From the first moment you step into a Ninja Zone Academy, you immediately get a sense for what they’re all about. You quickly learn it’s not just flips, and kicks and chops. The character development of each student is just as important—frankly, it might be even more important. It was one of the major reasons we picked Ninja Zone Academy for our son, Mears.

We share our ninjadventures on Instagram and each week I share an activity—somersaults or exercises or games of big ninja/little ninja. Over the weeks, it’s easy to see improvement. Mears’ physical improvements are obvious. His endurance is better.  He climbs higher. He’s more coordinated…Well, mostly more coordinated.

But determination, integrity, and responsibility are traits that are harder to see and nearly impossible to share over social media. His progress was so subtle, even I almost missed it.

The pieces started to come together at a challenge session (open gym) one night. He spent the whole session running up a large ramp. He’d run up the wall and slide back down when he didn’t reach the top. I was expecting tears. I was expecting to hear “It’s not fair.” I was expecting him to give up. But try and try again, he ran up and fell down only to get up and try to run up the ramp again. I’d never seen that spirit in Mears before. It wasn’t long before he was yelling “look at me” from the top of the wall.

That same weekend, we took a trip to Holiday Park. There’s a tall, net-like climbing apparatus that Mears has attempted many times, but he’s never made it more than a few feet off the ground. His ascent was slow and I could see he was a little unsure of himself. (Frankly, I was a little nervous too as it’s very tall!) He lost his footing a few times and nearly fell off. But that was the day he finally made it to the top. 

A few weeks later we went camping. At the site, someone had put up a tight rope between two trees. Mears was intrigued but it was hard and no one was having much success traversing the line. Mears worked on it all weekend. Any downtime he had, he used it to master that rope. By Sunday morning he was sliding across like he was in the circus. The smile of accomplishment could barely be contained on his face. 

Sure, some of it is physical. But I’m in awe of his newfound grit and determination. Just a few months ago, he was quick to quit when the situation was too scary or tough. Each week, I’m thrilled to watch him try, and try, and try (and sometimes fail). But many times, his coaches and I get to help him celebrate his successes. And with each success, he gets a little more confident and it makes him want to try more things.

He’s not doing back flips or hand stands quite yet. But when he gets to that phase, I know he’ll be ready to meet the challenge. 


Thank you to NinjaZone Academy for your support of Indy with Kids. While all of the above thoughts, opinions, and stories are my own, I received a complimentary lesson for this sponsored post.