When I hear “ninja,” I immediately think of the black-cloaked, sword-carrying, Ninjutsu masters from the movies. Thanks to Ninjago, my son just thinks ninjas are super cool crime fighters. So when we arrived at our first ninja class at Ninja Zone Academy, neither of us was sure what to expect. So here’s the 411 on NinjaZone Academy!
NinjaZone classes are very physical, expect your ninja to sweat and work hard during class. Ninjas are constantly moving, no one is ever sitting off to the side waiting for a coach or piece of equipment. Definitely bring a water bottle and we also suggest a small towel for the extra-sweaty workouts.
Class begin promptly at the scheduled time and it’s a good idea to get there a few minutes early to get your ninja settled and ready for class. If you’re new, check-in at the front desk for extra assistance. Parents are encouraged to sit and watch, and believe me, there will be many “hey mom, look at me” moments!
If you’re coming to a trial class or your first night, just dress your child in comfortable, lightweight athletic clothes. There are no special shoes necessary as most kids go barefoot or wear the special ninja grip socks. Cubbies are available to store shoes warmer clothes during those cold winter months.
Once your child has been enrolled a few weeks, they are required to wear the ninja uniform at each class. Like many things at Ninja Zone, the uniform is very symbolic to the young ninjas. Not only are they are responsible for their own uniform, but the uniform creates a sense of camaraderie among the ninjas and helps them to keep the focus on class.
Although NinjaZone classes are very physical, there are many mental components to the curriculum. Each week, a new lesson from the Ninja Creed is introduced. The Creed is explained at the beginning of class and then becomes the theme of the class. The topics vary, but they all focus on building character throughout the ninja’s life. Some examples of the ninja creed include “using my ninja powers for good,” “work hard at everything I do,” and “resolving conflict.” During class, the ninjas are given examples of how to incorporate the creed into their everyday lives.
The first thing you’ll notice is the rig–a giant obstacle course with various climbing apparatuses. It’s very American Ninja Warrior on a slightly smaller scale. During my son’s first class, he was very interested in the ramp. Basically ninjas try to run up to get to the top and ring the buzzer. It takes several tries, but it’s quite the achievement the first time they make it up.
You’ll see a lot of gymnastics type equipment as well: trampolines, bars, mats, ropes, etc. It’s a lot to take in at first! Ninjas rotate between coaches and stations, so they have a chance to test a lot of different equipment during class.
Ninja classes are all about focus and discipline. Listening to the coaches and following the rules are both very important and taken very seriously. Ninjas always take responsibility for their actions. When coaches are talking, ninjas are required to stand quietly in “ninja stance” which is facing forward with their hands behind their back.
For your ninja, expect to be in a class with all different ages and skill levels. The class starts with the ninja creed and then students are grouped by skill level for individualized instruction by the coaches (there are always 2-4 coaches per class). There are typically 3-4 skills introduced/practiced and each group rotates between the different stations. Classes run 50 minutes and include free-time at the end where each ninja can work on whatever they want.
The types of things the ninjas learn during class vary. It sometimes looks like gymnastics with cartwheels and flips. It sometimes looks like karate with kicks and chops. Sometimes it even look like gym class with a good ole rope climb. Ninjas develop core strength, not just physically but mentally as well.
One of my favorite parts of every class is when the students recite the NinjaZone Mantra. The coaches yell their part and the students respond with their loudest, strongest ninja voices.
For the Parents
While your ninja is in class, you have the option to leave or stay. I like to stay and watch because it’s pretty cool to see all the new ninja tricks. There is a gallery area with plenty of seating and tables, and they have WiFi. They offer a nursing mothers’ room and play area for smaller children if you need to bring any future ninjas with you.
Whew! You made it through. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line. Or, follow us on instagram to keep up with our weekly ninjadventures!
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.