Longtime Gymja Warrior member Analise Grady’s first appearance “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” TV show over the weekend and it was only fitting that she won all three matches and advanced to the semifinals thanks to her domination of the 13-foot Warped Wall.
For starters, Analise, a freshman at Billerica Memorial High School, beat Evan Andrews from Montana in the seeding round. The two combatants were dead even heading to the Warped Wall portion of the race, but Analise conquered it on her second try, outlasting Evan for the victory.
After taking out Bryce Heckard from Las Vegas in the first knockout round, Analise moved on to the final showdown where she met Evan once again. In the rematch, Analise trailed Evan early on, but when he failed to get up the wall, Analise caught up and then scaled the wall on her very first try, a move she has completed at Gymja Warrior hundreds of times over the last three years, to prevail once again.
You can watch Analise’s victory by clicking the above video.
Analise now moves on to the Sweet 16 in a episode that is expected to air this winter or in the early spring.
“American Ninja Warrior Junior” is a spin-off of the popular American Ninja Warrior” show that began airing on Universal Kids, NBCUniversal’s cable network for kids, two weeks ago. She was one of 192 kids to be selected out of more than 6,000 applicants.
Click here to learn more about Analise Grady and why she credits Gymja Warrior for helping her qualify for the show.
Below you can view the entire episode. Analise's first appearance, including a quick feature about her softball career, begins at the 25:00 mark:
Gymja Warrior is teaming up with Toys for Tots this holiday season by serving as a drop-off point for new, unwrapped gifts through December 13.
For more than 70 years, the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots initiative has collected and distributed more than 16 million toys, nationwide to nearly seven million children each year.
Gifts can be brought to Gymja Warrior locations in Danvers (150R Andover Street) and Woburn (10U Gill Street) during regular business hours, or a donation can be made via a check or money order if made out to Toys for Tots.
“Our goal is to continue support our local communities and families in need during a time of year when they really need it,” said Gymja Warrior owner Joshua Rudin. “No family should have to choose between paying bills and buying gifts. Both of our locations are near the local malls so we encourage people to buy an extra gift or two while they are out shopping, and then drop it off to us on their way home.”
Gymja Warrior is also hosting its final charity open gym session on Friday, Oct. 26 in Woburn from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with 100% of the profits benefiting the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund and families affected by the gas explosions in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence.
In conjunction with the Essex County Community Foundation, the open gyms will feature certified professionals teaching Ninja Warrior, Parkour and Aerial Awareness. All ages are welcome and admission is $25 for one hour and $40 for all three hours.
In addition, on Saturday, Oct. 27, a Gymja Warrior team will participate in the VisionWalk charity event in honor of a Gymja Warrior coach who suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disorder that causes tunnel vision, decreased night vision and blindness.
For more hours of operation, please visit www.GymjaWarrior.com
Gymja Warrior announces charity open gyms to benefit Merrimack Valley families affected by gas explosions
Gymja Warrior will host charity open gyms throughout the month of October, with 100% of the profits benefiting the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund and families affected by the gas explosions in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence.
The dates and locations are as follows:
FRIDAY, OCT. 5 in WOBURN: 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCT. 12 in WOBURN: 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCT. 19 in DANVERS: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCT. 26 in WOBURN: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
In conjunction with the Essex County Community Foundation, the open gyms will feature certified professionals teaching Ninja Warrior, Parkour and Aerial Awareness. All ages are welcome and admission is $25 for one hour and $40 for all three hours.
Gymja Warrior is also accepting direct donations via credit card at GymjaWarrior.com/cares.html with gifts of $50 receiving a free open gym pass, and donations of $100 or more receiving a free open gym pass and a Gymja Warrior t-shirt.
“Most of us in the Gymja Warrior family know someone directly or indirectly affected by the recent gas explosions,” said Gymja Warrior owner Joshua Rudin. “Our goal is to raise $5,000, so we want to get the word out and let people know every little bit will help provide an immediate lifeline for families that do not have access to insurance or Columbia Gas payouts.”
With its newly launched Gymja Warrior Cares initiative, Gymja Warrior is committed to supporting its communities, coaches, and members through fundraising and charitable giving. Earlier this month, Gymja Warrior brought its Gymja2Go obstacle course to the Boston Heart Walk at the Hatch Shell in Boston. On Saturday, Oct. 27, a Gymja Warrior team will participate in the VisionWalk charity event in honor of a Gymja Warrior coach who suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disorder that causes tunnel vision, decreased night vision and blindness.
For more information, call 978.816.6767, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow the Gymja Warrior Facebook Page.
When Analise Grady first walked into Gymja Warrior in Danvers three years ago, she had no idea that her life was about to change.
The then-11-year-old from Billerica and her sisters told their father, LaShadric, that they wanted to try the same obstacles they saw on the popular American Ninja Warrior TV show. After his good friend Kristina Boldebuck did some research and found Gymja Warrior, LaShadric and Kristina took their daughters, Analise and Naomi, to an open gym and after just a few hours they were hooked. Over the last three years, Analise and Naomi have rarely missed a week going to Gymja Warrior and the trip to Danvers has become a part of their regular routine.
Fast forward three years and Analise is anxiously anticipating the premier of "American Ninja Warrior Junior," a new "American Ninja Warrior” spin off that she will be featured on after being one of 192 kids to be selected out of more than 12,000 applicants. The first of 20 episodes airs Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. on Universal Kids, NBCUniversal’s cable network for kids.
"It's exciting," says Analise, now 14 and a freshman at Billerica Memorial High School. "It was a great experience and I can't wait to finally sit down and watch it on TV."
Of course, being chosen to compete in American Ninja Warrior Junior did not happen by the luck of the draw. Analise has dedicated herself and has put in hours and hours of training over the last three years,, with much of that hard work taking place at Gymja Warrior.
Here are five things you need to know about Analise before seeing her appearance on American Ninja Warrior Junior.
1. She is a previous National Ninja League champ
In February 2017, Analise was crowned a National champion in the very first National Ninja League Youth National Finals . The National Ninja League is an organization that hosts Ninja Warrior style competitions all around the country. After qualifying in a local competition, Analise went to the national finals in Connecticut where she prevailed in the Female Preteen Division.
2. 2017 made her the "Queen of Firsts"
Analise is a well-rounded person and her success as a ninja athlete is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to her success on the National Ninja League stage last year, she was also named to the first USA Softball Region 1 All American team in the summer of 2017 as a pitcher and outfielder. What's more, she was part of the 2017 Locke Monsters Robotics team from the Locke Middle School in Billerica that became the first middle school in the state to reach the quarterfinals at the VEX World Championships in Kentucky.
3. Gymja Warrior played a major role in her development
When Analise first became a member at Gymja Warrior she was 4-foot-6 and about 60 pounds. But after attending classes at Gymja Warrior religiously every Tuesday night, often working with Master Sensei VInce Klapper, a 2015 contestant on American Ninja Warrior, she quickly started to gain strength and muscle, which, in turn, helped her tremendously in other sports.
Within a year, her fastball on the softball mound went from 38 m.p.h. to 50 m.p.h.
"Now, she's a 5-foot-4, 130-pound piece of muscle," says her father with a laugh. "The best part is, she never considers going to Gymja as 'working out' because she has so much fun doing it. She didn't even realize how much the cross-training was actually helping her in other sports."
4. She spent five days in LA this summer taping the show
Analise and her dad were flown out to Los Angeles in July and spent five days there for the taping of the show. American Ninja Warrior Junior is different from American Ninja Warrior in that the competition is a NCAA-bracket-like format where participants take on each other head-to-head until a champion is decided. The courses feature well-known Ninja Warrior obstacles, including the Archer Steps, Tic Toc, Devil Steps, Floating the Flying Shelf Grab, and the Warped Wall. Analise competed in the 13-14 year old age group that had Meagan Martin and Kevin Bull as mentors.
In addition, the crew from “American Ninja Warrior Junior” came to Billerica in August to do a hometown shoot of Analise, getting footage of her at home, doing robotics her team and on the softball field as part of her competitor profile on the show. Currently, there are "Meet the Ninja" segments available on most on demand cable TV platforms.
5. She can't talk about “American Ninja Warrior Junior” results
By now, you are probably like us and want to know how Analise fared at the American Ninja Warrior Junior competition. But here's the catch: She and her family signed an agreement that they would not discuss the end results, which means we'll just have to tune into UniversalKids starting Oct. 13
"All I can say is that I had a blast out in LA and met a lot of really cool kids and ninja athletes and made some friends," Analise says. "I was nervous and excited all at the same time. And I feel like I did my best. But that's all I can say."
"It doesn't matter if they’re here for a half day or the full day, none of the kids ever want to leave. They always want to try that technique, or beat that obstacle, one more time. They want to show their parents how much they've progressed."
-- Gymja Warrior Coach Kevin Beakey
With another year of Gymja Warrior Summer Camps almost upon us, there’s not a better person to speak to about the popularity of our camps than Kevin Beakey.
Kevin has been a part of the Gymja Warrior family from the very beginning, when the Danvers location opened in early 2015. In addition to his duties as Business Development Manager, the Endicott College graduate is also a member of the Gymja Warrior coaching staff and the Boston Celtics professional dunk team.
But of all the different hats he wears, Kevin gains the most joy out of watching his Gymja Warrior campers come in each summer and accomplish things they never thought they were capable of. He spoke to us about how the camps have evolved over the years, what the kids and parents like best about their participation, and what advice he would give to a first-time camper who will be attending this summer.
1. This will be your third summer as part of the Gymja Warrior Summer Camp coaching staff. What’s new this year, and what’s changed over the years?
Oh, we’ve come a long way and grown immensely. While we’ll still have a very good coach-to-kid ratio, we’ve really made a huge effort to refine the programs so they focus on the things that will help the kids get better and stronger, while at the same time we make sure they have a ton of fun, meet new friends and engage with each other.
New this year is the option for parents to drop off early (between 7:30-9:30 a.m.) and/or pick up late (between 3-4 p.m.). This makes it easier on those parents who have to get to work early or stay at the office late, and during that extra time we will make sure the kids are supervised and having fun. We are also giving away free Gymja Warrior drawstring bags to all weekly campers!
2. What is the coaching philosophy at Gymja Warrior Summer Camps?
We try to get every kid to learn through failure and to set and conquer goals. We put achievable goals in front of them, and then they have a great support system with the coaches and fellow campers to help them reach those goals.
And when they accomplish those goals, the coaches get as much pleasure out of it as the kids. I still get goosebumps when a kid finally climbs that wall for the first time, or gets through a course that has given them some difficulty. They are going to have to work at anything they accomplish in this camp, but when they get there, it’s something special for the kids and the coaches.
3. What do the kids typically like most about the Gymja Warrior Summer Camps?
Wow, that's a hard one to narrow down. I guess the biggest thing is the kids really enjoy all of the unique activities they are able to do on a daily basis.
At other camps you usually see the kids play different field games and stuff like that, and while that can be fun, nobody at those kinds of camps is learning to do flips. They're not learning how to run up warped walls, or beat different obstacles, or master ultra-mega lava courses.
It doesn't matter if they’re here for a half day or the full day, none of the kids ever want to leave. They always want to try that technique, or beat that obstacle, one more time. They want to show their parents what they've done and how much they've progressed.
4. What about the parents?
They like the fact that their kids have a blast, but are also exhausted when they get home (laughs). We've had many parents send us pictures during the tail end of the week of their kids asleep in the backseat of in the car on the ride home.
And the parents also love that their kids always want to come back. There are so many cases of kids trying Gymja Warrior for the first time at a Summer Camp and then become regulars here, which we obviously love to see happen, as well.
5. What advice would you give to a first-time Summer Camper?
Go for it! We've tailored things in a way that everything we work on in the camps is scalable and that goes for the not-so-athletic-5-year-old to the a kid who’s at an advanced level.
The main thing we tell everybody when they first come in is that you are not going to master every skill or every obstacle the first time you try it. Even we coaches fail at times. You've got to fail to get better and ultimately succeed. But when you do, it’s a feeling like none other.
Gymja Warrior will host a “Tournament of the Golden Gymja” competition for ages 7 to adult on Sunday, April 29 at its Woburn location.
“This competition is unlike any other event,” says Gyma Warrior owner Joshua Rudin. “We’re looking forward to watching some of the very best Ninja Warrior athletes in the area square off in a friendly, fun and challenging atmosphere.”
The tournament is comprised of three rounds. Points are awarded based upon completion, attempts on obstacles and mini challenges. Round 1 consists of 10 obstacles of varying difficulty, combining balance, agility and upper body strength. Round 2 features the last five obstacles from Round 1, plus five new ones while the third and final round includes three of the most difficult obstacles in the event.
The Tournament of the Golden Gymja will be divided into three age levels:
Winners will earn prizes that may include Gymja Warrior swag, Dave & Buster’s gift cards and cash for the ages 17 and over division. All competitors will receive a free Golden Gymja t-shirt.
To register visit www.gymjawarrior.com/goldengymja.html, call toll-free 833.543.9991 or email email@example.com
"What makes Gymja Warrior so special is the dedication of the coaches and the students. We all work so hard together and push each other. It's amazing to be a part of."
Defying the odds is nothing new for Scott Marraffa.
The 23-year-old Gymja Warrior coach has been an underdog his entire life, starting when he was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breath.
Because of his illness, Marraffa only has use of approximately 60% of his lung capacity, so he's not supposed to be working at a gym, or sticking to a rigorous training schedule. Going from 115 pounds to 150 pounds in less than a year is a rarity for those affected by the disease. It's most certainly not the norm for someone with CF to be selected to participate in a national qualifier for American Ninja Warrior, the popular reality TV show that serves as the inspiration for the obstacles and classes offered at the two Gymja Warrior locations.
Undaunted, Marraffa has spit in the face of his disease and accomplished all of the above, even though the median predicted survival age for people with CF was in the teens at the time of his birth, increasing to 40 years old today.
And he's not done. Not by a long shot.
After competing in the Season 9 qualifier for American Ninja Warrior in Cleveland last year, but not actually getting any TV air time or advancing to the next stage, Marraffa is at it again. He's putting together another video and has gone through the laborious application process, hoping to once again get picked from the thousands and thousands of other hopefuls across the country and invited to the qualifier.
"I'm really proud of what I accomplished last year," he says. "It was very disappointing and heartbreaking not to be on the show, but I'm just using that as motivation this year. That's what we're constantly drilling into our students' heads at Gymja Warrior. It's OK to fail. Everybody fails, even us coaches. But sometimes the only way to succeed is to fail at first."
Marraffa, who was born in Beverly, made it his goal to be on American Ninja Warrior in December 2013 after becoming a fan of the show. He started to work out four times a week and to make up for the deficiencies of having CF, he had to increase his daily intake of calories by 8,000. By the end of 2014, he had gained 35 pounds and was feeling as strong as he ever had in his life.
"I could barely do three pull ups and I was always getting sick, ending up in the hospital," remembers Marraffa, who drinks eight Ensure Shakes a day, and regularly eats a plentiful amount of chicken, rice, beans and other high protein, high calorie foods. "But once I put on that weight and got in shape the change in my health was dramatic."
After finding out about Gymja Warrior online, he started taking classes with Master Sensei Vince Klapper, who just so happened to be a two-time competitor on American Ninja Warrior. Last summer, Marraffa become such a regular a Gymja Warrior he was hired as a coach.
"I couldn't have written a script any better myself," beams Marraffa, who will help Gymja Warrior in Danvers host the first Ninja Warrior Competition for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on August 12 (stay tuned to the Gymja Warrior website for more details). "Gymja Warrior has done so much for me. I don't take it for granted. I am so grateful for everything.
“What makes Gymja Warrior so special is the dedication of the coaches and the students. We all work so hard together and push each other. It's amazing to be a part of."
As he continues his dedication toward another shot at his ultimate goal, Marraffa has endured a challenging few months recently. He got hit with pneumonia in December, which derailed his training for a few weeks, and that came a few weeks after he had surgery to remove a catheter in his chest that he's had since he was 10 years old.
Nonetheless, he feels as though his regimen is back on track and he's feeling as optimistic as ever about his chances to get that call again from American Ninja Warrior in May.
Does he feel as though he serves as an inspiration to Gymja Warrior students?
"I hope so," he says. "That's why I do what I do. I try to teach by example. And if my story can be inspiring to them, that makes my job and my work even more rewarding.”
Parkour is a style of free running that takes advantage of obstacles in the way of the runner; it is a way to move around creatively to get from point A to point B. These obstacles require the runner to be extremely focused on their goal, as well as physically capable of completing a course.
Parkour utilizes all kinds of physical abilities, from running and jumping to swimming and climbing. It's a fun and unique way to exercise. Here are a few of the major health benefits of parkour, and why it is something everyone should try at least once:
Gives a full body workout. Parkour exercises the entire body, as the amount of running and jumping around works each and every muscle. This is a kind of workout that encourages people to have fun while tackling movements that are practical and fundamental for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Builds core strength. The core is the physical center of the entire body and is responsible for how we bend, twist and transfer strength. Developing a strong core is essential for preventing lower back issues and staying in shape. Everybody should aim for a core that has been fortified through parkour.
Improves cardio stamina. Parkour requires participants to be tremendously active throughout the entire course or class. The continual movement increases a person's physical stamina, keeping the heart in particularly strong. The enhanced cardiovascular power also enables increased oxygen flow to the rest of the body.
Promotes quick-thinking. Obstacles in a parkour class need to be dealt with speedily. There are sudden movements that will require split-second thinking, which helps people practice their instinctive decision-making abilities. This can lead to participants trusting their gut in everyday life.
Gymja Warrior can help your child - as well as people of all ages - become stronger and healthier through the classes we offer. To learn more about our parkour sessions, call 978-816-6767.
Load up your Nerf Guns and head to Gymja Warrior in Danvers for Nerf War Nights!
Gymja Warrior transforms into a giant battle zone -- complete with obstacles, barriers and hideout bunkers -- for Nerf Gun enthusiasts on the first Friday of every month.
There are two 90-minute wars (7-8:30 p.m for all ages and 8:30-10 p.m. for ages 12 and up). The cost is $20 per player, per session ($10 for annual members).
These fun, challenging and light-hearted Nerf Gun sessions are guided by our own Gymja Warrior coaches who encourage participants to work together in teams. All competitors must wear sneakers and bring their own Nerf Guns and eye protection. Gymja Warrior supplies all foam darts and will have extra guns and goggles on hand.
For more information, or to book your spot in the next Nerf Gun Night, visit https://gymjawarrior.weebly.com/nerf.html
Since opening our doors nearly three years ago, Gymja Warrior has quickly become one of the most popular venues on the North Shore to host kids’ birthday parties, thanks to our unique obstacles and structures and dedicated staff.
But now we are receiving national acclaim for our events, as KidsParties.Party recently named Gymja Warrior to its list of the "17 Most Unique Places in the U.S. to Have Kids Birthday Parties.”
Included on an esteemed group of venues located all over the country and national chains such as Young Chefs Academy and Rolling Robots, Gymja Warrior was the lone Massachusetts location to be featured and was ranked No. 13 overall.
“It’s a true honor to see Gymja Warrior receive this kind of national recognition,” said new Gymja Warrior owner Joshua Rudin. “It’s really a tribute to our hard-working and devoted staff who have helped created a fantastic atmosphere for parties and a stress-free experience for parents who plan the events.”
All Gymja Warrior parties include a supervised 60 or 90 minute session of age and skill-level appropriate activities for a minimum of 10 kids. There is also an option to get 30 minutes in our dedicated Pizza Party area, and Gymja Warrior provide candles, napkins, plates, silverware and a free Gymja Warrior t-shirt for the birthday boy/girl. The Gymja Warrior staff takes care of everything else, including setup and cleanup.
“The best part is that the kids are working out, but they don’t even know they are working out because they are having so much fun,” says Gymja Warrior Party Manager Adriana Urban. “Many of our guests at Gymja Warrior were first introduced to the gym by coming to a birthday party. And we’ve had parties for kids as young as five and for adults as old as 30. It doesn’t matter what the age group is. Everybody alway seems to have a great time.”
To read reviews and hear feedback about Gymja Warrior parties, please visit our Facebook Page. To book your party or for more information, visit the Parties Section of our website, call Adriana at 978.816.8005, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org