Writer  /  Matt Keating
Photographer  /  Amy Payne

Several Hoosier kids recently enjoyed the first-ever Indiana State Ninja Games, which was held in Westfield at the IMMI Conference Center on Feb. 24.

The event included three different 90-minute sessions, with more than 100 children, representing 15 gyms from around Indiana. It was truly a unique event to showcase some impressive young athletes.

Megan Noel, Ph.D., director of Marketing and Public Relations for NinjaZone, located inside the Grand Park Events Center at 19000 Grand Park Boulevard, Westfield, says the Ninja Games are the competition arm of NinjaZone.

NinjaZone is an alternative sport, where children learn foundational athletic and movement skills focused around coordination, conditioning, core strength and, most importantly, confidence.

“Children in participating in Ninja Sport with NinjaZone are enrolled in weekly classes that hone these skills, and the Ninja Games is where they put those skills to the test,” Noel says.

Noel says that The Indiana State Ninja Games were a huge success.

“We look forward to holding them annually, in compliment to the invitational games our gyms are holding at the local levels,” Noel adds. “With more than 300 NinjaZone gyms located in 43 states, in eight countries, on four continents, we’re looking forward to holding national, and even potentially, international Ninja Games in the coming year, in partnership with our sister organization Ninja Sports International.”

Westfield kids and children from surrounding areas involved in the games can train at The NinjaZone gym in Westfield. It’s a fitness gym for kids with state-of-the-art equipment and fully-trained coaches and trainers.

“As the excitement for Ninja Sports continues to grow, the demand was there to do an even larger event,” Noel says. “Because of the well-roundedness of the sport, which incorporates athletic and character pillars, both parents and kids are excited to participate. As the number of NinjaZone gyms in Indiana continues to grow, the next State Ninja Games will be even bigger and better.”

The recent Indiana State Ninja Games hit athlete registration capacity in just under two weeks after opening. Each of the 90-minute sessions brought in at least 150 spectators, bringing total numbers of more than 500.

“Each of the 15 Indiana NinjaZone gyms will be scheduling and running invitational Ninja Games periodically throughout the year,” Noel says. “In some cases, such as here in Westfield, several gyms will combine for these events. Often the Wright’s Fundamentals locations in Greenwood, Center Grove and Westfield will combine with the NinjaZone Academy locations in Grand Park and Geist for local Ninja Games, for example. We’re in the planning stages of the next state-wide event, looking at dates for the fall.”

The recent state games were part of the NinjaCon weekend. During the event, children ran through several obstacle courses designed to test skill, speed, determination and sportsmanship. The games included The Lil’ Ninjas, ages three to five, and progressed up through colored headband levels.

Spectators at the NinjaGames saw everything from a simple forward roll to impressive mid-air twists and flops.

NinjaZone was created by longtime gym owner Casey Wright. She started the first NinjaZone in 2015 in Carmel. The NinjaZone licensing program now has more than 300 locations in 43 states, in eight countries on four continents.

Casey Wright, the NinjaZone CEO, was just awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s award for Small Business Person of the Year for Indiana.

Wright was also a 2018 Indianapolis Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree. She established the NinjaZone licensing program in 2015.

Visit theninjazone.com for more information.