Junior Karen Potts called to compete on American Ninja Warrior


Photo by NomadicHart Photography

Karen Potts trains to improve her ninja skills for the National Ninja League World Finals. The competition is in June and will be held in Lawrence, New Jersey. “I train for up to six hours a week, taking advantage of any chance I get to improve, “ Potts said.

With a hop and a swing, junior Karen Potts advances through her homemade ninja course in her backyard. The course was built with the intention of preparing her for the American Ninja Warrior course in San Antonio, TX. 

Filming the show was an amazing experience because I got to meet the other junior ninjas and compete against them, as well as meet some of the top pros.”

— Karen Potts

American Ninja Warrior is an American reality television show that showcases thousands of competitors who attempt to complete a series of obstacle courses of increasing difficulty. Potts has been training to compete since December 2018. Potts’ dream finally came true when she received a call from the casting company with an invitation to compete for the 2022 competition. Her homemade backyard ninja course significantly helped Potts reach this high level. Potts first competed in the American Ninja Warrior Junior Season 2, where she had to submit an application with numerous questions. In addition to  answering the questions, Potts had to send in several videos displaying her athletic abilities and ninja skills.“Filming the show was an amazing experience because I got to meet the other junior ninjas and compete against them, as well as meet some of the top pros,” Potts said.  

Potts was inspired to start training when she began watching American Ninja Warrior Junior. When she received her acceptance to participate on American Ninja Warrior, Potts was thrilled. “I never believed I’d get an opportunity like this. Many people apply every year so I didn’t think I would get chosen,” Potts said. 

Potts spends about six hours a week training, using either her backyard ninja course or a gym specifically designed for ninja training. Potts also plays soccer and softball. “Soccer and softball have helped me a lot with ninja because I have become a better athlete through them. I am also more confident in my athletic abilities, which is very important for ninja. Being engaged in multiple sports has also taught me to always work hard for what I want and it’s made me stronger mentally and physically,”  Potts said.

With school, extracurriculars and training, Potts has a rigorous schedule. Potts attempts to be efficient with her school work and complete as much as she can during school hours. Potts has set practices for softball, which requires her to attend those on certain days. When Potts gets the chance she makes her way to the gym and the ninja course to get as much training in as possible. “I also go on runs to build up my endurance,” Potts said.

In addition to Potts’ intense training, she also dedicates her time working with future ninja competitors ages 4-14 at the Dominique Dawes Gymnastics and Ninja Academy located in Gaithersburg. Overall, Potts said she’s had a great experience doing this sport.“It is such a fun sport and I have gotten so much stronger mentally and physically. I have become much more confident and learned how to control my nerves and act under pressure. It has taught me so much,” Potts said.