While we hosted some private events over the summer of 2019, we held our official Grand Opening Celebration on Labor Day 2019. It was a huge event with many of the nation’s top ninjas.
Our Rock Walls opened in October 2019 and we are constantly adding and changing obstacles and routes.
Not in any official capacity.
American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior are reality TV shows and are the property of NBC Universal. You have to apply to get on and train to succeed. Several members of our staff and guest trainers and competition participants have participated on these shows.
“American Ninja Warrior” is a trademark of Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, Inc. We assume NBC, Universal and others have worked out a deal with them to use it. We didn’t.
Many of our obstacles are similar to those seen on the shows, but we have a lot more obstacles and we have soft blue pads instead of blue lighted pools if you fall.
Just like any sport these days, we will ask you to sign a waiver as there is always a risk of injury. However, this sport is statistically far safer than contact sports and most non- or semi-contact sports such as soccer and basketball. We also have invested heavily in excellent padding starting from our thick carpeted foam which covers our entire activity area and most landing platforms. We add dedicated thicker padding in every expected potential fall area, and even larger padding near the rock walls. We have padding around our upright posts. We can’t guarantee that a tough fall won’t hurt, but we’ve taken precautions to make sure you avoid injuries.
Our coaches and attendants are trained in additional safety instructions and will offer safety instructions whenever we see anything that may cause a safety challenge.
We don’t think you will find a safer ninja warrior gym anywhere.
Yes! Many sports are entertaining and you can devote as much or as little time and effort as you would like. If someone just wants to come and check it out, you are more than welcome. We won’t laugh at you, though you might choose to laugh at yourself. Our attendants during our open gym times are pretty good at the sport and will give you pointers as well as keeping you safe.
But we have training classes for young and old, beginner through advanced. We offer lessons and both informal and formal competitions. Some of our coaches have and still do compete at the national level. We are serious about the sport, but not “too serious”. It is a fun sport and we aim to keep it that way.
Absolutely. We’ve been offering them since we opened and this is a major part of our offerings. We offer full-week, full-day, and half-day sign ups, as well as packages of full-days and half-days for those who just need a place for their kids now and then. Age ranges are 5 to 12.
Warning: After attending, your kids may tell you that they want to live at our facility.
Since we opened, we’ve hosted a competition almost every month. Typically on the 2nd weekend, but that changes at times due to various factors. We generally will alternate months with a more competitive competition one month and more beginner friendly competitions the next.
Some of the best ninjas in the country have come to and look forward to our professional events.
See our Facebook events page to see what’s coming up!
We also host mini competitions as an option at our private events and end each week of Day Camp with a fun kids competition.
Though everyone agrees that there are different levels of ninja, there is no consensus at the national level about how to divide them up. It will probably be a few years before any accepted standard emerges.
Rock Solid Warrior has defined 4 levels at this point with classes dedicated to levels 1-3. Right now, the two largest leagues have some way of separating some of the “beginners” from the more “advanced” at the adult level. In the Ninja Carolina League in which we participate, there are beginner and advanced levels of competition in all age groups. Our levels 1 and 2 map to beginners while level 3 and above are considered to be advanced.
We expect this system to evolve as the sport continues to grow. This doesn’t seem to get in the way of people having fun and growing in their skills at their own pace.
While Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course Racing is a young sport, it’s rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, we’ve been told that it is currently the fastest growing individual sport in the country! While only time will tell how the sport evolves, there are currently 2 main “governing bodies” at the national level. These are the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA) and the National Ninja League (NNL) and they operate differently and independently of one another. However, in addition to these leagues, regional leagues such as the Ninja Carolina League (in which we participate), and other small local leagues exist throughout the country.
Gyms can apply to host competitions for any league, with the exception that the NNL has attempted to restrict participating gyms from affiliating with certain other leagues and is currently under the investigation of the Federal Trade Commission.
One exciting aspect about the sport is that no two courses or leagues are the same (with the exception of FINA events). Every competition is a test of skill and ability to perform under pressure. There is no standardization and most ninjas love it that way!
We’ve listed just a few of the leagues below with a brief description of each.
NINJA CAROLINA LEAGUE (NCL)
The Ninja Carolina League completed its first season in May of 2021. Its scoring system, adapted from the former Athlete Warrior Games, gives increasing number of points for as an athlete progresses through each obstacle. So those who are capable of completing the entire obstacle will get more points than those who only partially complete an obstacle but all athletes receive credit for their progression. In each age category, there are “beginner” and “advanced” divisions making this league both friendly to beginners and challenging to the more seasoned athletes.
The Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association is wrapping up its 6th season in July 2021 and currently has the highest amount of associated gyms. They award one or two points for completing an obstacle successfully or reaching the halfway point. You are able to complete as many obstacles as possible within a time limit, though your official score stops after completely failing 3 obstacles.
Founded by Bob Clark (with other partners) in Arizona, there is a heavier concentration of these gyms in the south and the west part of the country, as well as internationally. The UNAA holds area qualifiers around the world and those who qualify (top 50%) can move on to the “regionals” where the top 3 or top 20% (whichever is greater) can move on to World Finals. But anyone who has qualified at any area qualifier can attempt to qualify at any regional event… it doesn’t really matter where you live. Their season typically starts in September and World finals are usually late July or early August. They have been working with WorldOCR (Obstacle Course Racing) to get the sport into the Olympics.
National Ninja League (NNL)
National Ninja League will complete its 6th season in July 2021. They strive to be “like the show”. If you fail on an obstacle, you are done. We find that this is not a very “beginner” friendly approach, especially when you can “fail” simply by a foot touching a mat in the wrong spot, or if the most difficult obstacles are at the beginning of the course. (On the show, there are several feet between you and the water, and ANW does extensive testing to verify a progressively difficult course). Founded by Chris Wilczewski from NJ, they have a larger density of gyms in the Northeast, but they are nationwide and have made some efforts to include participants from other countries. They hold qualifiers all over the country, and if you qualify, you go to “world finals” which has multiple stages of increasing difficulty. In 2020 world finals had over 2,000 participants. Their season typically starts late into the summer and wraps up with finals in mid-late February. The 2020-21 season was significantly modified due to Covid. It is not clear what the 2021-22 season will look like.
Federation of International Ninja Athletics is in its 2nd season in 2021. They have separate “Speed” and “Endurance” competitions. The format of each are prescribed by the League no matter where the event is held. So far no gym in our area has participated.
When the first leagues were formed, there were less than 100 ninja warrior gyms in the country. Now there are well over 500 dedicated ninja gyms and many more that occupy space in another type of gym. In North Carolina, there are at least 10, and 5 within a 1.5 hour drive of Rock Solid Warrior. Rock Solid Warrior participates in the Ninja Carolina League which includes other gyms in North and South Carolina. We also participate in the Ultimate Ninja Athletes Association and also host independent events as do many others in the Carolinas. There are at least 3 other gyms in the state that participate in the UNAA (Warrior Tech OCR in Morrisville, Ultimate Backyard Warrior in Rocky Mount, and Kinetic Heights in Charlotte).
We provide lessons for people of all ages and levels, and we will be preparing the intermediate and advanced levels for readiness to compete in league events. We started a “competition team” in 2020 which requires an attaining of Level 2 skills or higher and includes preparation and participation in approximately one competition per month.
More and more events are popping up that includes some sort of team competitions but basically we all cheer each other on. The sport is, generally speaking, ninjas against the obstacles.
We are committed to coaching people as far as they want to go.
We suggest age 5, but are not against those 4 or younger from participating… especially those kids who are born climbing. In 2018, Brandon Avila – when he was 6 years old – won the 9&under UNAA championship. Most leagues have age groups starting at age 6. There is no upper age limit. There have been participants at events we have been to in their 60s and 70s. Each of the leagues have Masters divisions starting at age 40.
We have classes for mini ninjas (ages 4-6), levels 1-3 (typically ages 6+), and offer special instruction for adults. Everyone is welcome to come to open gym but children under 6 must be accompanied by an adult on the floor (without special permission).
Our ceiling is only slightly higher than 20 feet which is ideal for bouldering, and bouldering seems to fit with the ninja warrior sport well.
There certainly are, but we have not yet determined if and when we will host one. Although we have a significant portion of our gym dedicated to bouldering, it is small in comparison to dedicated rock climbing facilities. That doesn’t mean that our rock walls are trivial, we just don’t have as many to offer as large, dedicated rock climbing facilities.
The sport of Ninja Warrior is young and there is just beginning to get simple formal certification associated with the existing governing bodies. We have coaches certified by the leagues, however, these certifications are really about knowing the rules of the league. Our staff is regularly trained and certified in CPR and First Aid.
We are led by experienced ninja athletes and coaches. We are also students of the sport and have developed our own training programs for our newer trainers and coaches. As part of our company culture, we are always striving to improve and we have procedures that reinforce that.
Our head coach, Caleb Auer, has been trained and has been an experienced trainer. As a testimony to his success, he trained his brother, Joshua, who made it to the top 10 at NNL World finals in 2018 after less than a year of training which was somewhat unprecedented.
We know our stuff.
Our coaches include not only ninjas who have been on the show but others who have competed at the National Level or who are good enough to compete there. In fact, we have a deeper coaching staff than just about any gym in the country.