"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
by Master Sensei Vince
Parkour is a word you may have heard about by now, especially if you are a frequent visitor to Gymja Warrior. But what exactly is Parkour? To answer that question best you need to ask, what is movement?
Movement is something we do normally and usually naturally. Movement is a part of our everyday routine and is commonly overlooked as a key to our longevity. You see, a common everyday task can slowly become daunting the more we operate without focusing on our movement in our off time.
The definition of "mobility" is "the ability to move or be moved freely and easily." That's straight out of the dictionary. It's simple, yet so many people fail to understand what it means to be mobile. More importantly, so many people have no idea how to simply move FREE and EASY.
It's not simple, however, to “define” Parkour. To me, Parkour is an art. It’s the art of movement. It’s a discipline. It’s a learning experience. It’s risk to reward management. It’s not easy, and as much as I hate to say it, Parkour isn’t for everyone.
A true description of Parkour is the ability to move efficiently in your environment commonly progressing forward from one point to the next. There are a lot of misconceptions as to what Parkour is. I like to say Parkour is the new skateboarding. All of us who practice it, train differently and have mixed visions as to what it means. Those who don’t, see it as dangerous, crazy, or awesome.
Either way, that doesn’t take away how important movement is, no matter what form it comes from. Fall, fly, flip or football, Parkour and movement are one in the same.
From a firefighter climbing through a burning building, to a construction worker keeping balance while pouring concrete, or to that Dunkin Donuts employee running to catch the bus because they are late for their shift, movement is a clear and obvious focus in our everyday lives. When we begin to realize this, we can take control of our body and mind in order to live our lives or continue our career without fear of challenge, diversity or deterioration.
I’m not asking you to become a Parkour athlete and do flips off the wall, or instantly transform into a Ninja Warrior. I just believe we should pay attention to our body and prepare ourselves for success. We are our own worst enemy.
If you are interested in hearing more about Parkour, or are interested in a Gymja Warrior class, call us at 978-816-6767.
Hosting more than 20 parties a week, Gymja Warrior has quickly become a true leader in the birthday entertainment space over the last three years. Inspired by the hit TV show, American Ninja Warrior, Gymja Warrior ensures a one-of-a-kind, stress-free, birthday party experience for all ages.
Adriana Urban is Gymja Warrior’s Party Manager and spoke to us about why birthday parties have become such a resounding success for Gymja Warrior, what people should expect from a party at one of our locations and how our coaches make sure all participants leave with a smile on their face and looking forward to a return visit.
Adriana earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Endicott College in 2010 and lives in the North Shore area with her husband and 14-month-old daughter.
1. In your mind, why are Gymja Warrior birthday parties so popular?
I really believe it’s all about our coaches. They are so committed and encouraging and positive. They push the kids to do their best, challenge themselves and have fun. It’s a blast to watch them do their thing because they are so good at what they do. Sometimes the parents just sit there and watch the party in amazement at just how much fun the kids are having.
2. Do first-time visitors to Gymja Warrior sometimes feel intimidated when they first arrive?
Yes, sometimes there are kids who are shy or a little overwhelmed, but, once again, our coaches do an excellent job of interacting with them and motivating them to challenge themselves. By the end of the 90 minutes they have a new sense of confidence and can’t wait to come back for more.
3. What is the format of the parties?
All parties include a supervised 60 or 90 minute session of Gymja Warrior activities for a minimum of 10 kids. There is also an option to get 30 minutes in our dedicated Pizza Party area, where each kid gets one slice of pizza and if that’s not enough, additional food can be ordered. We also provide candles, napkins, plates, silverware and a free Gymja Warrior t-shirt for the birthday boy/girl. Additional shirts and/or water bottles can be purchased as party favors. All the parents have to bring is a cake and drinks. Our staff takes care of everything else, including setup and clean up.
4. What is the most common feedback you hear from people that have parties at Gymja Warrior?
I think people are surprised that you don't have to be an active person or an athletic person in order to come to our parties and have fun. The coaches will tailor all of the activities so that they are age and ability appropriate for everyone at the party.
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. 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.
5. What tips do you have for parents who are looking to host a party at Gymja Warrior?
The most important things to do are pick a date that works for everyone and decide on how big you want the party. The minimum is 10 people and the max is 60. After that, we pretty much take care of everything else. Our goal is to make the entire experience stress-free, easy and fun!
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 email@example.com
As first quarter and college semester grades come to a close at area schools, Gymja Warrior announces that it will award all Honor Roll and Dean’s List students with a free class or one-hour open gym session through Dec. 31, 2017.
Local students of any age are asked to present a current Honor Roll or Dean’s List certificate from their respective school at Gymja Warrior in Danvers or Woburn to receive a complimentary skill level/age appropriate walk-in class or one hour of open gym time, seven days a week. Both the walk-in classes and one-hour gym sessions are valued at $35.
“At Gymja Warrior, we teach how important it is to lead an active and disciplined lifestyle, but we also want our students to achieve success in school,” said Gymja Warrior founder and owner Shahab Afsharian. “It is our pleasure to reward all of the hard working students in the area who have proven they are excelling both inside and outside the classroom.”
Gymja Warrior provides a safe and fun haven for young and adult athletes that want to learn challenging ways to get fit, solve problems and set goals. Classes are divided into Little Ninjas (3 to 5 year olds), Young Ninja Warrior (6 to 10 year olds), Rising Ninja Warrior (11 to 17 year olds) and Adult Ninja Warrior and are designed to meet each student’s skill levels. Professional and certified coaches utilize Ninja Warrior obstacles such as the 15-foot warped wall, swinging ropes, trampolines and tire swings.
Students progressively learn how to express themselves through movement on all types of obstacles focusing primarily on improving full upper body strength, balance, and coordination in fun and challenging ways, while learning visually exciting and creative moves and techniques found in gymnastics, Parkour, freerunning and rock climbing.
Gymja Warrior also hosts birthday parties, team-building and corporate events, fundraisers and private functions.
Gymja Warrior Master Sensei Raymond Butler is a man who backs up his own words. And he’s got a Guinness World Record on his mantle to prove it.
“My mentality is that if you really want to do something, you can do it,” says the 30-year-old Butler, who joined the Gymja Warrior team over the summer. “If you put your mind to something, it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are. Because if you really work at it and commit yourself, you can do it.”
That’s exactly what the 5-foot-2, 145-pound Butler has done over the past decade. Growing up in Boston, he was always outside mimicking the moves of the Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles he saw on his TV. He played an assortment of sports as a youth, but his true passion was pulling off stunts and different jumps and flips. After graduating from Norwood High School, Butler started to take that passion to a new level by working out in a gym with a spring floor and tumble tracks. With a background in Taekwondo, the fundamentals of pulling off advanced handsprings and other stunts came natural to him.
“Before long I was doing all of the same flips and tricks that I had always been doing, but the level of difficulty was times 10,” he explains.
Butler’s dedication paid off, helping him appear on American Ninja Warrior (Season 6) as well as land jobs as a professional acrobat and NBA Performer. Along the way, Butler also become the world record holder for the longest backflip into a pair of trousers -- twice.
He initially broke the record back in 2013 when he took advantage of an opportunity to fly to Los Angeles and compete on the TV show, Guinness World Records Unleashed, where he pulled off a flip of 6-feet, 11-inches.
As exciting as it was to hold a world record, the adulation didn’t last long because Butler saw his record get one-upped just three months later when professional snowboarder Mario Fuchs topped him with a jump of 7-feet, 8-inches.
Undaunted, Butler went back to the drawing board, dedicated himself and went on NBC’s TODAY Show in September of last year to break the record again, on live TV, with an effort of 8-feet, 6-inches.
“The best part is hearing the crowd go wild,” says Butler. “I love it when I stick that landing and hear the cheers. It’s an amazing feeling.”
With the world record back in his grasp, Butler is now happy to be working with the Gymja Warrior team, mostly in the Woburn location. Since coming on board he has thoroughly enjoyed seeing guests come in, work hard and see results, just as he did on the road to mastering his craft as a tumbler.
“The great thing about Gymja Warrior is that people get to exercise without feeling like they are actually exercising, because it’s so much fun,” he says. “I’ve already see some kids come in and really enjoy themselves, but then after a few classes they kind of hit a wall. That’s when we tell them that not everything is going to come easy. They have to work at it.
“And when they do, all of sudden a few classes later you see them getting stronger and more motivated. For me, that’s the most gratifying thing of all. That’s why we come to work every day. To see people make progress, get stronger and achieve goals that they didn’t think were possible.”
All Gymja Warrior members can now take advantage of Ninja Warrior, Parkour, Tricking and Tumbling classes at both our Danvers and Woburn locations for just $150 a month. For additional information, call us directly at 978-816-6767.