How to Fill Your Box with Ninja Classes

David Funk is the certified obstacle specialist at Camp Rhino is Las Vegas, Nevada. He answered Box Pro’s questions on having ninja class offerings in one’s gym:

Box Pro: Can you give me a brief description of the ninja program at Camp Rhino?          

David Funk: Camp Rhino offers beginner and advanced level ninja classes for both adults and chidren. We train on the obstacles individually, discussing tips and techniques. We do workouts to strengthen the muscles needed for this unique sport. We run practice races for time and points to test ourselves. We have a lot of fun.

BP: How did it get started?

DF: Camp Rhino started as an obstacle gym for obstacle course races (OCR) like Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, ect. They had a few of the obstacles from American Ninja Warrior  like the Warped Wall, Salmon Ladder and Cliffhanger though. In 2014, Alena Dawn started the official program that  we have today. 

BP: What does a class or membership to the ninja program look like?

DF: We offer monthly packages broken down into one times, two times and three times per week, and an unlimited package that includes other obstacle classes. 

BP: How do you market it?

DF: We are on Instagram :@camprhinoninja; Facebook: @ninjawarriorclasses; and through camprhino.com 

ninja classes
Kids take on the ninja course at Camp Rhino.

BP: What draws athletes in?

DF: In general, hype from the show. People see it on TV or go watch the finals that take place in Las Vegas every year and want to compete the following year. Specifically in terms of Rhino, while there are a few gyms that have a small ninja section in them, Rhino is the only one considered a facility for continued training in the sport.

BP: How is it beneficial to the business as a whole?

DF: The biggest benefit is the kids program. The adults workout all week, so the weekend is pretty light. However, that is the perfect time for kids so it rounds out the week.  Also, we are offering kids afterschool classes during our afternoon bootcamps. That way parents can bring them in instead of looking for a sitter while they work out.

BP: What does it take to run a ninja program?

1. Safety. It looks easy, but it’s not. Making sure people can handle the stresses and know progressions to build the needed strength and mobility. Making sure people know how to fall first because it will happen eventually. Checking mats and equipment to ensure a safe training area.

2. Creativity. The obstacles on American Ninja Warrior are constantly changing and evolving. Trying to keep up is interesting enough. Trying to stay ahead is even more challenging. Coming up with new obstacles or new ways to make old obstacles more challenging. Rearranging the course and just generally “mixing things up” to make athletes ready for anything.

3. Fun. While the “grunt work” exercise is necessary, it’s not what the majority of people come for. Therefore, coming up with fun games and challenges to build the strength and dexterity to “trick” people into working out.

BP: Anything else to add?

  1. Having experience in other OCR’s, I’ve noticed they are starting to mimic American Ninja Warrior style obstacles. Ninja training will help put other OCR athletes ahead of the curve.
  2. Aside from the regular classes, we also offer private lessons, ninja birthday parties, team building event courses, and host local and national competitions.

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.