BYU’s Nerdy Ninja
Folks in BYU’s McKay School might know Taylor “Skippy” Bouton as the guy who helps fix their computers. But they might not know that Bouton is an undercover ninja.
Well . . . almost. On July 17 at 7 p.m. on NBC, the episode of the American Ninja Warrior Bouton competed in will air. All he can say is to watch the show to see how he did!
For the past three years, Bouton has been preparing to compete by intensely training in rock climbing, obstacle-course racing, and parkour (a training discipline that developed from military obstacle course training).
“When I was a little kid, we didn’t have cable or TV. The first time we got cable, we ended up just turning on the television and it just happened to be the Japanese version of the show [Sasuke],” Bouton shared. “I was eight years old and still thought my dad was a superhero. I was like, ‘Dad! I bet you could do that.’ My dad replied, ‘I’m too old for that, but I bet you could do it,’ and it’s been my dream ever since.”
|The Nerdy Ninja pictured with Drew Drechsel, the top Ninja in the world.|
During the school year, Bouton would train with his cousins between 6 p.m. and midnight. However, Bouton’s training was knocked off course when he caught clostridium difficile, a potentially deadly flesh-eating bacterium, in February 2013.
“It was during the end of my senior year in high school during cross country and track,” Bouton explained. “I started blacking out, whiting out, and lost twenty pounds. I couldn’t eat [for] up to two weeks at a time. Every time I ate, it felt like vomit going down my throat.”
In February 2014, Bouton received a fecal matter transplant from his brother through a tube down his nose. Remarkably, Bouton experienced a quick recovery.
“After I got my transplant, I was cured after two hours. I ended up gaining back twenty pounds within the first two weeks. It felt like night and day,” Bouton said. “It made training a lot more fun to get back into, since I felt like I could do things again.”
After Bouton’s recovery, the Ninja community adopted him. Some former well-performing competitors trained him. Overwhelmed by the support, he felt a need to give back to the community.
“My little sister is a competition gymnast, and a lot of her coaches knew that we had a bunch of Ninja obstacles in our backyard and thought it would be fun for the summer to do a Ninja camp,” Bouton explained. “We ended up bringing the obstacles in and brought some of the top competitors in because they’re good family friends. It was just so fun to teach little kids different skills.”
|The Nerdy Ninja and his younger brother, Noah Bouton, smile alongside Matt Iseman, host of the American Ninja Warrior.|
At eighteen years old, Bouton was invited to test on the American Ninja Warrior course in Orlando, Florida. Now at twenty-one, he is a competitor on the show.
“The ninja community is super friendly and outgoing. It was cool to see all of us as competitors, but we weren’t competing against each other; we were just competing against the course,” Bouton shared.
Looking back, Bouton is grateful for the opportunity to be a role model to little kids, who are the same age he was when he first started watching the show.
“It’s cool how I grew up watching all the competitors as a kid; they were my heroes,” Bouton said. “It was super cool to be on the flip side of that and meet all these little kids that were so excited to meet me and to be able to pay that forward.”
Be sure to tune into NBC on July 17, 2017, at 7 p.m. to see if the McKay School’s own computer-support representative and pre-med student, the “nerdy ninja,” is featured!
Writer: Janine Swart
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922