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Ganbaru combines obstacle navigation training (ninja, parkour, rock climbing) and heart training (character, behavior, attitude) to teach others how to overcome obstacles on a course, in the gym, and in life.



Ninja is swinging, balancing, and jumping through obstacles inspired by NBC's American Ninja Warrior like the warped wall, quintuple steps, jumping spider, and salmon ladder.


Parkour is moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing.


Bouldering is rock climbing stripped down to its raw essentials. Climb short but tricky routes using balance, technique, strength, and your brain.

ganbaru (gàńbáꜜrù) to commit oneself fully to a task and endure adversity without surrendering. 

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan


At Ganbaru Ninja Gym, our philosophy is rooted in the notion that grit and determination can help you overcome to become your best. Whether you face restrictions in your physical abilities or access to resources, we invite students of all backgrounds to challenge their limitations.

Strength on the inside and out.
We teach our warriors how to strengthen their bodies and characters. Our goal is to inspire courage, fuel dignity, and promote responsibility.



Elija Sansom

Two time American Ninja Warrior, Ninja Coach, Program Director and proud father of 3 ninjas.


Shanna Sansom

Homeschool teacher, Managing Partner, and proud mother of 3 ninjas warriors. 


Elias, Eliott & Elianna

These three junior ninja trainers are homeschooled and love the sport of ninja, parkour and rock climbing.



"Our family has been fortunate to be part of the Ganbaru family since its infancy. Our rock climbers were drawn to obstacle training and the opportunity to learn from an actual American Ninja Warrior was something we couldn't pass up. From our first interaction (we won a social media promotion to enter a pop-up competition), we were hooked. Coach Elija and Coach Shanna embody the ethics that we find most valuable in youth sports--hard work, perseverance, leadership, GRIT. They are creative, fun, and model what hard work can produce.

In their training over the past couple of years, our three oldest children have earned the respect of the local, regional, and national ninja community. They have won or placed in many events they compete in. Even more important than that, though, is that they have learned how to lose with grace and encourage all of their fellow ninjas to do THEIR best. Training for youth ninja events and working with such great people has made all four of our children better athletes and better HUMANS. We are hoping that the Sansoms will be able to continue their work in the ninja community so our fourth child can become part of Team Ganbaru."



Let's start from the beginning .. for the last three Ganbaru has be the one and only Ninja Gym in the City for Detroit.

In the summer of 2018, the owners of the Mack Athletic Complex sports dome graciously offered us the opportunity to launch our pilot program. From there we grew exponentially into one of the areas  favorite places for classes, day camps, birthday parties, open gyms and ninja competitions. 

Year after year, families from the area formed bonds through this new sport and students began to develop both physically and mentally into ninja warriors... navigating obstacles inside and outside the gym. 

Like many other small businesses, the COVID19 shut down hit the MAC and Ganbaru hard. The owner of the sports dome sold the building in May of 2021. 

As of today, Ganbaru is seeking a new home where it can grow, thrive and help it's community in meaningful ways.



6,000 to 12,000 square feet of  space with 15' to 30' feet  ceiling clearance.


Partnerships in the community  to help us offer this unique sport to Detroit youth.  



Unique solutions to help  pay for the cost of building out a new space.

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