March 27, 2023

Over a hundred people turned out to watch and compete in the National Ninja League (NNL) qualifying competition at Double Dragon Martial Arts and Fitness in Kitchener on Saturday.

The competition was exciting and friendly with the top three athletes not already going to the NNL finals qualifying. 

Robertson shows off impressive grip strength. Photo by Nathan Timmerman. Conestoga College/Journalism.

The top three finishers were Sean Noel in third, Phillip Scott in second and Jeremy Robertson in first.

Matthew Van Brunschot designed the 14 obstacle course and the difficulty ranged from swinging, ape like, between hanging rocks, to clearing a simple jump.

“For the most part it was pretty fun,” said fifth place finisher Antoine McClendon, who came from Ann Arbor, Michigan for the competition. “But some obstacles were pretty hard, like the rocks and the unstable bridge.”

“I thought it [the obstacle course] was pretty balanced,” said local Flavius Dica. “It’s rough because a lot of the courses that get set up focus a lot on upper body and grip strength.” He noted that climbers have a real advantage.

“I like to compete everywhere, and Matt is a good friend of mine,” said Scott when asked what brought him to the competition. “I’m obsessed with Ninja Warrior, I’ve been doing it for eight years.”

Where many NNL competitors train in a gym, Scott trains primarily in his backyard in Plymouth, Michigan.

“I’ve been training for over a year and a half now,” said Milton resident Matt Hallak. “I’ve been trying to build the hype behind Ninja Warrior training in Canada, hopefully it will evolve into getting our own TV show in Canada.”

Hallack works his way over the unstable bridge. Photo by Nathan Timmerman. Conestoga College/Journalism.

Hallak, who has already qualified for the NNL finals, works at Aspire climbing in Milton, which runs ninja programs coaching people of all ages.

Double Dragon offers ninja training classes. They also hold an open gym time for curious folks to run around and get a feel for the sport.


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