Local middle school student chasing his “ninja” dreams

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Most middle school students are playing football or basketball or what some might say is a more normal sport, and Jackson Aultman does that too, but he's not your average 12-year-old. He's hoping to one day be the next American Ninja Warrior.

When Jackson was just six years old, he discovered the show American Ninja Warrior and dreamed of competing.

"I thought it was amazing," Aultman said. "I instantly got hooked and then a gym opened up here in Huntsville, and I signed up."

Now, after two years of training, that dream is coming true.

For the first time, there will be an American Ninja Warrior Junior with kids ages nine through 14; thousands auditioned, 200 were picked and only two are competing from the state of Alabama and Jackson is one of them.

"It was phenomenal," Aultman said. "Right when they said I was gonna be on the show, for about 2-3 days, I wasn't believing my mom. I was like no I'm not and then it finally clicked. I'm gonna be on the show and I can't describe it with words... you'd have to feel it to know what it's like."

Now that he's one of the top junior ninjas in the country, you might think Jackson's going to slow down, but his dreams don't stop here.

"It's amazing watching Jackson go through this journey," said Chris Moore, one of the owners and trainers of Ninja Obstacle Academy Huntsville.

Jackson wants to be a molecular biologist when he grows up; hence his ninja name being Atomic Ninja.

Moore says kids like Jackson are helping this sport grow from a show on TV to something that anyone can do.

"They are the future of the sport," Moore said. "We're gonna fast forward ten years and watch Jackson on American Ninja Warrior for adults and he's gonna take home the big prize."

Jackson hopes that any kids watching him will also be inspired to train to possibly be a ninja themselves.

American Ninja Warrior Junior premieres on October 13 at 6 p.m. central time on Universal Kids network. For more information about the ninja gym in Huntsville, visit their website.