“You might want to watch out a little bit,” Mike Bozek warned a watching video camera, as he grasped a pull-up bar placed at the bottom of a metal rack bolted near a wall in the Ninja Sports Club in Langley.
Then, Bozek, the owner of the just-opened facility, proceeded to defy gravity by swinging his entire body back and forth to generate momentum and move the bar upwards. The clanging sound echoed through the 6,000 sq. ft. centre.
The obstacle is called the “salmon ladder,” so named because the climber is “swimming upstream.”
It is a familiar sight for fans of the television show “American Ninja Warrior,” a group that includes Bozek, a fitness instructor who decided to turn his interest in the show in a unique gym facility that allow members to challenge obstacles modeled on the show.
Bozek said he ended up building his own gym after learning no one was offering training on ninja-style obstacles.
“I was up one night and I wanted to try the salmon ladder,” he said.
An internet search revealed there were a few fitness clubs offering the ninja challenge, but none locally, as far as he could tell.
Six months later The “Ninja Sports Club” opened at (808) 20381 62 Avenue in Langley.
“So here we are,” Bozek said.
“(It’s) definitely a first in Langley.”
Other Ninja obstacles include three “warped walls” from 10 to 14 feet in height, where the challenge is hitting the curve with enough speed to grab the catch rack at the top.
The facility also offers weight training that includes two squat racks, bench press, benches, free weights and push and pull sleds.
The inspiration for the facility, American Ninja Warrior (sometimes abbreviated as ANW) pits competitors against a demanding obstacle course modelled on the Japanese television series Sasuke.
The name of the original show in Japan refers to the fictional character, Sarutobi Sasuke , a ninja known for his monkey-like agility and quickness.
Other international versions of the competition have aired in Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Germany, Italy and Australia.