While some parents may describe their children’s energy by saying they climb the walls, for one Lee’s Summit area family, that euphemism is literal and the climbing has taken their family across the country for the last five years as they compete in local, regional, national and world ninja competitions.
“Our family wanted to find something we could all do together at the same time. I saw a Facebook post from a friend who had visited MOTUS ninjas in Lee’s Summit so we thought we would give it a try. We started the first family class and all five of us did ninja together every Thursday night for several years,” says local mom Liz Edelman. While the family has had collective success with the sport, youngest daughter, 10-year-old Finley has enjoyed especially notable accomplishments for her young age.
“Finley was climbing doorframes from the time she was one,” she says. “In April 2022 we all went to Worlds in Greensboro North Carolina and Finley placed 27th in the world. This year she competed in three competitions throughout the year around the metro area and ended the season with the CSNA Championship April 30th where she came in first on stage one and ultimately finished fourth overall. We chose not to attend Worlds this year but hope to have everyone qualified next year.”
Both daughter Finley and mom Liz say their goal is to make it on the American Ninja Warrior show, as seen televised nationally. “I have tried out the last 5 years and have gotten to know numerous participants. Finley also wants to make it on the show (she has about 5 years) so the more we push ourselves the more chances we have of making it! Even if we don’t, we both plan to place higher in our divisions at Worlds.”
When asked whether she recommends other local parents explore ninja for their children, Edelman says “I would highly encourage ALL kids to try ninja, it helps them learn how to move their body. There will be times when they don’t master something quickly and that’s okay! They learn that it’s okay to fail as long as you keep trying. They become more coordinated and more confident, which helps them at every sport they may want to play, and Ninja develops physical skills that can be applied to EVERY sport.”
Finley shares that enthusiasm, saying “You should really try ninja because you meet really cool people. I love it!”
“Ninja brought our family together, and everything we do still has something to do with ninja. When we travel the kids are always finding ninja obstacles, and we even built a ninja course in our backyard that we continue to evolve. It was a great way for our blended family to bond and have something in common. Our older kids struggled at first with some things, like the bar, when we first started but now they can do all the obstacles I can do! We love competing against each other to see who can do the coolest trick,” Edelman says.
For more information about the Premier Obstacle League, the largest Ninja competition in the world, visit world ninja league.org