Why living playfully is the solution

All parts of the School for Ninja training are based on science and the knowledge of experiential experts.
The content of the game is made in collaboration with lifestyle coaches and therapists.

On this knowledge page you can read more about:
theories, used science and other interesting insights about stress and play.

The science behind School for Ninja

From big-bang to burn-out

Stress is the feeling that you have when you have the idea that you have to adapt to something that is in danger of exceeding your adaptability“. – From Big Bang to Burn-Out

School for Ninja uses science from this book and from the successor ‘Live like a beast‘ for the content of the training.

“Play will soon be the only thing left for us, if the robots have taken over all the work. We’d better take it seriously.” – Live like an animal

Homo Ludens

The Dutch historian Johan Huizinga is world-renowned for his theories in the Home Ludens. Huizinga describes how our culture comes from our games. One of our favorite quotes from the book (1938):

Technology, publicity and propaganda are provoking competition everywhere. Commercial competition is not an original, ancient and holy game.”

We are very curious what Huizinga thought about social media …

Man, Play and Games

The French historian Roger Caillois wrote his book Man, Play and Games in response to the Homo Ludens. Caillois also mentions how our games and our culture interact. Caillois made a taxonomy of play in our culture and explains the psychological and social connections between these types of play in our culture.

In School for Ninja we mainly use the play types: Simulation and Vertigo (see explanation below).

Theory U

Learn from the future as it emerges.

Theory U is the change methodology that is in line with the idea that our world is constantly changing and that adapting to the current situation always means something different. The 5 phases in our game are based on the phases from Theory U. From awareness to implementation of something new. Theory U principles such as ‘discovering the blind spot (the invisible core of a problem)’ and ‘living in the here and now’ are also core of the School for Ninja philosophy.

Play freely with roles and physical sensations

Here you can see the taxonomy of Roger Caillois’ types of play in culture. There are 4 types: agon (competition), alea (games of chance), mimicry (role play) and ilimx (physical sensations). Of these types of play there are free forms (paidia) and regulated forms (ludus).

School for Ninja believes that ‘regulated competition’, or the performance culture, is overrepresented in 2019. To restore balance in our society we use the free forms of ‘role play’ and ‘physical sensation’ in our training.

We continue to learn from interesting insights on the internet …


ARTICLE: Why our children play less and less (and we are burned-out)

Rutger Bregman describes how in cultures where work and regulations become more important, something very important is lost, namely free experimental play.

Based on research results, he knows how to make the link between the rise of burn-out and the decline of free play.

VIDEO: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Jane McGonigal was a game scientist and designer when she heard that she would never be the same again due to a serious concussion.

She decided not to give up, but to use the power of games to heal herself.

Tip: Check out the other Ted talks and books by Jane McGonigal.

ARTIKEL: Why Playfulness Is the Key to Success in the 21st-Century

Why is playing in our youth not enough (anymore) in the 21st century?

And what does play look like when you are an adult?

Writer Zat Rana shares his ideas.

VIDEO: Tales of creativity and play

Tim Brown explains why we can play freely as children and why we no longer do that when we become adults.

It seems to have everything to do with shame. As adults, we care about what the other person thinks about us…

… and of course from our players!

On this photo impression you can see how participants of one of our focus groups test the game together and exchange ideas about it.

In this focus group we brought together: 6 players (employees of an educational institution), 2 coaches, 1 HR team member and 2 School for Ninja team members.

Thanks to our focus groups we learn more about the needs of all these stakeholders; Where these needs are opposed and what everyone agrees with.