VAN BUREN, Ark. (KNWA) — A Van Buren kid is climbing his way to stardom, showing off his ninja skills on a brand new television show.
Matthew Nichols,12, is bringing the sport of ninja warrior right here to Arkansas.
Nichols has been watching American Ninja Warrior for years, but when the opportunity for a kids version of the show, American Ninja Warrior Junior, opened up — he jumped at the opportunity.
After training for nearly a month, Nichols traveled to Los Angeles to compete for a national audience.
“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” Nichols said.
At any given moment you can find Nichols inside Cardio Studio in Van Buren, swinging through obstacles and running up ramps.
“He’s always hanging on something or climbing on something,” Nichols’ mother, Joy, said.
After a long application process, including sending over 20 submission videos to tv producers, Nichols made the cut to compete on American Ninja Warrior Junior.
“There was about 100,000 people that applied, and there’s 32 boys that got picked out of my age. So it amazing that I got the opportunity to go on the show,” Nichols said.
His experience in wrestling gave him the leg up against some of his other competitors. “You have to have good grip strength and just kind of swing around stuff all the time.”
The whole experience, inspiring the Nichols’ family to open up the first of its kind ninja training facility in the River Valley.
“We would love to see this grow in our state, we would love to see other kids get to experience the same things Matthew got to experience. It’s been neat to do something with the whole family,” Joy said.
To give other local kids and adults the opportunity to train and compete in this growing sport.
“Maybe you’re not one that wants to play football, or basketball is not your thing, or track. This gives us another option here in the River Valley to compete, to get your kids involved in something that’s positive, that’s physical, that helps them with their self esteem,” Joy said.
American Ninja Warror Junior airs on Universal Kids Network on Saturday nights.
For more information on the Ninja classes offered at Cardio Studio, click HERE.