I’m a fan of American Ninja Warrior. It’s a TV show and obstacle course competition that originated in Japan and is now serving up summer entertainment for us ninja wannabes.
Those who seem the most adept at conquering the tough obstacles are those with free running and parkour background and training. These are the dudes that use their creativity to jump and flip off of normal, everyday things like park walls and stairs. They sometimes jump from building rooftops. For them, it’s an art and it’s all about the creativity in how they get from one obstacle to the next.
I’ve noticed in many of the competitor profiles on the show, the contestants are working out at new-style parkour gyms, like this one (fun video). These gyms offer obstacles similar to what you might find in a park or urban setting and some obstacles that you see on American Ninja Warrior, like cargo nets, warped walls, the quad steps and salmon ladders.
Many of these obstacles are currently hand made out of plywood, boards and pipe from the home improvement store.
If the show and sport continues to gain popularity, this will be an excellent example to watch how the free and invisible hand of the market organizes resources to satisfy the desires of people looking to improve their fitness with American Ninja style obstacle courses.
Watch more parkour/obstacle gyms open up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an American Ninja Warrior-branded gym.
Watch companies start to make the obstacles for these gyms and for individuals as the handmade obstacles give way to the professionally designed and made obstacles. I wouldn’t mind having a go at the warped wall.
Just as cities installed skateboard parks, perhaps they’ll lay out new Ninja Warrior parks.
This trend could fizzle and go nowhere. But, if it grows, it’ll serve as a good example to watch as people try to respond to other people’s’ desires. Not everything will work. It will evolve and it may look different down the road. But, nobody is guiding this centrally. The invisible hand is at work.