Sports like baseball and fencing didn’t give one Elon University freshman the adrenaline kick he wanted. Instead, he traded in the playing field for the obstacle course.
For some, "American Ninja Warrior" may just be an entertaining television show. But for Adam Dubowy, it’s his passion.
“Whenever anyone hears ninja warrior — if they know it — they think of the TV show,” he said. “And there’s actually a lot more to that.”
When class is over on Thursdays, Dubowy gets in his car and drives 45 minutes to Level Up in Thomasville. There, he trains with other ninjas for obstacles.
Dubowy has been practicing ninja since October 2016, when he decided to build his own obstacle in his backyard. He says he was already practicing fitness and invested in season eight of the NBC show when he decided to give it a try.
“I put it all together and my first attempt on it was miserable,” Dubowy said. “I would just fall down. I could barely get the bar out of the first rung, and I was like, 'OK, I just spent all this time and money to build this obstacle and I can’t even do it.' I have to be able to do it.”
His ultimate goal is to get on the show, "American Ninja Warrior." He auditioned for the current season, but didn’t make it. But that’s not stopping him from chasing his dream.
“Looking back at other things I do, just to see the progress I made versus how much better at balance strength or agility I’ve gotten, it’s just really cool to be able to think about where I started and where I am now,” Dubowy said.
Once he started practicing ninja, Dubowy knew it was going to be something he loves.
“Baseball games I would never really look forward to. Fencing — going to take a class at the fencing facility I would dread,” he said. “This is the first thing I can remember where I would always be looking forward to going into training and hanging out with the people there.”
What kept him going back to the gym wasn’t just the sport, but his fellow ninjas.
“I found a whole new group of friends that, for the first time in my life, I thought really cared for and supported me,” Dubowy said. “It was just addicting almost to go to the gym because I loved hanging out with these guys and ever since never looked back.”
This weekend, Dubowy and some of his ninja friends will be traveling to Baltimore, Maryland, for filming of the current season of "American Ninja Warrior." Though he’s not on the show, Dubowy says he’ll be able to be a course tester for the show.
“My first time testing last year, I was just blown away when I walked on to the set,” he said. “I was like, 'This is so cool, I can never imagine being here.' Just being able to see the obstacles and the whole course right in front of me, it was awesome. And being able to run the official course, it was awesome.”
Dubowy plans to audition again for the next season of "American Ninja Warrior." But for now, he’s focused on competing in National Ninja League competitions and wants to start a ninja club on campus to get more students involved.