Posts Tagged ‘Drew Drechsel’

My American Ninja Warrior 8 Pledge

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

With American Ninja Warrior 8 on the near horizon, I thought to share publicly the pledge I made to myself for this upcoming season.  I’ve been studying behavioral science and psychology a lot recently, and one thing that really resonated with me was the power of publicly stating your goals.  Studies have shown a measurable difference in achievement rates between just thinking about having a goal and actually writing it down, and an additional difference between writing it down privately versus publicly sharing it with friends and family.  People obviously are motivated to be consistent with their stated goals and actions made in front of the people in their social circles, and not seem like a weak-willed lameass for lacking the discipline to climb a mountain they publicly set for themselves.  It is the “consistency” and “commitment” principles of behavioral psychology combined, and is a proven potent cocktail for motivating people to drive hard towards their goals.

So here is my pledge for ANW8 – I will be better prepared for this season of American Ninja Warrior than any of my previous six seasons.

At age 44, the window may be closing on my ability to compete at a level that is acceptable to me.  For sure, I am past my athletic prime, but I think I make up in “old man determination” what I now lack in youthful spring and recovery.  My mental resolve is strong, and in fact physically in many ways I’ve been feeling stronger than ever recently.  If I stepped on the course tomorrow I could make a decent argument that I’d come pretty close to meeting my pledge, but not quite.  I’m very determined to crush it this season, so I’m driving hard to step on the course in mid-May knowing that by fulfilling my pledge I’ve done my best to set myself up to achieve my ultimate goal – make the National Finals finally after having narrowly missed it twice before.

Here are the dimensions of “preparation” that I am measuring my pledge against (graphic courtesy of Wharton Magazine who did a profile piece of me):

ANW Training Principles

CORE:  After tearing an abdominal muscle two years ago prior to American Ninja Warrior 6, I’ve worked hard at making my core stronger than it was even before the injury.  The great Drew Drechsel told me once that he thought a powerful dynamic core was the hidden key to obstacle course success, and if Drew feels that way who am I to disagree?  I train core more than I ever have before (and it hurts).

GRIP:  After busting my thumb up pretty good before last season – I competed in American Ninja Warrior 7 with a ligament tear and two fractures in it – I have been arduously working my way back.  I’ve returned to actively rock-climbing, got a climbing training board for the house, and have been rocking the kung fu rice bucket grip exercises Brandon Mears turned me onto a couple of seasons ago.  And I just placed an order for a couple more nunchuk grips from Three Ball Climbing to get stronger on hanging vertical grips which is a real weakness of mine.  As I’ve said many times, there is simply no replacement for having a kung fu iron grip on the American Ninja Warrior course.

WEIGHT:  My weight is down to the lowest it has ever been for competition.  At 207 lbs at the moment, I am as light as I was for ANW6 when I had my best performance and cleared a tough Dallas Qualifying course, and with another two more months of runway before the competition I have a chance to be as low as 200 lbs for this season.  I don’t think I’ve seen 200 lbs since the 20th century.

BALANCE:  I need to get much better here.  I competed in my first private obstacle course gym competition a couple of months ago at Power Park Fitness, and I totally sucked on the balance obstacles.  I’ve been working on the slack line and rolling PVC pipes, but have a ways to go.  Fortunately there are not too many slow balance obstacles in ANW, and most of the balance obstacles are of the “skeedaddle over that spinning thing quickly” variety which is a lot easier for me than the slow balance challenges.  But I need to be prepared for anything they throw at me.

OBSTACLE PRACTICE:  I am at a massive disadvantage here to many competitors that train regularly at a gym with actual obstacles, and there is no substitution for practice.  I’ve been getting down to Power Park Fitness recently and am benefiting from some technique tips from good friends and awesome ninjas Thomas Stillings and David Yarter, and am making some important strides here on some obstacles that have given me problems.  More reps on real obstacles to come!

So that is my pledge, to be better prepared for this season than any season before.  Regardless of my performance this year, feel free to ask me whether I fulfilled this pledge!

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

– Dylan Thomas

Season Finale of American Ninja Warrior 4

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Tonight we find out…is anybody going to be able to complete Stages 2, 3 and 4 in the national finals to become the first American Ninja Warrior? 24 amazing athletes step to the line at the beginning of Stage 2 to get their crack at immortality. Although many of the best obstacle course runners in the world have fallen already in the regionals, regional finals, or Stage 1 of the national finals, like Levi Meeuwenberg, Brian Orosco, and David Campbell, there are many strong seasoned competitors still alive like Brent Steffensen, David “Flip” Rodriguez, Travis Rosen, Chris Wilczewski, and newcomer Derek Nakamoto (see previous post for complete list). Tune in tonight to find out if we’ll crown the first American Ninja Warrior!

Click LIKE to applaud these competitors & show your appreciation!

24 Advance to Stage 2 in National Finals

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Only 24 of the 100 competitors who advanced to the national finals of American Ninja Warrior 4 in Las Vegas completed Stage 1 and advanced to Stage 2. Derek Nakamoto killed it with the fastest time of 1:34.4. Tune in on Monday night July 23rd on NBC for the 2-hour season finale that shows these brave souls take their crack at Stage 2 and beyond, and find out if any of them became the first American Ninja Warrior!

Order #, Finalist, Time
1 Derek Nakamoto – 1:34.40
2 Lorin Ball – 1:37.22
3 Brent Steffensen – 1:41.00
4 Danny Johnson – 1:42.31
5 Kole Stevens – 1:42.33
6 Paul Darnell – 1:44.98
7 Elet Hall – 1:46.00
8 Drew Drecshel – 1:46.08
9 Ben Snead – 1:47.02
10 Ahmed Toure – 1:47.56
11 Paul Kasemir – 1:48.29
12 Remi Bakkar – 1:50.98
13 Travis Rosen – 1:51.00
14 James McGrath – 1:51.61
15 David “Flip” Rodriguez – 1:51.66
16 Brandon Douglass – 1:53.18
17 Sean Noble – 1:53.20
18 J.B. Douglas – 1:57.50
19 Brian Arnold – 1:58.16
20 Evan “Rocket” Dollard – 1:59.57
21 Chris Wilczewski – 2:01.26
22 Will Dodd – 2:02.23
23 Josh Lobeck – 2:06.08
24 Nathaniel Spencer – 2:10.00

National Finalists in American Ninja Warrior 4

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Here is a list of the 90 national finalists in American Ninja Warrior 4 who advanced to Las Vegas to compete on the Mt. Midoriyama replica uber-course that was built there. There will be 10 wildcards added to these 90 competitors to make an even 100 runners, which is the traditional number that competed in the original Ninja Warrior Japan (Sasuke) for many years. The identity of these wildcards will be revealed when the show airs.

15 finalists from each of the 6 regions (listed below in order of finish) fought their way through their respective regional rounds and then the regional finals to advance to the first finals of American Ninja Warrior held in the US. Mad props to all these competitors, and hit LIKE to applaud them and share this list to spread the word of their awesomeness!

Evan Dollard
Jesse La Flair
Kole Stevens
Remi Bakkar
Brent Steffenson
Chad Simpson
Derek Nakamoto
Dorian Cedars
Dan Mast
Paul Darnell
Sedderick Bassett
Ryan Thompson
Dylan Curry
Ronnie Shalvis Jr
Michael “Frosti” Zernow

Matthew Derouen
Andrew Karsen
Jack Morgan
Stephen Volcko
Arthur Skov
Michael Silenzi
Nick ‘Lovin’ Stephforn
Johnathan Morin
Scott Robinson
Will Dodd
Joshua Grant
Andrew Lowes
Nate Aye
Nick Kostner
Cade Halada

Tim Shieff
Luis Moco
Dan Galiczynski
Chris Wilczewski
Elet Hall
Travis Graves
Jesse Villareal
Christopher DiGangi
Andrew Wood
Danny Johnson
Bradley Smith Jr.
Phillip Pirollo
John Sapinoso
Matt Mings
Michael Pericoloso

James McGrath
Travis Furlanic
David Campbell
Sean Noble
Kyle Cochrane
Justin Sweeney
Josh Horsley
Nathan Sausedo
Justin Walcker
J.B. Douglas
Kevan Reoli
Ben Snead
Brian Kretsch
Gunner Bahn
Patrick McGrath

Paul Kasemir
Brandon Douglass
Brian Arnold
Jaret Salas
Kevin Klein
Sat Khalsa
Ahmed Toure
Josh Lobeck
Lorin Ball
Jake Smith
Bob Pondrom
Nathaniel Spencer
James Wyatt
Tremayne Dortch
Alan Connealy

David “Flip” Rodriguez
Drew Dreschel
Travis Rosen
Jared “J.J.” Woods
Michael Ekhert
Bull Bullard
Sean Morris
William Brown
Thomas Hall
Brendan Kelly
Andy Taylor
Adam Grossman
Niko Bogucki
Tony Reddick
Paul O’Connor

Southeast on Deck!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

The last of the six regions in this year’s American Ninja Warrior, the Southeast, is finally on deck to be shown this Sunday on G4 and Monday on NBC. The Southeast region was filmed in Miami along with the Northeast region, and has a tough lineup with a number of veteran competitors who will be gunning for the top spot, and could very well be the most experienced overall region with four of the ten returning finalists from American Ninja Warrior 3 that went to compete in Japan.
Ryan Stratis – It’s safe to say that Ryan is one of the superstars of American Ninja Warrior, and has competed in and been shown in every competition. He’s improved every season and made it all the way to the third stage in Japan in ANW3, and his intensity and symbolism as a member of our armed services make him a favorite with both fans and competitors. A buddy of mine since ANW2, he’s one of the guys I root hardest for, and a true threat to win it all.
Travis Rosen – Another returning finalist from Japan in ANW3 where he fell in Stage 2, Travis is an incredibly trained and gifted athlete who was an All-American gymnast at the University of Iowa once-upon-a-time. Travis and I bonded entering ANW2, both of our first seasons, as fellow middle-aged dads who felt compelled to compete. When we first became buddies I had NO IDEA he was as sick as he is…Travis could truly be the first American Ninja Warrior and is another guy that I root hard for every year.
David “Young Flip” Rodriguez – Young Flip burst onto the scene last year not only as another finalist in ANW3 who made it all the way to Japan (where he fell in Stage 2), but also as a competitor in the awesome parkour/freerunning show Jump City: Seattle where he competed for Miami Freerunning. Young Flip is a very agile strong competitor with great conditioning and confidence in his abilities. He’s famous for his use of a mask when he competes which he says helps him focus. I don’t know him well, but he’s a good guy and a threat to go deep in this year’s competition.
Drew Drechsel – Drew is yet another returning finalist from ANW3 (making 4 of 10 in the Southeast region) where he painfully blew out his knee landing from the rope in the Half-Pipe Attack in Stage 1 in Japan. Drew is a young guy with incredible strength and coordination who should be back strong this year from his injury, and I fully expect him to be among one of the last guys standing in this competition.
Other Seasoned Vets – From earlier seasons we have two more returning vets from Japan in Brett Sims and Patric Cusic, as well as Thomas Hall (Boot Camp from ANW2) and Sean Morris (two-time semi-finalist). All of these guys are seasoned competitors, and experience shouldn’t be overlooked as a differentiating factor in a field of strong competitors.
NFL Football Player Kamerion Wimbley – Kamerion Wimbley, a professional football player who plays defensive end for the Tennessee Titans, competed in the Southeast. At 6’5″ and 255 lbs, that’s a big man on the course. Some people are dismissing his chances for being that large, but that’s only an inch taller and 35 lbs more than me, and I KNOW he’s much younger stronger faster than I am, and I just missed making the national finals, so my money is on him to shock some people. Having recently signed a $30 million contract with the Titans, the $500k prize doesn’t represent much motivation, but I hear he’s a true fan of the show so I wish him well.
Newcomer Alert – I’ve heard great things about Jared JJ Woods, Young Flip’s training partner in Miami, and am looking forward to seeing how he does.

Sorry for the many deserving athletes that didn’t get profiled here. Do something amazing and make me profile you next year!