Riverside students participate in many unique opportunities. One such opportunity was the World Ninja Warrior Competition held in March of 2018 in New Mexico. Riverside grade 10 student, Radek Koci represented the Teen Boys group (ages 14-17) for the Vancity SCR Ninja Gym. Each year the Ultimate Ninja Association (or UNA) holds competitions. With different categories, and competitors varying from the age of 7 to over 40.
“Preparing for the competition requires practice, “said Koci. Participating in gymnastics before joining the UNA served as experience regarding flexibility needed while playing the sport. “I had done gymnastics for years before competing for the UNA,” said Koci. “Without doing so, I find that the sport would have been much more difficult.”
The sport is perfect for gaining and letting out energy, as it tends to be a very physical. “It gives you adrenaline when you do it” said Koci. “The people who participate are also really nice.” Koci’s practices are held at the Vancity SCR Ninja Gym, he has been working with the same people for a while. “They cheer you on,” said Koci. Koci’s family has also been supportive of what he is doing. “They all enjoy the sport as much as I do,” said Koci.
The history of the UNA began when the founders, Bob Clark and James De Lara felt that the sport, Ninja Obstacle Course, lacked the recognition it deserved. They believed that the athletes who participated in the sport deserved to make a living from participating, just as players of any other sport do. Ninja originated in Japan and ever since the UNA was founded, the sport has continued to gain popularity in North America. TV shows such as American Ninja Warrior and Sasuke, a Japanese television show, are excellent examples.
Although this sport is not traditional, Koci encourages others to try it. “Because it is a lot of fun,” said Koci.