American Ninja Warrior participants give you the skinny…

American Ninja Warrior participants give you the skinny…

From Jessica’s female domination ambitions, to Mike Koslap making Salmon ladder more like a killer shark and ofcourse our UE Instructors Sean and Johnny speak to the new ninjas. How can we forget Cristille’s persistance despite all the hardships and Mike Bernardo’s resolution to keep on going with no stopping in sight. Lastly, we top it off with Chadd’s Intensity and Justin Kydd’s unique combination of Rock Climbing and Parkour.

1. Describe what Ninja Warrior Night means to you in three words or less.

 Sean Hannah: Represent home team.

Justin Kydd: Extremely good fun!

Mike Koslap: Great time. Friends.

Johnny Sapinoso:  (no words to describe).

Chadd Clark: Benchmarking my progress.

Cristille Boyd: Fun, challenging, Awesome.

Jessica Nauta: Female Representation….Domination


2. Which obstacle freaks you out?

Sean: Our (UE) 15 1/2′ warped wall is a straight-up sphincter-clencher.

Justin: Anything that starts with a tramp jump. I have almost zero tramp experience!

Mike: UE’s Warped Wall

Johnny: Have you seen me? (Editor’s guess- Warped wall)

Chadd: Warped Wall

Cristille: The salmon ladder freaks me out.

Jessica:  Apparently the quad steps, the water adds a whole different element and makes them seem a lot farther apart than in the gym.

Mike B:  Anything with a minitramp to a grab! Also, the metal spin is a crapshoot.

3. Which obstacle makes you feel like a ninja?

Sean: That one. The clenchy one.

Justin: Quad steps! It looks really cool when you can smoothly transition from one step to the next, and it is a great pace setter.

Mike: Salmon Ladder

Johnny: Two fingered cliff hanger

Chadd: Warped Wall

Cristille: The spider wall

Jessica: In practice, the lache bars, imagine flying over bad guys heads in complete silence only to drop down for ninja revenge.

Mike B: The Jumping Spider/Spider Walk/Spider Climb. Who knew it was even possible, let alone so simple, before watching Ninja Warrior

4. Do you plan to compete in American Ninja Warrior next year? What are you doing to prepare?

Sean: Yes. Buying better shoes (Editor: You can email if you are curious about this statement)

Justin: Yes! I am going to practice a bit of everything, but mainly rope climbing and tramp jumps.

Mike: Yes. Grip work and specific obstacle training.

Johnny: Yes.  Writing out a speech for when I achieve total victory.

Chadd: Yes. Crossfit and traveling to multiple gyms for Ninja Warrior competitions/training (Editor’s note: may we shamelessly plug in your sunday trips to UE Alexandria for Competition training?)

Cristille: I do plan to compete next year. I will be training the warped wall, developing a new technique for the salmon ladder, and of course working tacks, grip, upper body strength, and endurance.

Jessica: YES YES YES! Quad steps until I cry, making sure I can get up UE’s warped wall without skipping a beat and building up my upper body.

Mike B: Absolutely. I’ll keep trying as long as they keep letting me! For ANW, I’m focusing on short duration, high intensity stuff, and trying to make it as Ninja-specific as possible. I’d also like to drop about ten pounds of this stress-flab I packed on after moving and starting the new job last year.

5. Do you have any advice for white belt ninjas out there?

Sean: First, “ninja” can be singular or plural but pointing that out makes you look pretentious unless you’re Japanese. Second, develop strong hands and strong feet. Without those nothing else matters. Third, avocados go great with almost anything.

Justin: Do NOT underestimate any obstacle that you have seen. Doing any one of them separately is not so bad. Doing multiple obstacles can really wear you down!

Mike: Do the Quad Steps 100 times before doing anything else.

Johnny: Triple step the quad steps, use your legs not just the arms on the log grip, test out the trampolines before jumping, wear shoes that will not fall off on the cargo net, lean back look up and accelerate up the warped wall, and wear something, or be inherently ridiculous if you want televised airtime.

Chadd: a) be able to do the quad steps in your sleep and do not underestimate them
b) learn how to hit mini trampolines correctly
c) learn how to breathe and control your nerves under pressure and scrutiny
d) be fearless in your approach to obstacles
e) get as physically strong as you can without sacrificing agility and speed

Cristille: My advice to whitebelts is adjust your sleep schedule ahead of time, rest the day before, and keep yourself calm through the course.

Jessica: People do well on the course that do parkour, but there are a lot of people that climb or generally workout that do well. Practice your parkour skills but condition yourself so you are not gassed at the end of the course. We saw a lot of people lose steam and you want to be able to dominate! GO NINJA GO NINJA GO!

Mike B:  Watch a lot of recordings of the Sasuke All-Stars (Nagano, Takeda, Shingo), Shin-Sei (Yuuji, Kanno, Hashimoto, Ryo), veterans (Kongu Takahashi, Yoshi), and ANW veterans (Strat, Levi, Brent, Orosco, Kasemir, Campbell etc) to get the techniques down. Pause, rewind, slow-mo, all that. Get a mental picture of what is happening, then visualize that before and during your obstacle training. Record yourself so you can see where you need improvement. Practice! Before ANW 2, I went from being a clumsy hulk-smash MMA and firefighter training guy without a clue about parkour or gymnastics or rock-climbing, to being pretty damn decent at a lot of the stuff within a few months. Do it. Do it.

And on that note – we leave you in your moment of contemplation as you resolve to be the ‘one’ who will be the next Ninja Warrior!

If you haven’t signed up already for the Ninja Warrior Night VI on July 14th – consider yourself warned. We SELL OUT FAST. Here is the registration link.


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