My American Ninja Warrior Journey

With my region (Midwest) airing on Sunday night on G4 representing my third year competing in American Ninja Warrior, and this possibly being the moment where through NBC’s involvement American Ninja Warrior gets some mainstream popularity, I found myself reflecting a bit on my journey competing.  Below is a lazy man’s retrospective of that journey through highlighting the key blog posts in that journey in chronological order.

My first blog entry – “Do I Dare?” – from the moment when I first considered daring to compete.

A key moment of enlisting one of my best buddies to pursue this with me, Ron Friedman, my “Partner in Crime.”  Ron ended up only competing in one American Ninja Warrior (2) with me, but we had a blast training for it together and motivating each other over the last years.

When I asked my 4 year old, a huge Ninja Warrior fan, about the prospect of me competing.  I got a less than supportive “But You’ll Fall in the Water” response.

Once I decided to try and compete, I devised a basic 5 element “Training Plan” which I still basically follow today.  Many people ask me what I do to prepare to compete, and this is still what I largely tell them.

For American Ninja Warrior 2, I was “Jacked Up and Ready to Go” right before the competition, and then had a blast at the competition which I highlighted in “My Run at American Ninja Warrior” detailing my experience and eventual fall on my nemesis the Spider Wall.

For American Ninja Warrior 2, I had been told by production that they were going to feature my run on TV, and then they showed nothing.  I did get a short clip of me falling off the Spider Wall that was aired in Japan for Sasuke (Ninja Warrior Japan), so that was pretty dope.

After getting injured during American Ninja Warrior 2, I trained hard for American Ninja Warrior 3 and laid out my training plan in my State of the Union blog.

In what was unfortunately a glimpse of things to come, I was still dangling a week before American Ninja Warrior 3 about whether I would get an invite or not…”Competition a Week Away, Still Waiting for an Invite.”  Waiting for your invite just until the competition is the hardest thing about being an aspiring competitor.

My run at American Ninja Warrior 3 was the most disappointing moment of my experience.  I had trained hard and was in the best shape that I’d been in, but the rain and the wet Quad Steps proved too much for me and most competitors…Death by Wetuple Steps.  This is the moment where my wife started being less supportive of this quest…I was so distraught afterwards her attitude was that the whole thing isn’t worth it if it makes you feel badly.

Around the airing of American Ninja Warrior 3 I noted The Rise of Obstacle Course Competitions in the form of more specialized gyms like Apex Movement in Colorado and Tempest Academy in LA, and actual races like the Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race.  I think this is an inflection point in what I anticipate(d) to be a major surge in obstacle course fanaticism.

Despite my disappointment around my experience in American Ninja Warrior 3, I was more determined than ever to compete in American Ninja Warrior 4 which I chronicle in the cleverly titled “American Ninja Warrior 4, Here I Come!

After fearing that Ninja Warrior (Sasuke) was dead, we hear news that it not only was going to continue, but it was going to be bigger than ever and some major changes were on the horizon – The Ninja Warrior World Re-Aligns.

Unfortunately for me, for American Ninja Warrior 4 (this year’s competition) just one week prior to the competition I was still Waiting by the Phone for my invite, and as the days ticked pass I was In Need of a Miracle.

When I finally learned that I wasn’t going to be given a guaranteed invite, I packed up the wife and kids into the car and drove 3 days just so I could line up in the early morning for a shot at an elusive walk-on spot.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  “Without an Invite, Gonna Try for a Walkon

Then…victory!  I was given a walkon spot, which I detailed in my joyously titled “Mission Accomplished!  Got to Run in American Ninja Warrior 4!” blog, which takes me to this moment.

Hope you enjoy my run on Sunday night on G4 in the Midwest regionals (hopefully I’ll be shown!), and I’ll share some thoughts on my actual run after it airs!  Please let me know if you appreciate my journey and efforts, I often wonder if anybody is even reading this drivel I write about this wacky obsession of mine.


  • AdamG

    inspiring story, hope you do well.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Adam, I appreciate that!

  • anonymous

    I was watching ANW just now and I saw you come on and talk about your site! I just had to check it out! I hope you do well.

  • Anonymous

    Just watched your run.  What’s the statute of limitations on spoilers?

  • Emily

    Hey, I just watched ANW and saw you, you did a great job!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Emily, I appreciate it!  It was exciting to compete, and awesome to advance to the regional finals.

  • Anonymous

    LOL.  I think we can talk about it now 😉  It was so much fun to compete, and I was pumped to make it to the regional finals.  I’m nervous to watch it on NBC on Monday night!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks!  I appreciate it!

  • None

    Awesome run man, was wondering when this was taped and when the las Vegas finals will be taped? My friend would like to go to the tapping but I cant find any info…

    Its alittle sad to know sasuke will no longer be run in japan, and that I hope next american ninja warrior g4tv/nbc are able to get the top 10 Japanese sasuke runners to join in on A.N.W

  • Tara Kramarsky

    We just finished watching your episode of ANW.  You did great!  My 4 year old son is obsessed with ANW and makes us DVR all of them.  I am sure your boys are so proud of their Daddy :)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Tara!  There is definitely something about Ninja Warrior that resonates with little kids, and those adults of us who still have a lot of little kid inside us 😉

  • Anonymous

    The Midwest and Southcentral regionals were taped in Dallas in mid-March, both the opening regional round and the regional finals.  The Vegas national finals already happened as well in late April.