Shawn Vallowe’s 6-year-old son Owen was an avid fan of the NBC show “American Ninja Warrior,” so he asked his dad one day if he could start his training to take on the course.
But Vallowe, who lives in Bel Air, didn’t know where to start. His son was worried about being the only boy in gymnastics class.
A suggestion from one of Vallowe’s co-workers changed everything after he decided to give a new gym named Kinetic Ninja Warrior a try.
“It was an incredible experience,” Vallowe says. “It was the perfect fit because he’s gaining the new skills he’s been wanting to learn through trial and error, all while having a good time.”
Kinetic Ninja Warrior opened on Conowingo Road in Bel Air last fall after husband-and-wife team Scott and Paula Morrison brought what they say is Harford County’s only “Ninja Warrior” obstacle course training gym to life.
“The reception from the public was fantastic,” Paula Morrison says. “We have pulled in families of all ages and it is truly amazing to see this idea take off.”
Scott Morrison started his “American Ninja Warrior” adventure in 2012 when he was invited to compete in Miami preliminary competition for season four of the show. He placed 32nd, just missing the qualifying rank of 30 to make it onto the show.
By opening his own training course, Morrison is not only keeping his own training going, he’s passing on what he’s learned to help others with the same dream.
“It’s absolutely thrilling to share my passion with others,” Morrison says. “Seeing children and adults alike get stronger and push themselves on our course is truly amazing.”
About two years ago, ninja gyms from across the country created the National Ninja League, in which like-minded warriors can compete against one another. Morrison is ranked 24th nationally in the league.
Monthly tuition for the gym ranges from $75 to $150, with drop-in rates available for those ages 6 and up
Tracy Fitzgerald of Jarrettsville says that the Kinetic Ninja Warrior course helps her active 7-year-old son try new things in an environment that she’s comfortable with.
“Ryan has a ton of energy, so this is a good fit for him,” says Fitzgerald, whose family enjoys watching “American Ninja Warrior.” “It’s a place where he can jump and flip and climb that is safe.”
When it comes to building the courses, Morrison uses his past experience working for his father in a custom home building business to create new and challenging obstacles.
He even has three different-height versions of the famous “warped wall” from the show.
Morrison says that he’s always trying to keep up with his clientele.
“Once [the course] gets easy, we make it harder,” Morrison says. “We have always pushed ourselves beyond our limits.”