Ninja in Newton


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  • Nolan Worsley, on the obstacle course at Skylands Ninja Warrior.




  • Jamie Rahn in a Ninja competition. (Photo courtesy of OCR Nation).




  • Ninja Warrior training teaches kids physical and mental strength. (Photos by Laurie Gordon)




By Laurie Gordon

NEWTON — Jamie Rahn, with his hallmark green hair and Spiderman-esque skills, came to Skylands Ninja Warrior, on Saturday, to teach children how to get their Ninja on. To the delight of approximately 20 children and their parents, Rahn, who is known as “Captain NBC,” parleyed how Ninja Warrior training is beneficial in all aspects of life.

Rahn is well-known for competing on the television show American Ninja Warrior in seasons two, four, five, seven and eight. He's also a parkour coach and travels the country to train others. A south Jersey native, Rahn was inspired to pursue Ninja Warrior training by Jackie Chan.

“I was inspired by his body awareness and control,” Rahn said. “It was a time in my life when I was just starting college and getting over an issue that had inspired me to switch schools and get back on track.”

Prior to discovering warrior training, Rahn played football, tennis, handball, field hockey, soccer, and he skateboarded.

But something was missing: sharing with others his love of sport.

“My favorite thing that not necessarily the show, or the sport, but of the athletes,” Rahn said. “Ninja Warriors demonstrate that failure is not the end all be all.

"American Ninja Warrior" is a televised obstacle course competition navigate physical challenges and barriers such as walls and ropes.

“In other words,” said Chris Ennis, Skylands Ninja Warrior's founder, “The course is designed to bring out that adventurous 'why not' mentality that so many of us have lost along the way.”

Though the show is aired by NBC, Rahn and the other athletes never sign on with the network.

“You apply each year and if you're lucky they call you to compete,” Rahn said.

Drawing on his Ninja training, Rahn loves working with kids.

“I try to show them a new way to achieve goals in life by looking for progressions to solve problems," he said.

Captain NBC is open about his own challenges. In a 2018 interview with author and executive coach, Susan Baroncini-Moe, Rahn talked about his anxiety and how exercise and “little successes” throughout the day helped him manage. He shared how he really feels when falling on the course, and failing and he said that a daily run helps him address his anxiety. The interview humanized heroes.

For children like Nolan Worsley, Ninja Warrior training has been a godsend. The 7-year-old Sparta resident has found a new confidence through training at Skylands Ninja Warrior.

“It's great to find an activity for kids that don't fit in with the traditional sports,” said his father, Matthew Nolan. “Watching him develop here goes far beyond the gym and has done wonders for him in every day life.”

The same goes for Leah Mishock, an 8-year-old from Vernon, who has been training for three months.

“It's been a huge change in her confidence,” said her mother, Cindy Mishock. “Her father, Jason Mishock, added. “We can't give this place enough credit. She was bullied at school and being here and doing this training had helped her overcome and cope. She's mastering skills and gaining so much confidence.”

Skylands Ninja Warrior is a unique training gym created to provide both kids and adults with a challenging and fun way to build physical strength and mental toughness. Filled with obstacles that rival those found on the hit T.V. show, and staffed by elite athletes who’ve competed in ninja warrior competitions across the country, Skylands Ninja Warrior features the “Warped Wall,” “Cannonball Alley, and the “Devil’s Steps."

The brain child of Chris Ennis, 38, brainstormed the gym after training for Spartan Runs and Tough Mudder events.

“I realized that while I might not be much of a runner, I loved the obstacles,” he said. “They're a lot of fun, but they're also very challenging. They force you to use muscles that you didn't even know you have.”

He also realized that there was nothing akin to a Ninja gym in the Sussex County area. Skylands Ninja Warrior opened in October.

“The gym is doing great and so many people are experiencing this sort of training for the first time and loving it,” Ennis said.

Ninja Warrior training requires strength and balance and a lot of concentration. It's about learning to use you body in different ways and to push yourself to get better.

Skylands Ninja Warrior is located at 44 Clinton St., in Newton, and offers outh and adult classes. For further information, call (973) 756-7969 or visit:

https://www.facebook.com/skylandsninjawarrior.





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