Obstacles are at the heart of all ninja competitions. Ninja is an extreme obstacle sport after all! Overtime obstacles have become increasingly more difficult and technical. Today, obstacles have their own multi-page section in our rulebook to ensure refs are consistently evaluating athletes performance on obstacles. We’ll cover these detailed obstacle rules in a later section. For now we will focus on the different recognized obstacle types!

Obstacle Types

Obstacle types group similar obstacles together by common functionality.

  • Foot Dexterity
  • Generating Swing
  • Climbing (moving with all four limbs)
  • Campusing Movements
  • Moving with Obstacles

These obstacle groupings help athletes to track performance across different obstacles that require similar abilities for the athlete to complete them.

Obstacle types are intended to reflect the dominant skill required to complete the obstacle. It’s worth noting different athletes may use a different approach or skill to complete the obstacle then the type assigned to the obstacle.

Obstacle types are assigned by course designers prior to any given competition. Course designers try their best to follow the definitions of each type provided below.

Course Designers

The individual(s) responsible for deciding what obstacles go into a competition are the course designers.

Foot Dexterity

This type encompasses most obstacles where the legs are the main body part used to get the athlete through the obstacle. Foot Dexterity obstacles require the athlete to have a good sense of movement originating from their lower body. These movements typically include running, jumping and balancing.

ascending steps

Generating Swing

These obstacles require you to hang and pump a swing to generate momentum to get you to the next obstacle. Traditionally these obstacles are suspended on ropes or chains. They require the athletes to hang onto on obstacles while they are moving and swinging the athlete to the next obstacle.

Climbing (moving with all four limbs)

Not specific to just rock climbing. Climbing obstacles are any obstacles were athletes use all four limbs to move through an obstacle. These full body obstacles distinguish themselves due to the coordination required from the entire body.

Campusing Movements

With these obstacles, athletes are strictly hanging or supporting and moving through the obstacle using their upper body strength. These obstacles are locked in place and do not move. Instead, the athlete moves through the obstacle. Occasionally these obstacles may tilt or pivot or rotate in place. Campusing movements can be done static or dynamic. They may sometimes require an athlete to lache or dyno between obstacles.

Moving with Obstacles

Traditionally obstacles stay in a single position. Even obstacles that rotate, spin or pivot will do so from a fixed point. The moving with obstacles type differentiates itself because the athlete must bring the obstacle with them through the course.


That concludes this section. You should now feel comfortable with the different obstacle types in ninja. For those interested in diving deeper into obstacles, our website features an obstacle database where you can filter obstacle by type, competition and creator.