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American Ninja What!!

After topping off the amazing winter and spring season of climbing with the first ascent of Force of Nature(V14) I found myself in the hottest part of Utah and gearing up for a season of work here in Zion, Utah. Unmotivated by the nuclear temperatures, training for climbing was out of the question. So what else do we do?

I heard word from my good friend Noah Kaufman that he got accepted onto a TV show know as American Ninja Warrior, I became intrigued and in the last minute on the last day I threw together a submission video. Unfortunately I was too late and the casting crew informed me that my region was full and they had already picked their competitors for the year. At the moment I could care less about being on the show, I just really wanted to test my skills on the obstacle’s. This really bummed me out, so I further researched getting into the competition and found out there is one last chance. It involved getting into whats called a walk-on-line.

We packed our bags and drove to Denver to get in line, despite knowing that we had very little if not any chance of getting picked. I decided to make myself stand out somehow and it just so happens I had a Jesus costume laying around. 5 days of sleep deprivation and frying in the direct sun left us both exhausted. Regardless, we stayed strong to the line and kept our sites on the main goal of getting chosen to have a crack at what looked like the most exciting obstacle course in the world!

With the walk-on-line significantly growing in numbers reaching nearly 200 by the last day(Laura being the only female) I decided it was time to bust out the costume and get ready to impress the casting crew. It was rumored that they would be coming within the hour to choose out of the hundreds of wannabe ninjas, and so it happened. The night of the qualifying round began and along came the delirium of heat exhaustion and enthusiasm. We were amongst the first handful of walk-on-line competitors to have at the course. No rehearsal, just go!! One mistake and your out. The second any part of you touches the water and the disqualifying buzzer rings!



Next thing I knew I was disrobing my Jesus attire to the screaming and chanting sound of the crowds “Let Jesus run”!!! My timer began and so did my internal domination machine. 2 minutes of precision ninja mayhem breezed by and before I knew it, I had cruised thru the course and was up top the warped wall with the finishing buzzer under my hand!!! VICTORY!!



Laura was up next and ready to attack, although she had no training whatsoever prior to coming to Denver she was feeling strong and had the eye of the tiger. After carefully calculating each and every obstacle she soon found herself at the 5th out of 6 obstacles in the qualifying round. With her arm span maxed out on the grip hang, she went down with a splash making it further then all but one of the other female competitors.



The first night of competition was over at sunrise and Nin-Jesus was a huge hit. I’ve never had so many people ask to have my picture with them. Now that we were in the comp and I had qualified for the semi-finals, catching up on sleep was number one priority. Fully restored and ready to dominate, the semi finals began and quickly knocked out 42 of the 48 qualifying competitors. Being one of the 6 city finalists secured me an invitation to the Las Vegas Finals one month later.

Training for a month was more then enough for me to feel confident in my domination of this competition. After Laura received her wild card invitation for Vegas, it was on! There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be the first American Ninja Warrior. After seeing my performance in the Denver city finals I had all the other ninjas along with the producers betting on me.

The first stage of finals started and the one obstacle that took out most of the competitors last year was back in action again, The Jumping Spider!! Nearly 80% of the Ninjas had gone out already and then it was my turn. Feeling as strong as ever I cruised the opening obstacles and easily stuck the Jumping Spider. I knew at this point that I had it in the bag, the next section of the course is called the Spider Walk. With the equivalence of a 5.7 sport climb it was by far the easiest segment of the entire competition! As I proceeded onto the plexiglass my feet instantly began to slide, I felt as if I was standing on ice, there was not a single ounce of friction in my feet. I was in complete disbelief and instantly went into battle mode, but it did nothing. I struggled harder then I ever have in my entire life to get through this horrible moment of disgrace. What normally is like flashing a V1 boulder all of a sudden became V11 and I blew off at the very end, hitting the landing pads with only one of my legs…SPLASH!!!! I was out.

Back to work now and still brewing with frustration of my wardrobe malfunction, I am strategizing my next years total victory. For now we just bought tickets to Europe and are going into full training mode! Work is done and the climbing season is on. So psyched to check out all the amazing British Blocs I’ve dreamt about for years. Stay tuned for our Euroland adventures.!

If you missed our Ninja warrior runs on national TV you can search for Isaac at ninja warrior and Laura Kisana at ninja warrior on Youtube.

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