'Ninja' training surging in popularity

NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" now has a huge following, and it's led the way for people all over the country wanting to become ninjas themselves.

In the tri-state area, there are dozens of places where anyone can go and train on ninja obstacles. 

News 12 caught up with three local ninjas at Brooklyn Zoo in East Williamsburg, one of the first local gyms to offer ninja training. 

Justin Conway, a local ninja event host, says, "The fact that it's getting so big, and so many people are interested in it is almost validating to me in a way."

Conway started training himself to become a ninja after seeing the Japanese version of "American Ninja Warrior," before it ever aired in the United States. 

Noel Reyes also considers himself one of the ninja originals. He says he's seen the culture change dramatically over the past 10 years. "From competitors and skill levels to the difficulty of the obstacles, the amount of gyms that are popping up, places to train, and the public getting into it, I've seen the whole evolution," Reyes says. 

While there are local competitions for ninja athletes, all the hard-core training culminates in competing on "American Ninja Warrior." Ryan Rattazzi, 22, from Long Island, made it to the Baltimore City Finals in this most recent season. 

Rattazzi says having so many local options to train and compete has made all the difference in the world for him and many others. "It's amazing having competitions, gyms, and gyms that do competitions pop up all around not only the Northeast, but all around the country and the world."

The ninja experts say anyone can learn how to conquer ninja obstacles with the right amount of practice and training.

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