Posts Tagged ‘Ron Friedman’

My American Ninja Warrior Journey

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

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.

Man Down

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

My good buddy and longtime Ninja Warrior training partner Ron Friedman unfortunately got his first significant injury in all our years of training when he fractured his foot in parkour class this past week.  He tried an ill-advised front flip off a rickety stack of pads and landed awkwardly on his foot, resulting in an avulsion fracture that fragmented a piece of his bone off his foot.  Ouch.  He’s been resting up, keeping it elevated and icing it periodically, but his foot still looks like something that floated up on the beach after several days at sea.  All freakishly discolored and swollen.  Big fat bummer.  But ninjas are bound to periodically hurt themselves training to the extreme of their abilities, so this is part of the package I presume when one trains to pretend to be a ninja and run around on obstacle courses.  Get better soon Ron!  Click “Like” to channel some healing energy his way!

Got My Run Slot

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Just got called.  I’ll be in the 10 am Tuesday group, which means I’ll probably run any time between 10 am and noon if they get backed up.  Last year they had hourly groups of about 15 people, but they got pretty backed up later in the day though.  Go time!

Also just found out that my buddy Ron got the same run slot, meaning we are in the same group.  Which is awesome, because there is a lot of time to kill in that back holding pen while you are waiting for your turn, and having his company there after we’ve traveled this long road over the last few years to get here will be pretty cool.

Got My Invite to Compete in American Ninja Warrior 3

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

After a long stretch of anxiety wondering whether I’d get an invitation to compete in American Ninja Warrior 3 that’s going down in just 6 short days, I finally got my  invitation today!  I’m ecstatic!  Words can’t express how giddy I am to have gotten my slot to run after so much uncertainty the last few weeks.  Yes, it is just a silly obstacle course competition, but STFU I love it!

I fly out with my good buddy Ron, who also got an invite today, on Sunday afternoon and will bunk down just a half mile from the course at Venice Beach at a cool old art deco hotel (the Cadillac Hotel).  Then Monday and Tuesday will be the opening rounds (I requested a Tuesday run slot but will obviously take whatever they give me), and then the top 30 times from the opening round will advance to the semi-finals on Wednesday.  From the 30 semi-finalists only 15 finalists will advance to the boot camp section to pick out the 10 strongest competitors to go to Ninja Warrior in Japan to compete.  Anyway, just elated to have gotten my golden ticket to compete!

My Friend Ron’s Submission Video

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Those of you who have ever read some of my earliest blog posts will be familiar with my friend Ron. Ron and I first started watching Ninja Warrior together about 4 years ago, and since then he and I have been training to compete mostly through rock-climbing (and more recently parkour). He’s a good buddy and a comrade-in-arms in my Ninja Warrior quest. He got accepted to compete in American Ninja Warrior 2 last summer, but a new job situation prevented him from attending. Anyway, he’s back again this year and really hoping to get invited. Here’s his submission video.