For Sheri Thompson, daughter Hannah and son Daniel, “hanging out” together has a whole different meaning. The family all train together ‘ninja style’ and Sheri even coaches the next generation of wannabe Ninja Warriors at Ninja Parc in Western Sydney.
They’ve been a ninja family for three years now after what started out as a hilarious suggestion while watching Ninja Warrior on TV, said Sheri.
“We were watching Ninja Warrior and the kids told me I should do it. I laughed very hard and told them I’m not strong enough to do that. Then I thought about it and decided I could teach them what happens when you stop saying I can’t and figure out how you can instead. Being able to ninja at a level good enough for competing would take years, but with hard work and dedication, I wanted to show them what is possible.
“When I started, I could barely do one pull up and I couldn’t hold myself up on anything vertical like a rope or nunchuck. I didn’t know how to swing and I didn’t know anything about how to do obstacles. I also have a very intense fear of falling that makes all things ninja extra difficult for me.”
Sheri and Hannah recently travelled to Las Vegas for the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association World Series. Sheri placed 45th in the world and Hannah placed 70th.
The family trains three days a week, with at least one day a week at Ninja Parc in South Granville where Sheri also coaches little ninjas. Daniel takes part in the Little Ninjas program at Ninja Parc.
“We enjoy training together, pushing each other, trying to land something if the other one landed it. It is a very good way to spend time together and bond,” said Sheri.
“We love feeling like we are flying on some of the obstacles. We also love that it takes strength, coordination, precision but also strategy when thinking about how to overcome a certain obstacle. I think the best part is the camaraderie. Even though ninjas are competing against each other, they are always out there cheering each other on. You don’t see that in many other sports.”
Ninja Parc Western Sydney is Sydney’s largest indoor ninja playground. It features many obstacles from the popular Ninja Warrior TV show, including everyone’s favourite, the warped wall. The centre also offers parkour classes, birthday parties, fully supervised school holiday programs and an onsite cafe