So your child has decided to become a ninja. The adventure that awaits!
Creativity and obstacle courses have been an amazing combination at my martial arts school since I began teaching over 25 years ago. When Century came out with the NinjaTrix program and Obstacle Course Set, I couldn’t wait to jump in on it. This program was the ultimate fulfillment of what I’d been dreaming of since opening my first school.
I’d like to offer my thoughts about this amazing equipment and explain some ways we use it at our school. In a future blog, I’ll go more into detail about the NinjaTrix program, but for now, let’s discover the amazingly fun obstacle course!
Measures 29.5” tall at peak, with a 36” long slope and 29.5” X 24” base See it here!
We will begin with the Slanted Steps, or, what our ninjas call the “yellows.” This is one of our favorites and a great set to begin your course with, giving you the forward drive as you leap from one obstacle to the next. Century provides four Steps total when you purchase the 10-piece course.
Besides being a great eye-catcher to new students and parents, these obstacles give a taste of what it’s like to be a real ninja: both sloped sides have a textured surface for secure footing, so you can land and hold a steady, calm position, or continue springing forward. Although both sides are slanted, you’ll have the unique experience of two challenging levels, as one side is a bit steeper than the other.
Like every NinjaTrix obstacle, the Slanted Steps are secured by Velcro to the carpet mat, giving you the same assurance that Century offers for all of their equipment.
I’d love to see Century offer these with a small 3-4 inch ledge at the top, to add an extra balancing challenge for up-and-coming ninjas. As they are, they’re still amazingly fun – set them up for zig-zagging, line them up in a semicircle for “wall runs,” or even set them in a straight line side by side for multiple cat jumps/holds.
Measures 14" tall See it here!
Next, let’s take a look at the “Post.” Century provides four blue landing posts in the 10-piece kit. The Posts are among the most versatile items from the NinjaTrix Obstacle Course. You – I mean, your young ninja – not only can use this to practice gap jumps and landings, but, as they become more and more proficient, add in some forward and back flips.
These too, are great for arranging a zigzag run for older ninjas. Or, keep them straight in line and place them closer together for beginners or younger ninjas.
All pieces in the NinjaTrix line are easy to clean using a wipe and simply letting them air dry.
The Posts offer the textured covering surface making for a safer landing. We do instruct our ninjas to focus landing toward the center of the post, where stability is at its best, versus the corners, where there’s just a bit more give. Older ninjas especially should keep this in mind because of their weight.
Measures 26"tall at ends, 20" in middle; with 48” X 20” base See it here!
One of the more uniquely shaped pieces from the NinjaTrix assortment is the black and orange Single Bench. The more we progress through the NinjaTrix curriculum, the more we realize just how versatile this piece of equipment is. From palm spins to kong jumps, and even more advanced vaulting, the Bench has quickly become another favorite with our young ninjas.
Although the bottom can secure to the carpet roll, the Bench can also be turned lengthwise to its front or back side, or even stood up and held to make a taller obstacle for a much more challenging cat hold. This item is more of a hands-on piece of equipment so there is no matted texture for footing. The side carry straps are sewn into place, making it quick and easy to move when you’re ready to redesign your obstacle course or store it away.
Measures 30” tall with 24” X 48” base
We now come to the Single Barrier. This is a red half wall that attaches to the carpet roll, and is great for vaulting. We recently discovered laying it on its side makes for a great slide in either direction. While toddlers and preschoolers are faced with improving their reaching and climbing skills, older ninjas will love the challenge of creating new ways to get over the wall more proficiently each time. As with the Bench, the Barrier is texture free and super easy to clean. It also offers the side straps for quick and easy moving.
Bonded Carpet Mat
A fully set-up NinjaTrix course!
Finally, let’s get down to the specifics of the carpet. This is a 6’ X 42’ blue roll that offers enough space for the entire NinjaTrix course to be set up all at once. It cleans easily with a vacuum and when you need to put it away, it rolls up quickly. I’d recommend if you have young ninjas help roll it up. With between two and four helpers, you can get the job done efficiently and without gaps (which will result in a bigger space needed for storage). As a side note, adult supervision may be necessary, as our young ninjas sometimes go mysteriously missing at this point and are later discovered to have deliberately rolled themselves or their friends inside the carpet. This is definitely not the intended use of the product, and unsafe to boot – but it happens.
Note: Because of sizing constraints, the Carpet Mat cannot be ordered directly from Century. Instead, call (800) 626-2787 to order.
The NinjaTrix Obstacle Course Set has been one of my greatest, most useful investments. If you are a parent who has a young ninja, or a school owner looking to offer more options to your student base, I couldn’t recommend this enough. It’ll work for your youngest ninjas and accompany them as they grow older since you can place the obstacles very close together or spread them further away from each other to create more practice in goal setting, focus, and challenge.
If you are a school owner, your imagination is the limit. Although we incorporate this into some of our classes as a “fun five” at the end, our main use has been for birthday parties (which, by the way, have increased since we’ve added NinjaTrix), and as a stand-alone NinjaTrix program, which we offer four days a week.
The NinjaTrix Obstacle Course has definitely given our ninjas a fun and very creative way to face challenges, overcome barriers, and set new goals, all while building on the successes and confidence they’ve acquired from reaching past goals. Our ninjas are learning that things are not always easy, but they are possible and though perseverance and hard work, definitely very attainable. I highly encourage you to invest in this product from Century. It is quality equipment that is highly versatile and will last for years to come.
Happy flying, ninjas!
Imagine starting the NinjaTrix program from a child’s eyes:
You’re a new superhero in the making: Reaching your goals through special training, achieving a new level of focus and gleaning an entirely new outlook on life. So many have turned away from this challenge, but you have decided to accept it. It’s now you alone that must defeat the various obstacles that lie ahead. People warn you that it won’t be easy because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever done before. Envision it now: A new ninja rising. Your family, your friends, your whole community depending... on you!
But, there are also those doubters, those who think you can’t possibly make it through. They shout out all the reasons you should turn away from such a challenge. Your mind, however, stays steadily focused on the task at hand. There’s absolutely no turning back. You’ve entered the race and all you can do is bravely press onward until you reach the other side where glory awaits! Still a bit afraid, you try not to let it show and you somehow summon the courage and take the leap of faith, not knowing exactly what you’ll have to endure, but one thing for sure, victory is waiting and the prize is greater than anything you could imagine! You know it and you feel it. You place foot at the starting line, the whistle blows and you’re off.
You’re now flying swiftly through the air, leaping over walls, running rooftop to rooftop. Some slanted and scattered about, and some ever so smooth and perfectly aligned, but either way you land each time as quiet as a mouse. You tuck your chin, extend your arms and land that perfect forward roll. “Nice,” you say to yourself with a smile, thinking how well you’re getting the hang of it. You thought all was clear, but while remaining low, you hear a bad guy approaching, his sword drawn as he slowly tiptoes your way. Thankfully, your invisible ninja spray is still in effect, as you make one final cat jump and hold to a post as he soon passes before you, wondering where to look next.
Again you, have saved the day. This is you, the hero that people need! And you’ve done it all without ever leaving the dojo… for now, anyway! 😁
Twila Schuler is a 4th-degree black belt in Shotokan karate and the owner and head instructor of Rising Son Karate in Kirksville, Missouri. She has been teaching for over 25 years.