s time to take those secrets and share them with the next generation of Ninjas who will be an important part of this amazing new sport. We love Ninjas stopping by the Den and going for the course record! It’s a blast working from there (our corporate offices are there and New York). It’s amazing to be able to take a work break and go play on and create amazing new Ninja obstacles.
Lots of Aussies are super keen to fly over and participate in the Wolfpack Ninja Tour… if they can’t get state-side in 3 weeks, what is the future of the Wolfpack Ninja Tour looking like? What can International Ninjas look forward to?
2018 is going to be an exciting year for Ninjas. The Wolfpack Ninja Tour will be expanding into different markets and we are talking to larger venues and sponsors as we speak. We will be announcing soon, but for now, Aussies should know to train hard, and that they will have at least 6 months of notice before the next stops happen. I would love to pay some Ninjas from down under some crazy prize money!
I’ve watched every episode of American Ninja Warrior, and I remember you all individually, but I don’t recall how the Wolfpack started.. it was just suddenly there and it was awesome. How did the Wolfpack start? Did you meet at American Ninja Warrior, or were you rock climbing friends beforehand?
We have been friends for many many years. I knew Isaac for over 15 years and Brian over 13… Ian and Meagan were a bit younger, but we all bonded right away with a couple other top climbers who were trying the show like Matt Wilder and Joel Brady to name a few. We all wanted to get the “First Ascent” and that finally fell to Geoff and Isaac who are both remarkable people and climbers. Ultimately, we started to call our little gang of climbers the Wolfpack because we were hungry and ferocious in our training methods. The ANW show decided to focus on the four of us who had made it to Vegas and stage 2 together year after year, but the Pack was always a bit bigger than that and now there are over 40 Ninjas in the Wolfpack. It was fun to be slightly outside the culture and come into the scene to join such greats as Brent Steffensen, David Campbell, Ryan Stratis and others and perform well in Vegas. We treated ANW like a big climbing trip and always had a lot of fun with it. Things changed a bit after Isaac won. For climbers, the mission had been accomplished and there will never be another First American Ninja Warrior. That’s why Wolfpack Ninja Tour is the next big thing for us; it’s our chance to take what American Ninja Warrior and others started, and take it to the next level, in our own way. The athletes know, love and understand this sport better than anyone, so it’s only fitting that we take the baton and move the ball down the field. We are literally creating as we go. Ian and I are on the phone with Jessie, Joe and others all week thinking through concepts and creating new IP for the Wolfpack Ninja Tour.
With everything you do how do you structure a week of training?
Honestly, and I hate to admit this, I no longer train. I climb a little every few weeks, but my obstacles now are all intellectual and business oriented. It’s a new chapter, and I am looking forward to getting back into training as soon as I can. Wolfpack Ninja Tour takes all of our time. Myself and Ian Dory are working super hard on this non-stop with the team. Something had to go, and so I am taking a short hiatus from hardcore Ninja/climbing training. I miss it, but this thing we are making and the mission behind it to fight childhood obesity are so much bigger then we are. It’s worth it!
Does diet play a big part in your life?
YES! I really have to eat well nowadays since I am not training as much. Lots of fruits and veggies from the garden. I am trying to avoid sugar, dairy and processed foods as much as possible. Its a fairly simple equation and super important to stay healthy and feeling great. I might call this a focus on nutrition and healthy eating and not so much any specific diet per se. I eat healthy and try to get enough sleep.
Thanks Noah, if people want to follow you where should they go? Also, anyone interested in buying tickets for the Wolfpack Ninja Tour (which I would highly highly recommend) for Nov-2nd to Nov-5th in Colorado in the US, where should they go?
Thanks Adam, yes, definitely follow our socials: we are @wolfpackninjas on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We also have a Wolfpack Ninjas YouTube channel that has some incredible and unique videos about the tour and training tips from our pros. We have over 40 of the top Ninjas signed into exclusive agreements now and everyone is contributing and growing the brand. The Wolfpack Ninja Tour is the only place fans can go and see all the top Ninjas, take classes and compete in multiple divisions for the top prize money. We also have a “stats” page on our website at www.wolfpackninjas.com/tour-pro-stats/.
Our Tour/ticket website is www.ninjatour.com and you can learn about and buy tickets to our event as well as see a bunch of incredible short videos of the races from the first event. We will likely live stream this next event as well, so tune in Sunday November 5th at 5PM MST!
Aussies can use the code STRAYANINJA for 10% off Wolfpack Ninja Tour ticket prices.
Really appreciate you, Adam and all the hardcore Australian Ninjas. We have been super impressed over here state-side and I have a feeling that sooner than later, our next Wolfpack Ninja Tour champion may be a Strayan!
Thanks again to Noah for being so sharing with his training and his adventures. We wish him the best of luck in his goals for 2017 and beyond, and have no doubt the Wolfpack Ninja Tour will be amazing. 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