11 January 2016

Ninja Warrior

Compressing my entire life into a minute and thirty seconds was almost as much challenge as actually doing the obstacles! 
This is a quick summary of my life followed by some samples of stuff I can do. Even if I don't make it on, making this video was a whole lot of fun already.

Guest Starring the beautiful intelligent and generous Rachel Williams, (who took most of the video I didn't take myself)

Cameo by Didi the dog

Extra Special Thanks to Joe Zimmerman of Alameda Ninja Warrior (i.e. Joe's back yard) who encouraged me to try out. Dude built a whole mini course by himself, and then invited people to come play there - for free! Awesome guy.

Music credit: Pork and the Spork / Flumberger Fishbulb (i.e. my high school band, music and lyrics by Alex Staten and Bakari Kafele)

The wall at the end is "only" 10ft high, but on the other hand, all 10ft of it is straight up!



Oh well,
Though, with at least a little comfort from caveats...

The new Tick Tock took me out.
Along with most of my fellow competitors.

Somewhere between 100 and 200 got to attempt to run the course at Universal Studios Hollywood, but only about 30 got past this one. 
As the ANW producer's often do, this was a brand new obstacle, different than anything they've done so far, and of course the course is a secret until the night of competition, so nobody had any possible way to train or practice, or heck, even try it one time, before doing it with the cameras on.

Add to having no idea what the right technique should be (several swings to increase momentum, or one single smooth jump?  Aim high or aim low?  Catch with arms first, or legs, leaning forward or back?), I was among the very last to go.  They told me to arrive by 10pm.  My run was just slightly before 5am.  For almost 7 hours I stood around waiting, on the fenced in asphalt waiting area off to the side of the course, with not even chairs for the waiting athletes to rest on.  By the time I got to run, cold, stiff, and not having slept the entire night, I wanted to get it over with and go home almost as much as I wanted to finish the course!
At the very least, I wasn't taken down by the new version of the quintuple steps - harder than the old one, but basically the same.  A few people went down there, so at least I wasn't dead last :-P
In fact, I came off the rope smoother than many.  But on the trapeze, I felt like I didn't have enough momentum to make the jump, swung back and forth a few times, and landed high on the pendulum with a bit too much speed and force, and basically bounced off before I could get a grip on it. 
I wasn't planning on falling, so it was not a graceful dive.  I pretty much landed flat on my back, but there was no time to pay attention to little things like stinging pain, because I was on the bottom of a giant pool.   The water has a weird smell to it.  Probably some kind of sanitizing agent.  I started to climb out, but the crew told me I was on the wrong side.  Across to the other shore, they gave me a blanket (with a sponsor logo :) ), and they asked what happened.  I slipped.  What else is there to say?


  1. Ninja Warrior as well now!?!?!? You are fast becoming my idol :)

    I so want to get onto Ninja Warrior UK! Will have to use your video as inspiration to see if I can make it through to at least the interviews (I applied a few years ago but never even heard back, my application was pretty uninspiring)


    1. Haha, thanks! I'm guessing you found this blog via the MMM forums? What else did you read? I haven't updated this blog in over a year! I'm planning to start it up again in 2020 though, when I have so much free time I'll be searching for things to do with it.

      In case I was too subtle in this post, training for ANW was incredible fun, I met lots of cool people, and got really really fit. The experience of actually being on the show, however, sucked. Quite a bit really. There's a part of me that would really like to be able to say I at least made it past round 1, (not to mention having some proof I was really there, since my run never aired), but its just not worth the time and expense of the trip. If they happen to film reasonably close by you, it'd be worth trying, just to be able to say you did it.

    2. It was via MMM but not sure whether it was via the forums or just noticed you made a comment on a post (like 4-5 years ago hence can't really remember)? I had a brief read years ago of a few of your posts but randomly stumbled across it again recently somehow and have probably read about 30 or so posts, so still plenty more to get through :)

      It would be great to see some new posts again, you are a very interesting person! What's happening in 2020 then? You reached FI or quitting your job or something like that?

      I'm currently working part time (75% of full time hours) but am going to quit next April to try some other ways to make money outside of a 9-5 office job. I like doing manual things as well so one idea was to be a gardener (again part time) but we'll see when I get there I think.

      "If they happen to film reasonably close by you, it'd be worth trying, just to be able to say you did it." - Living in the UK pretty much wherever it's filmed will be close enough and not cost much either. In fact I just checked, it's in Manchester which is easily drivable from where I am in about 3-4 hours.

      I assumed they just showed everyone that gets on the show in some capacity. Maybe they have way more people doing it in the US version, or maybe I am just wrong (likely) :) - either way it's a shame you didn't get any air time.

      Cheers again for sharing your interesting perspectives with the world.

    3. Haha, actually what's happening in 2020 is pretty much the exact opposite of that!
      A few years ago I bought a 4-unit property, moved into one, and rented out the others, and I've been rehabbing each unit as it becomes empty and re-renting at market rent. I also had my first kid a year ago. My wife still works (4 days a week), and I work a tiny bit (6 days a month), but while she is at work I watch the little goober, as with the rental income the family doesn't need much and I'm able to contribute half the family finances on just my 6 days a month of work.
      So I can more or less say I am semi-retired now.
      However, I haven't really been saving anything, and while we could live like this indefinitely, it'd be nice to have some surplus for vacations or a bigger house someday if we decide to have another kid
      - (tried adopting, as I talk about in one post, but it turns out that is extremely difficult to do, as there are a lot more people looking for babies than there are babies that need homes) -

      So I decided to accept a one year deployment with my Coast Guard Reserve job (the only other option was to quit all together)
      Because of the way military pay, benefits, and taxes work, I'll net the same take-home as I would making around $142k (I'm used to earning somewhere on the order of 20-30 a year, so to me that's a pretty massive amount!), plus around 60k in education benefits I can gift to children.
      The catch is 9 months of that year are out of the country.

      Our work schedule is likely to be 12 hours shifts 2 days in a row, followed by being off for 48 hours.
      I won't have a family to go home to, I'm not into drinking or the other stuff that guys like to do when hanging out after work, so I'm going to have a lot of free time.

      I have about a dozen topics waiting, with titles but no content, saved in draft mode...


      I believe there were around 90 people who were chosen to try out. 43 of us fell on the 2nd obstacle. 30 went on to the next round (17 finished the course), and only 11 or so of them were on the episode. In order to show some more failures, 13 of people who made it to the end didn't even appear on the final TV cut.


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