Get your mini Miyagis in on the action with the help of Young Ninjas USA—a mobile martial arts training program that comes to you—whether it’s after-school classes at the location of your choosing or teaching your karate kids at a ninja-themed birthday party.  This non-competitive program is a wonderful and easy introduction for kids 3 & up to the world of, as Miss Piggy would say, Hi-ya!

photo: Young Ninjas USA

The Legend of Young Ninjas
Young Ninjas co-founder, Shaun Tuch and his brother had extensive backgrounds in developing various after school programs when parents and schools began to ask for a martial arts programs. The pair partnered up with Kenn Scott who played Raphael in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies and Jonathan Shucolsky, a children’s martial arts instructor and defensive tactics instructor for military and law enforcement.

The guys worked together to create a non-intimidating curriculum that helps little ones improve motor development and physical fitness, but also builds character and social skills. The play based classes introduce techniques and forms from several martial arts styles through games, which makes it a perfect introduction to little kids (and big kids looking to try something new).

photo: Young Ninjas USA

Wax On, Wax Off
Because Young Ninjas is a mobile martial arts service instead of studio-based, classes take place at local schools (which means one less class you have drive to!) or you can arrange a new private group class at a local park or house. They also work with several parks in different communities, which are open to anyone.

photo: Young Ninjas USA

So, what do kiddos learn in class? Young Ninjas introduces tykes to multiple martial arts styles including karate, kung fu and taekwondo. Lessons focus on the fundamental elements and techniques of each style – more blocking, kicking, punching and stances over grappling and throwing. Students are taught in a non-contact manner, only working with target shields and foam equipment instead of clobbering one another.

photo: Young Ninjas USA

Crouching Kids, Hidden Motives

Less rigid than traditional martial arts programs, Young Ninjas uses skills and drills that closely resemble play so young karate kids can’t wait to join in. However, they do also teach important martial arts values like discipline, respect and hard work—which parents love!

Young Ninjas also prides itself in being non-competitive. There are no ranks in classes, but the curriculum still celebrates individual achievement. At the end of each 8-10 week session, Young Ninjas holds a special awards ceremony where each child earns a certificate of achievement signed by the student and sensei based on that session’s theme (dragon session, tiger session and so on). Additionally, each little one earns a color-and-session-themed powerband (preschool) or headband (elementary).

photo: Young Ninjas USA 

Hey Ninja, It’s Your Birthday
It’s your party, you can kick if you want to. Parties last one hour and pack huge amounts of butt-kicking fun into a very short time. Group games like ninja dodgeball, ninja relay and obstacle courses are always big hits, as are ninja challenges like “duck and jump” where kids try to outrun foam pool noodles. Young Ninjas will also perform a kid-friendly board break presentation to impress birthday guests. For kiddos aged 6 & up, Young Ninjas can bring safe, foam nunchucks and teach basic techniques and fun games using the ancient farming tool. While most parties take place in a family’s backyard, Young Ninjas will travel to parks and studios for birthday fetes.

Young Ninjas USA

If you try a Young Ninjas class or party, please let us know what you think in the comments below!

­–Jennifer O’Brien