What happens when 37 Ninja Instructors from 17 states gather in one place for 5 days and you add a mini bike park, a jump line, 1 outdoor shower, and 547 cups of coffee?
Ninja’s first ever Instructor Retreat.
The goal was simple: to join forces to further develop the Ninja curriculum so it’s clear and consistent, keep an open dialogue, and to ultimately deliver you the very best skills instruction in every corner of the country.
What does all this mean for YOU?
This means that wherever you choose to attend a Ninja event, you can know with confidence that you’re getting the most up to date teaching techniques to help you take your riding to the next level. As instructors, it is our job to never stop learning and to always be pushing and progressing our own riding. Ninja is committed to helping all of our instructors on this learning journey by offering consistent training and feedback opportunities.
What do you teach the teacher?
Over the course of 5 days, we covered it all!
Back to Basics
We spent an entire day reviewing the Fundamental Clinic curriculum, our most popular clinic offering. The Fundamentals Clinic is designed to give a comprehensive overview of all the foundational skills that create an important baseline for riding success. Notice that we don’t call this a “Beginner Clinic”? This curriculum is designed to challenge riders of all ability levels because at the end of the day, perfecting your foundational skills is paramount to tackling more advanced skills. Our instructors further developed their tool box of skills, drills and feedback to offer up to participants. We guarantee that riders of all ability levels will roll away from a Fundamentals Clinic with light bulbs going off.
Corners, Drop and Jumps OH MY!
A major highlight of the retreat was learning from world-renowned instructor and former pro downhill racer, Simon Lawton from Fluidride. Simon provided his insights on some of our more advanced curriculum, namely teaching corners, drops and jumps. We did an in-depth dive into body position, footwork and pressure control. Oh and did we mention the pre-turn curriculum? What’s a pre-turn you ask? I guess you’ll just have to come ride with us to find it.
Our instructors learned new ways to help you find your balance point through static demos like the manual static hold pictured below. Have you been wanting to learn how to manual? Ninja Instructor reporting for duty!
Sharing is caring.
With instructors spread out all across the country, we love it when our team has an opportunity to sit down face to face and share their experiences with one another. How do you like to teach [insert skill]? What props do you like to teach with? What sayings do you use in your clinics? What has or hasn’t worked for you in the past?
Rolling with the (weather) punches
We spend a lot of time and effort planning out the logistics for our 600+ clinics yet sometimes, despite all the preparation in the world, you get thrown a curve ball. Like a snow storm in May. Here is what this dusting of snow taught us – attitude is everything. A positive attitude and a little ingenuity can turn a May snow storm into a great day of learning.
Time to trade in our bikes for a new form of transportation… we added 15 kayaks to the equation for a little friendly competition on the river. Here are your top paddlers!
It’s not a Ninja party without a little live music and a dirt dance floor, am I right?! Local family band Jazz Cabbage performed with 11 year old front man Jacob Junior bringing down the house (err… tent) with a soulful rendition of House of the Rising Sun. A future star in the making!
After the snow melted and we were cleared to ride Spence Mountain, the crew suited up to see for themselves what all the buzz is about. Flow? Check. Tech? Check. Smiles ear to ear? CHECK CHECK CHECK!
Ninja Instructor Jeremiah “Scratch” Stone has a secret talent. In addition to being an awe-inspiring rider and instructor, he’s a master trail builder. Jeremiah worked hard for 6+ weeks to build out a private mini bike park at Ninja World HQ specifically designed to offer a wide variety of progressive features perfect for teaching and learning.
Throughout the weekend, Ninjas scored helmets and sunglasses from our valued sponsor, Rudy Project. Thanks for keeping our domes safe and stylish.
Huge Ninja thanks go to Zach’s Bikes in Klamath Falls for getting Ninjas from all over the country set up on demo bikes and to Dirt Mechanics for working so hard to build and maintain one of our new favorite trail systems, Spence Mountain.
The Mushy Stuff
The Ninja family is elated to have such an incredible, fun and hard-working group of instructors. We can’t wait to continue to grow with you all!
On behalf of the entire 70+ Ninja instructors, we cannot WAIT to ride with you at a clinic near you!
I was actually surprised to learn so many little tricks!
Last Sunday I went to the Intermediate/Advanced mountain bike skills class in Malibu and loved it! I bike quite a...
Last Sunday I went to the Intermediate/Advanced mountain bike skills class in Malibu and loved it! I bike quite a bit and feel comfortable doing pretty tough trails, but I had never learned proper riding technique. This clinic focused on the skills needed to properly ride obstacles and how to ride them with maximum efficiency. I'm a professional drum instructor and I really enjoyed Richard's teaching methods. He not only showed us how to do something, but WHY we should do it. It really makes the information stick! Kris was great too, super motivating! I was actually surprised to learn so many little tricks and can't wait to practice them on my own! I'd love to go to another clinic or do a one on one session soon. ~Andrew T.
I love to ride bikes, and I love to ride them fast. After some years of road riding, I decided...
I love to ride bikes, and I love to ride them fast. After some years of road riding, I decided (read: my boyfriend suggested) that I should give mountain biking a try. And not just weekend lah-de-dah, pack-a-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich mountain biking--I decided I was going to RACE mountain bikes. After all, it couldn't be THAT hard, could it? I mean, I knew how to ride/race a bike, I had great fitness, and I had a totally sweet custom-built race mountain bike (courtesy of said boyfriend). So I signed up for a local race series. Well, several races and countless crashes later (and, allegedly even some tears--although I will deny it to my grave), I wanted to put the kibosh on my mountain bike race career. I had so many cuts, scrapes, gashes, and bruises that you'd have thought I was trying to bring the "mummy" look back into style with all my bandages. (Honestly, I should have bought stock in Band-aids and Advil.) And those were just the external wounds.... My pride/ego and my psyche took a big hit, too, and not even my beautiful series overall winner trophy could take that pain away (yes, I did win, but it wasn't pretty). I just couldn't understand how I could be so terrible at something (ie, how I completely lacked the bike handling skills to navigate around a course crash-free). However, instead of heeding my calls to sell/destroy/part-out my mountain bike--which at that point I had taken to calling "That Stupid Bike"-- my boyfriend suggested that I take a mountain bike skills class with Ninja Mountain Bike Skills. (My boyfriend....he is so full of suggestions). So, in March 2013 I took the Beginner Level 1 class and, wow! Boyfriend's idea was great (for once)! What an amazing and transformative experience. I had...
Aaron Lucy ran an AMAZING training camp,even as an experienced rider I learned all kinds of new skills about corning,...
Aaron Lucy ran an AMAZING training camp,even as an experienced rider I learned all kinds of new skills about corning, technical riding up and down trails, even properly setting my shocks for my exact body weight and riding style! Aaron knows his stuff and I highly encourage anyone even considering a training session to get on it! I use the skills I learned almost constantly when I ride (about once a week!) ~Bruce Barnes
I recently took the intermediate/advanced clinic. It was excellent and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve...
I recently took the intermediate/advanced clinic. It was excellent and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve their skills. All the instructors were great and made the clinic very fun and informative. ~Greg E.
They took time to explain the reasons behind what they were teaching …
I recently attended the Ninja Mountain Bike Performance -Jumping mini-clinic on March 10 along with Sorellas Jean Miller and Robin...
I recently attended the Ninja Mountain Bike Performance -Jumping mini-clinic on March 10 along with Sorellas Jean Miller and Robin Allen, another lady, and a few good men. The instructors at the clinic went above and beyond for us ladies and the entire group. During the clinic the instructors demonstrated the skills multiple times and then let us practice as we pleased. They were excellent at providing insight and recommendations as to how we could improve. They took time to explain the reasons behind what they were teaching and the variances based on rider size and body mechanics. I cannot say enough how they helped us ladies figure out how to correct our body position and land the jumps exceptionally. At one point it began to rain and after making sure we wanted to continue, they made sure the conditions were safe, checking the ramp and ensuring our safety. We were unable to finish the trail part of the clinic due to the rain and risk of damaging the trails, which they were considerate of as well. However, the instructors are allowing us to continue at another clinic anywhere they teach. How awesome is that! Rarely will you get another chance to continue something once you start it. Just another kudo to this company. Professional, kind, knowledgeable and one of a kind. Just the key elements you want from a mountain bike clinic. Be sure and check them out, you will not be disappointed! ~Emily Davenport
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.