Tomorrow morning I head out to LA to compete in American Ninja Warrior 2 to be held at Venice Beach over the weekend, and MAN am I jacked up and ready to go! Apparently G4 has really set up a great festival format that will have not only the competitors’ course, but a kids course, a museum to Ninja Warrior history, a meet-and-greet section with two of the Ninja Warrior Grand Champions (Nagano and Urushihara), and all sorts of merchandise. They are anticipating over 100,000 to come to the event over the weekend. Should be a madhouse at Venice Beach!
To further prepare for the obstacle course itself, last Tuesday I got up at 5 am and returned home after midnight in a marathon day with 12 hours traveling in cars and through airports just for the privilege of going to Santa Cruz, California, to train for a few hours with Ninja Warrior icon David Campbell on his legendary backyard obstacle course. David Campbell is a hardcore Ninja Warrior nut, and competed in Ninja Warrior in Japan (2009) and in American Ninja Warrior 1, and is known far-and-wide in the Ninja Warrior community here in the US for both his prowess and his awesome backyard obstacle course. Figuring that what I most needed at this point is some specific obstacle training, I flew out to Santa Cruz to train with David for a few hours in his backyard and get tips from him on some of those specific obstacles. Many of his obstacles are harder than what they have in American Ninja Warrior, designed to the more rigorous Japanese Ninja Warrior specs. It was great practice, and I got to train on the Warped Wall, the Spider Jump, the Jumping Bars, the basic Rope Swing, the Sextuple Step, and the Salmon Ladder. It was awesome! Some things were harder than I expected (Warped Wall), and other things were easier than I expected (Jumping Bars and Salmon Ladder). The Spider Wall was a bitch, which was pretty much what I expected, but I think the one I may face in American Ninja Warrior will be easier (it was much easier last year than the Japanese version). No doubt I am better prepared for having done this training session, and only wish that I could train on it a bunch more like David and his nephew Travis (he was a finalist in ANW 1 last year and competed in Japan). David and Travis were great…very cool and supportive (thanks guys!). It was a great experience, and, man, was I sore the next couple of days!
Anyway, my run time on Sunday is at 10 am, so I get to hang out all day on Saturday and watch the other competitors give their best on the course, and hopefully pick up some tips of what to do and what not to do. I can’t WAIT to find out what obstacles they have on the course this year! Then I can go to bed Saturday night dreaming of running the course and surmounting those specific obstacles, and hopefully rock it in the first group of runners Sunday morning so I can hang out for the rest of the day seeing if my time makes the top 30 slots to advance to the semifinals. About 300-350 people will run the course in the opening round over Saturday and Sunday, and only 30 will advance, so it is sort of a long shot, but this whole adventure is sort of a long shot! All I can do is my best, and with my training the last few months, my healed hand (yeah!), and my training with David on his obstacle course, I am as ready as I’m going to be.
Wish me luck, and please channel some strength, determination, focus and agility my way on Sunday morning, I’m going to need it! I guess I’ll only have to follow the advice of my 5 year old who said this morning, “Daddy, if you feel like you are slipping and going to fall, just hang on!”