Australian Ninja Games Youth Qualifier All-1087 (1) Australian Ninja Games Youth Qualifier All 1087 1 at a Ninja Warrior gym in Melbourne, Australia.

Ninja in History

Ninjitsu is the art of unconventional warfare, guerilla warfare, and espionage purported to be practiced by the ninjas of feudal Japan. The largest clans came from Iga and Koga. A ninja was supposed to be a secretive, stealthy agent who fought only when necessary. They were trained in fighting, deception, disguise, strategy, tactics, and assassinations. Although some still practice the martial arts side of ninjitsu today, that is NOT what we usually mean by “Ninja training” these days! Now we mostly mean obstacle training.

Obstacle Course training

You might be more familiar with Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) or adventure racing such as Tough Mudder and Spartan. In these races, many contestants race through an ordered series of obstacles or challenges separated by a distance. Some events have people competing in organised groups or as individuals.

Ninja is similar to OCR and adventure racing, but the difference is that there is no significant distance between obstacles, and usually just one athlete is running at a time with a timer. It is usually a race for the furthest, fastest, and most successfully completed obstacles.

Ninja Today

Ninja is based on the TV show Ninja Warrior, which began in Japan as Sasuke and popularised as the Ninja Warrior brand in countries like America, Australia, UK, Germany, France, Hungary and more. Typically, Ninja competitors do not know the obstacles until the day of competition or just before. They do not get to touch, test, or try the obstacles until they are competing on them. This creates a fairer playing field. Also, new obstacles are being invented and introduced from time to time so there is progression and constant challenge to the athletes and the limits in the sport. There are sometimes distinct stages or courses with a variable number of obstacles in each course that become progressively more difficult. Competitors can progress through the courses or are eliminated until a winner is determined. Some rules differ from league to league and may include a points system for completed or partially completed obstacles, while another league may say if you fail an obstacle your run is over, much the same as the TV show.

What is Ninja training? NinjaNation gorakphoto HR 21 at a Ninja Warrior gym in Melbourne, Australia.

What will I learn at Ninja training?

Obstacle training provides fun and exercise at the same time! It is play based learning! At Ninja training you learn how to process failure and turn failure into success. Failure is not the end, failing an obstacle or anything in life is a learning process on how to succeed. It is a journey on perseverance. Thomas Edison went through thousands of learning experiments where he discovered how not to make a lightbulb commercially affordable. He could have seen each trial as a failure, but I believe he chose to see each as a success in getting him closer to the discovery he is now known for, the carbon filament lightbulb! Problem solving and persistence develop discipline. In obstacle training and ninja, you see a clear goal, and you solve how to complete it. You may not get it first try but you have learnt something right there! So, try again but try a different way. A slight change in hand position, direction or adjustment in the amount of swing or momentum. Small adjustments here and there and perseverance leads to success and the reward of achieving the end goal. Think of it not as winning or losing, think of it

as winning or learning. With this perspective, in both cases, you win. This is something we want our kids and members to learn at Ninja Nation.

How can I progress through ninja obstacle training at Ninja Nation?

Toddler Warrior

From a young age, toddlers can practice hanging, balancing, and building their strength and coordination in our Toddler Warrior class for ages 2 – 5. In some cases, an 18-month might feel adventurous to hang from a bar or play on some of our soft equipment. Toddlers learn how to jump, swing, roll, land and explore in a colourful and safe environment. They are free to explore different toddler obstacles in a course or at their own pace, and there are guided learning activities which they can choose to join in with. There is no pressure, and it is about having some fun and exploring as they like.

What is Ninja training? Australian Ninja Games Youth Qualifier All 20 at a Ninja Warrior gym in Melbourne, Australia.

Junior Warrior

Junior Warrior classes for ages 6-8 broadens the child’s curiosity and prepares their bodies for more complex movements. We build stronger foundations and develop good and safe habits physically and mentally. It is still about having fun and learning the techniques and how their body moves best for a growing number of situations. Children can already test their skills at some competitions at this age if they enjoy it. Ninja Nation have also developed a grading system where people can see clear goals on how to progress in their strength, flexibility, skills, and what obstacles to focus on and they are rewarded for their progress.

Tween Warrior, Teen Warrior and Adult Ninja

As the ages go up there are classes available for any age to join and start at a basic level. Tween Warrior for ages 9 – 12 and Teen and Adult Ninja for ages 13+. All these classes above are at a recreational level and about having fun and learning through instruction with some free time at the end. They may include some fun competitions among classmates and peers.

Kids Ninja Elite

For kids who show a heightened ability and particular interest in competition, we have Kids Ninja Elite classes where we hone in on the more challenging obstacles and techniques and prepare kids for events.


Events range from local competitions in the Melbourne area, to state qualifying events for different leagues within Australia. Qualifying events give qualifying individuals a chance to compete at a national level at finals for that league which could be in other Australian states.

Finals events may be involved as a qualifying event for a worldwide league where you will go up against athletes from different countries!

In May 2021, Ninja Nation hosted the ANG (Australian Ninja Games) Youth Qualifier. Nearly 100 kids from all over Victoria from different ninja clubs came to compete and try to qualify for the ANG Finals. Athletes had a few chances to compete in other youth qualifiers hosted by other ninja gyms during the annual season. Those that qualified could then choose to go and compete at the ANG National Finals event which had a couple changes in date due to covid but ended up being held in Canberra in January 2022 at B.Firm.

What is Ninja training? NinjaNation gorakphoto HR 91 at a Ninja Warrior gym in Melbourne, Australia.

The ANG Finals was also a qualifier event for the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA) World Series Championship Finals to be held in Las Vegas, USA in July 2022!

Another example of an Australian league is the Ninja Challenge League, Australia’s first league that began at Ninja Academy in Perth. NCL also holds qualifiers hosted by different gyms around Australia and qualifiers can travel to Perth for the Finals event, which has also been a qualifier for the National Ninja League (NNL) where finals are held in America.

Ninja may one day be in the Olympics, and we could be the generation to make that happen!

Real Stories

A few of our Ninja Elite kids have progressed through the one of the above pathways and qualified for the UNAA Worlds! Congratulations to them!

Consistent training, focus and dedication earned these kids a chance for world champion position!

Ninja Nation staff are so proud to have been a part of fostering and guiding their learning and practice in this engaging obstacle sport! Ninja Nation wants to cheer them on and get all our awesome community around these kids.

Of those that did so well, Matilda “Tilly” and Jayden “JJ” have decided to go to Vegas and compete in the UNAA Finals.

Tilly is doing her own little fund raiser to help pay for her uniform and flights! Get onboard by purchasing a limited edition “Ninja Tilly World Championships 2022” silicone wrist band for just $5 at reception today!

Tilly started her ninja obstacle obsession only 4 years ago coming along with her little brother Lincoln to Toddler Warrior when it was in Bayswater, before Ninja Nation was established. From there she joined the Junior Warrior classes and progressed into the Ninja Elites class. Now she is planning world domination and she is only 8!

Jayden also started off in Junior Warrior classes, going then to Tween Warrior and shortly after, learning such skills and showing determination, that he was accepted into the Ninja Elites class. He placed first in his division at the ANG Finals.

However they do at Worlds, they and all our ninja kids are amazing little humans!

Our Ninja Nation Coaches

At Ninja Nation, owners Ziad Zakharia and myself have competed on Australian Ninja Warrior. Many of our coaches Amanda Zakharia, Kadeem Aarons, Michelle “Flippy” Callannan, Mireille “Mimi” Goyette have also appeared on the show or been involved in obstacle testing. The age limit has been opened to 16 years and one of our talented young coaches Ash Campbell is to debut on the show in Season 6! I am sure we will see more of our young Ninja Nation kids appearing on the show soon. Elite coach Kadeem Aarons has also been accepted to compete on American Ninja Warrior this season and is making his way there in March. Other Australians have also gone to compete in UK Ninja Warrior, and I have been lucky to travel to France to be involved in the testing and building of Ninja Warrior France. This sport can become part of your life and even a career!

We believe that the more people are exposed to different obstacles and techniques, the better they can adapt when introduced to a new obstacle. What we learn in the sport can be applied to real life situations.

So come and begin your ninja journey at Ninja Nation! Book into a class today at

Written by Luke Ha – Ninja Nation Co-owner, ATS Ninja Warrior Course rigger and core tester.