Archive for June, 2012

Mid South on Deck

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

The “Mid-South” region, also previously called “South Central”, is on deck tonight on G4 and tomorrow (Monday) on NBC. There are a number of amazing athletes and veteran competitors in this tough region, quite a number of them from the dominant APEX Movement pack out of Colorado.

Jake “Love” Smith – Finalist from American Ninja Warrior 3, where he failed on the double salmon ladder in Japan, and professional free-runner who also competed in G4’s great Jump City: Seattle parkour/freerunning competition, Jake makes things look easy that are hard. A true threat to win it all. One of many APEX competitors in this region.
Paul Kasemir – Paul is a two-time American Ninja Warrior finalist, and competed in Sasuke (Ninja Warrior Japan) two times, reaching the third stage both times. Paul is ridiculously smooth and fast, and like his team-mate Jake Smith is one of the handful of competitors who are a threat to take down the $500k on top of Mt Midoriyama Las Vegas.
Jereme Sanders – Jereme is an icon in the parkour community having been a member of The Tribe, widely recognized as America’s first parkour team, and has competed in multiple seasons of American Ninja Warrior and in the single season of Jump City: Seattle. Jereme has a ton of experience attacking obstacles in his life, and a day on the course of American Ninja Warrior is just another day of play for him, so he’s a big threat to go deep out of the Mid South region.
Jaret Salas – Jaret is a first-timer to American Ninja Warrior, but I’ve been training with him for the last year and the dude is sick. Incredibly strong, agile, well-conditioned athlete that might just come out of nowhere and shock everybody. 505 in the house!
Josh Kronberg – Josh is a member of our unofficial “Middle-Aged Ninja Dads Club” of competitors. He’s a very dedicated competitor, and just barely missed advancing to the semi-finals in American Ninja Warrior 3. He’s got a great obstacle course in his backyard that he’s built and he’s trained on (including letting me play on it a few times), and he’s a very focused strong athlete with a lot of practical experience under his belt. Look for him to go far. Check out the competitor interview he gave me earlier. 505 in the house!
Risa Scott – One of the top women of American Ninja Warrior, and another amazing competitor from Team Apex, I can’t even do the Human Flag in my imagination as long as Risa can do it in real life (YouTube it if you don’t believe me). Risa is a threat to become the first woman to complete the opening stage in American Ninja Warrior.
Old Men of Austin – Interestingly enough, two of the strongest older competitors in all of American Ninja Warrior both hail out of Austin: Jason Bischoff and Craig Stiles, ages 44 and 48 respectively. They’ll be holding it down for the middle-aged guys in the Mid South!
Chris Okruhlik – Check out the interview and bio in the post below for more info on Chris! Check out his competitor interview.

As always, there are many deserving competitors that I’m neglecting here…forgive me.

American Ninja Warrior Competitor – Chris Okruhlik

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Chris Okruhlik, or more commonly known as Chris O, does a great interview for us talking about his experiences training for and competing in the world’s toughest obstacle course competition. Chris O competed in ANW2 and this season’s ANW4 in the South-Central region which airs this Sunday and Monday. He was shown in American Ninja Warrior 2 running in his trademark sleeveless tuxedo shirt, and will hopefully be shown in this season’s South-Central episodes.

Chris has a ton of heart, and is known in the competitor community for his enthusiasm and the strong support he gives his ninja brethren. I can attest to this personally…when I was battling for a spot in this season’s American Ninja Warrior I know Chris was working behind-the-scenes as a guaranteed invite to highlight that they needed to let me run!

So enjoy his story, and remember to root Chris O on every time he steps on the course!

Competitor Profile – Josh Kronberg

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In the third installment in my series on great competitors in American Ninja Warrior, I bring you Josh Kronberg who competed in ANW2 and ANW3. He just missed making the semi-finals in ANW3, and I think is a real sleeper competitor to shock some people in ANW4. He’s been training like a madman, and has a great course in his backyard that he’s built up with trademark obstacles like the jumping bars, the salmon ladder, and the unstable bridge among others. I’ve had a chance to hang out and train with him, and he’s a humble nice guy with serious determination to be the first American Ninja Warrior. In fact, I’m going down to Albuquerque to train with him again next week…lucky me! Hope you guys enjoy his story, and encourage him in his dreams.

American Ninja Warrior Profile – Ryoga Vee

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

In another in our growing series of competitor video interviews, we have the one-and-only Ryoga Vee! Ryoga has competed in every American Ninja Warrior, and I think has been shown in every season of ANW, and brings his own unique passion and flair to the event. Ryoga is a very accomplished parkour practitioner and a legitimate longtime underground fight club participant, and is one of the best known competitors in American Ninja Warrior.

Some people, particularly the introverts of the world, might not know what to make of Ryoga’s enthusiastic costumed approach to competing, but I will tell you this – Ryoga is authentically being himself, he has a joy and sincerity to his approach to American Ninja Warrior and to life that I admire and that we should all applaud. Plus, he has some great stories and insights in this video, so be sure to check it out and root him on!

Stacked Northwest on Deck

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

The absolutely stacked Northwest region is on deck for this Sunday night on G4 and Monday night on NBC. Whenever discussion is had about the strongest region in ANW4, serious consideration has to be given to the Northwest as the creme de la creme. It has arguably 5 of the top 10 competitors in it, and inarguably 5 of the top 20 competitors.

David Campbell – Everybody who competes in ANW or watches ANW and/or Ninja Warrior knows David, and recognizes him as a top 3 runner year-in-year-out. He is a fierce competitor who is extremely consistent and focused. He made it farther than any American competitor in Sasuke 27 (Sasuke is the proper term for Ninja Warrior Japan), and has competed in Sasuke three or four times.
Travis Furlanic – David’s nephew and a stud on his own, Travis was the only American Ninja Warrior competitor to make the finals and compete in Sasuke all three seasons. He is always a threat for getting the fastest time on any course he steps on.
Brian Orosco – Brian Orosco is a superstar of American Ninja Warrior, has competed in Sasuke a bazillion times (disclaimer: not actual count), and is a member of Tempest Freerunning.
James McGrath – James is the patron saint of all American Ninja Warrior walkons, having walked on in American Ninja Warrior 3 after having slept in his van, and then making it all the way to the third stage in Japan for Sasuke 27 where he absolutely destroyed the course until he failed at the infamous Ultimate Cliffhanger, getting as far as any American.
Brian Kretsch – Brian is not as well known as these other four competitors, but has competed in all four American Ninja Warriors and made the semi-finals in ANW1. He trains with David Campbell and Travis Furlanic in Northern California, and anybody who has ever trained on the course with him knows he is a threat to win the whole thing. Check out our recent video interview with him.

Let me add the caveat that I don’t always know ahead of time which competitors competed where, so there is a good possibility that I am overlooking somebody terribly deserving who should be on this list! Give me a holler if you think there is a particularly egregious absence.