By Matt Schickling
Wire Staff Writer
Dan Galiczynski has an unusual calling.
“I wasn’t the best gymnast in the world,” he said. “But I think I was born to do ninja warrior stuff.”
He was sitting behind a desk in the office at The Gravity Forge, a gymnastics and ninja warrior training center in Hatboro. The recreational fitness facility was buzzing during its Nov. 1 grand opening, but on a Tuesday afternoon at around 2 p.m., it was almost empty.
So Galiczynski, 27, had time to fill out his application to compete on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior for the sixth time. All five previous applications were accepted, and he’s confident he will compete again in the next season.
On the show, competitors race through a series of obstacles that test their strength and agility, like a warped wall, for example. Warriors have to scale this steep, 14-foot wall in just a few steps, and that’s just one part of the course.
In his first two attempts, Galiczynski struggled and failed in the qualifying round.
“There was nowhere to train for this stuff. I was coming up against these obstacles that I never tried before, and I did well, just not good enough to progress,” he recalled. “They’re so unique that training in any other way isn’t going to be sufficient.”
Gradually, ninja warrior gyms started popping up around the area, and Galiczynski traveled from his home in Ivyland to train in them.
These experiences gave him an extra edge, and he was able to make national finals in each of his last three appearances on American Ninja Warrior. But there were still no gyms to train in locally, so when the opportunity arose to start his own, Galiczynski jumped right on it.
Previously, the site of Gravity Forge was called Delaware Valley Fitness Center. The owners contacted him to be involved in the sale, and Galiczynski, along with partners Najah Brown and Krystal Mavroudis, took over the gym.
There was just one thing it was missing: a ninja warrior section. Galiczynski spent two months building obstacles, like his own warped wall, salmon ladder, floating boards and others.
“We try to make it harder than the show,” he laughed.
Galiczynski has always been drawn to this style of exercise, but has not always been a ninja warrior. He started with gymnastics when he was 8 years old, and kept with it through college as a member of Penn State’s gymnastics club. In his time there, the club won two national championships, and he was even president during his senior year.
But his biggest personal achievements are through coaching. For more than seven years, he coached the Hatboro YMCA boys gymnastics team. When he left the YMCA, the team dissolved, but moved to Gravity Forge, where they combined with the boys already training there to become the Gravity Forge Gymnastics Team.
“I thought I was done with it,” he said, but credited the boys he coached for renewing his passion for gymnastics and, eventually, American Ninja Warrior.
After he failed in his second appearance on the show, Galiczynski considered giving up. He received a phone call from a parent of one of the boys he coaches, telling him how much the boys liked watching him compete.
“If you come home and say, ‘Oh I’m done,’ what does that say to them?” he asked.
So before they start filming the qualifying rounds in March, Galiczynski will be training in his new gym, to make his team proud.
“That’s kind of my life: their success,” he said. “If I can not just coach them, but show them that hard work pays off, that’s what I want to do it for.”
The Gravity Forge is located at 2920 Turnpike Drive in Hatboro. For more information or to join, call 215–938–0900 or visit www.thegravityforge.com.