By ANNELISE DEMERS
Twenty-year-old Luke Dillon has made it through the qualifying American Ninja Warrior rounds in San Antonino and is headed to the semifinals in Los Angeles within a couple of …
By ANNELISE DEMERS
Twenty-year-old Luke Dillon has made it through the qualifying American Ninja Warrior rounds in San Antonino and is headed to the semifinals in Los Angeles within a couple of weeks. This is his second year competing on the show.
“I made it to semifinals last season, but with my added experience this year, and all the training in between, I believe I can easily surpass last year's performance,” said Dillon. He is competing for the chance to win $1 million.
Dillon is not waiting for Los Angels to give back to his community. This Sunday, June 26 Dillion will be hosting a ninja competition fundraiser at Laid-back Fitness to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club.
Dillon's biggest inspiration throughout his ninja journey has been his dad who always encouraged him to train and chase the dream of being on the show. His father passed in 2019.
“The show is an amazing experience. Those courses are easily some of the most fun things I've ever done. The obstacles are huge, there are cameras everywhere, and under the bright lights the pressure is definitely on, but I love that part of it. I think that sense of being on the biggest stage is what makes it all so thrilling,” said Dillon.
Dillon's ninja journey all began in 2015 when he was only 14 years old and competed in the first-ever ninja run at Laid-back Fitness. He decided to take on the adults and gym owner, Ryan McGowan, was impressed. McGowan was not only impressed by Dillon’s raw athletic ability but by his character.
“He is a good mix of confident and humble. He knows his ability but he doesn’t brag about it or try to show off,” said McGowan. “We are really proud of him and hope he inspires other kids to work and train hard.”
Not only does Dillon train at Laid-back Fitness but works there as well. Dillon trains children ages 4 to 17 in his ninja ways. Sometimes when covering a class he ends up teaching his mother who trains at the gym as well.
“Working at the gym and training young ninjas is awesome. It's so cool to see how dedicated they can be at a young age, and how passionate they are about improving and chasing their goals. Kids that have been doing Ninja for a while develop a real understanding of how to run courses and complete obstacles and are capable of some unbelievably impressive things. It's super exciting to think about them one day getting their shot on the show as well,” said Dillon.
Dillon is the first adult ninja from Laid-back Fitness that has competed on American Ninja Warrior. American Ninja Warrior Junior competitor Carson Dean from West Warwick competed a couple of years ago and also trains at Laid-back Fitness. Laid-back Fitness offers both a ninja gym and a regular gym for strength and conditioning training. McGowan says the gym really tries to focus on embracing natural movement.
“I started competing in Ninja Warrior because I liked the idea of having one focused goal: completing courses and seeing the work I put in towards that goal pay off in real-time. I also thought flying through the air and playing on giant obstacles seemed really fun,” said Dillon.
In order to achieve his goal of being on the show and hopefully winning Dillon puts in the time. He trains every day at the gym for a couple of hours and outside the gym focuses on mindset training.
Dillon not only feels extremely blessed and thankful for what he has achieved but wants to give back to others in his community. Although he was not a member of the Boys and Girls Club, growing up he saw the positive impact the club had on his friends' lives and wanted to give back. The competition this Sunday is open for ages 6 and up. There are three categories and starting times are broken down by age. Competing first will be the 6-9 years old at 9 am, then following them ages 10-13 at 12:30 pm then finally 14+ starting at 3:30 pm. There will be a $300 prize for the winner of the 14+ male and female divisions at the end of the series.
“I wanted to support and raise money for the Boys and Girls Club because I believe that having access to athletics, nutritious food, and even just a safe place to go after school are all things that are extremely important in kids' lives, and the club's goal is to provide those things. I also think it's a fantastic place for kids to develop in the way of responsibility, and realize their potential as leaders. All of these things are goals and hopes I have for the kids I coach at the ninja gym as well,” said Dillon.
Dillon is set to compete in Los Angeles for the semifinals in just a couple of weeks. The Laid-back Fitness community and local ninjas will be cheering him on and over the warped wall.
“Competing on the show means everything to me. I train for it year-round and winning it all has been my goal since I was a kid watching from home. Having this opportunity now and seeing the work I've put in pay off is incredibly exciting. Getting to represent my hometown, and everyone who has supported me along the way is a really rewarding feeling as well,” said Dillon.
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