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.
Flips and Freerunning are great activities for both children and adults. While it can help to create healthy habits, leading to a healthy lifestyle, it is also extremely fun! Just ask any of our regular Gymja Warrior guests.
Gymja Warrior classes allow for students to learn maneuvers typically designated for Parkour, gymnastics and cheerleading.
While this is a fun activity for youths, it also has a lot of other benefits, that really help them down the road. Let’s look at some of these benefits and break them down individually.
Develop Healthy Bones: Since tumbling is considered a weight-baring activity, it helps to build and strengthen the bones. This does not affect children much as a young age, but as they get older, there is a lower risk for broken bones, as well as osteoporosis.
Coordination & Flexibility: To tumble at a higher level, it is important to build up coordination, as well as flexibility in order to perform specific stunts. This will also help in the future, as coordination and flexibility are keys in not getting injured. The more flexible you are, the less likely you are to have a muscle or bone injury, and alongside this, coordination is essential to avoiding injury.
Disease Prevention: Our classes can increase healthy behaviors and be a game changer when it comes to building a healthy lifestyle. It can help to prevent diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and cancer.
Emotional & Mental Wellbeing
Increased Cognitive Abilities: With the left and right side of the brain working together, tumbling can increase cognitive abilities of the brain. This can lead to higher test scores, as well as better classroom behavior.
Discipline: Having a class where you are pushing your body calls for self-control. Discipline is crucial and is something that really sticks in the long run.
Self-Esteem and Social Skills: Tumbling is an activity that is based on individuals, however, it can truly turn into a skill utilized in a team sport, such as gymnastics and cheerleading. Since it is individualistic, a lot comes from being able to land a certain move, or learning something new, which factors into the self-esteem factor, while also increasing social skills that will be a large element of everyday life.
For additional information, visit the program section of our website, or call us directly at 978-816-6767.
Master Sensei Vince Klapper wasn’t surprised by the initial reaction of the 80 high school freshmen from Salem Academy Charter School when they piled into Gymja Warrior in Danvers last Friday.
“At first you could tell they were kind of like, ‘What’s this all about? What are we doing here?’” Klapper explained. “They were all kind of staying in their little groups and not really communicating with each other very much.
In other words, the students and teachers got exactly what they were hoping for out of the event.
“It’s really cool to see everyone cheering hard and working as a team, instead of individuals or small groups,” said Christine Titus, a teacher at the Salem Academy Charter School, as she looked around the room. “Most of these kids have not been here before and they didn’t know what to expect. So it’s great for them to be here to try something they’ve never done before, use different muscles and, most of all, interact with some kids they haven’t before. That’s why we’re here.”
Gymja Warrior regularly hosts birthday parties and other events for large groups, who come in and try out replicas of Ninja Warrior obstacle courses in fun and challenging ways while also enjoying the visually exciting and creative moves and techniques delivered by Boston’s finest Parkour athletes.
“We end up having just as much fun as them,” said Klapper, who was one of six Gymja Warrior trainers on hand to help out. “Because we get a huge kick out of seeing kids come in here who are intimidated at first, but then end up having the time of their life. That’s what this is all about. That’s what we try to do every day.
“We want people to come here and not just exercise their body, but also make new friends and gain confidence. That’s what we’re seeing happen today, and that’s how we know we’ve done our job. It’s very gratifying for us and enjoyable for them.”
If you would like to book your next event or party with Gymja Warrior contact us directly at 978-816-6767.