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Ninja Academy: Unleash Your Inner Ninja at Manila’s First Parkour Facility!

Ever wished you could be like Naruto, running and jumping from tree to tree? Or stalk the streets jumping on walls and doing flips, like Ezio on Assassin’s Creed? Ever been jealous of Kacy Catanzaro’s strength and muscular physique in American Ninja Warrior?

If you thought only the strongest people get the opportunity to try things like that, you’re wrong!! The chance to become as swift, as agile and as skilled as a ninja is here! (Although, no, you wont get to become a real trained-to-kill Japanese mercenary).

The Ninja Academy is Manila’s first parkour and free running facility. Primarily, this gym is for those who want to learn parkour, “the functional and creative movement of a person attempting to overcome an obstacle in a given environment”. Other than just parkour, though, there are also numerous other training programs for muscle building, conditioning, fitness, strength training and more at The Ninja Academy! No background required, either, because they will teach you all that you need to know!

Ninja Academy ParkourAccording to the owner, Raven, The Ninja Academy started when the Philippine Parkour/ Free Running Association needed a permanent place to practice parkour. “Ninja Academy has become the most complete parkour facility in South East Asia, which includes bars and boxes for obstacles and precision beams for jumps and a foam pit. A parkour practitioner is often called an urban ninja because of the fast paced action where we jump from one point to another, thus [the name] Ninja Academy.”

Together with my friends Gani and Karlos, I did a short hour and a half session with our coaches Raven (not the owner) and Leland. We basically got a taste of what kind of workouts they teach there.

Gani, Coach Leland, Coach Raven, and Karlos at Ninja Academy!

Ninja Academy ParkourJust like you do before every physical activity, we started by warming up – but it wasn’t the regular kind. We did more high intensity sets, which coach Raven called dynamic warm-ups. We did quadripedal exercises (as in, using our arms and legs) to ensure that all of our limbs were being warmed up properly, and plyometrics (as in, exercises that involve a lot of jumping around) for balance and power. These exercises were quite tiring, but were definitely effective. Even with just the simplest movements, we were already working out our entire bodies!

Karlos and Gani doing one of the dynamic warm-up exercises: the monkey shift

Our coaches taught us the very basics of parkour, starting with proper jumping and landing. If you thought you knew how to jump… you don’t! In parkour, there are actually a lot of details involved when jumping and landing properly. We were also taught how to do a proper roll: safety first!

Coach Raven showing us that a proper land involves the balls of our feet. Gani and Karlos try it, as well.

Another parkour basic that the coaches taught us was vaulting. Jumping over walls is still for the pros, but it was really cool learning the simplest kinds (and imagining that we were assassins at the same time!)

Gani showing off his safety vault.

The highlight of our session was definitely the obstacle course. Running, jumping, swinging – a practical application of the basics we learned earlier! Adding to the challenge was the speed test and the stealth mode! If you think you’re strong, you should try it (and check if you can beat Karlos’ 39-second time!) It was a real test of how much of a ninja we were.

Karlos during the obstacle course!

Although very tiring, the feeling of finishing that workout session was nothing short of fulfilling. More than anything, it’s an interesting and new type of activity. Unlike working out in the gym or just jogging, you get to make use of complete facilities. It’s a playground for exercise buffs, and an exciting challenge for those new to the game.

Ninja academy offers a lot of other activities that will cater to your fitness goals, as well, such as parkour for kids, and martial arts like tricking, pekiti-tirsia kali, and even nunjitsu!

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