Hello everyone! I have been trying out for American Ninja Warrior ever since the try outs began. Each year I have different results some good and some bad but I still come back the following year no matter what. Feel free to ask me anything about the show and the try out process. I just want to help expose the show to more people who may be interested in trying out for next season!

Photo proof of when I started the AMA - https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/v/1058809_867544018182_853798577_n.jpg?oh=a709dda8282893f3584bee768504252e&oe=51E379B9&__gda__=1373875725_78d146f95816485fbcebb54b722e2a27


http://youtu.be/szrHjsV2eHM - Japan run

https://m.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Stratis/118119581616888?id=118119581616888&_rdr - Facebook page

Comments: 633 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

Ninja_Strat362 karma

LOL! That was hilarious! I don't know who the naked vigilante is so I can't say specifically other than I honor his courage haha. Its hard enough running the course in athletic gear, I can't imagine the guts to do it in the nude haha.

Diptura229 karma

Do you think the American version is easier (no offense) or more coddled than Sasuke? To be specific, the mandatory minimum of people have to pass each level and this year I see they are requiring a winner. Sasuke isn't like that all, you lose your done. Sometimes that means only 8 guys make it. You're always one of my favorites! (By the way Mt. Midoriyama is tautologically awkward. Midori (green) yama (mountain) so it already means green mountain. So when they say Mt. Green Mountain it makes my family cringe)

Ninja_Strat139 karma

There has never been a mandatory minimum that has to pass unless you are referring to how the prelims are run. Example in the try outs 30 people move on to the semi finals then after that 15 move on to the finals in Vegas. If they had used the "only those who pass go on to the finals" rule then in ANW 3 only one person would have went to Japan since I was the only person to make it through the semi finals in Venice Beach. Remember the prelims are there to try and determine who would do the best at Midoriyama. Its not the best system but they are improving it as the years go by. Such as this year where if you hit the buzzer at the end then you guaranteed your spot in the next round. I too am slightly annoyed by the MT Midoriyama thing lol. We have been telling them for years but its kind of permanent now :/. Thanks for cheering for me and my friends :).

Ninja_Strat89 karma

As far as the difficulty of it compared to SASUKE that is a tricky question. That's kind of like the current debate among competitors with "Which region was the hardest?" Everyone has different obstacles so we all had different techniques tested. Sasuke's course changes from year to year so no one can be fully prepared for it no matter how much you train. Even with the Las Vegas course trying to have the same exact obstacles that were in Sasuke 27 there were still slight variations that had to be taken into account when one is running. These little things you dont notice until you are running the course and you have to try and adapt as best as you can and that is what makes each version, both ANW and Sasuke, equally challenging.

Drmangos59 karma

It's like how wipeout was the American version of MXC: watered down, more idiotic, and less funny (However, ANW is a good show)

Ninja_Strat90 karma

Well thanks for saying ANW is a good show but dang you HAD use Wipeout in the same sentence lol. Sadly that is the usual way I have to try and get people to understand what the show is about when they have no idea what it is. I just say "Do you know wipeout??" If they say yes then I just tell them its like that but you cant fall or you are eliminated and its more skill based instead of luck.

Drmangos20 karma

I was only comparing wipeout because its an American version of a Japanese show :)

Ninja_Strat26 karma

No worries lol. Just giving ya a hard time haha.

wolfmann3 karma

Why not compare it to american gladiators (or MXC as above)? Ive never heard of wipeout.

Ninja_Strat5 karma

Excellent point and more respectable thing to compare it to! I dont know why I never thought of that before honestly. Thanks!

thenotlowone141 karma

Was watching this randomly last night (live in the uk) high as shit and at first me and my friends made fun of the cheesiness but soon realised the majority of the obstacles were hard as shit, just wanna say i have a lot of respect for you guys

Ninja_Strat97 karma

Thanks man! The show is addicting I'll say that much!!

trousershorts123 karma

Did you get to meet any of the Japanese all stars like Shingo Yamamoto or Makoto Nagano?

Also, how bad is the cliff hanger? It seems to me that that would be the toughest obstacle. I can't wait to see the new episode!

Ninja_Strat133 karma

When I went to Japan in ANW 3, 2011 I got to meet a lot of the All Stars like Nagano, Shingo, Takeda, Yamada and lots of other competitors like Yuuji, Kanno and so many others I cant list them all. It was a surreal feeling having watched the show for so many years to finally be there running the course along side the greats :). It was a goal that I accomplished which I'll remember and cherish the rest of my life.

Ninja_Strat116 karma

And the cliffhanger was really hard for me since my grip wasn't as strong as it should have been. Plus it was about 1 am so I was starting to get tired with all the ups and downs through the day. Running the 2 courses spiked my adrenaline so you crash pretty hard afterwards and then you are cheering on everyone else so its mentally taxing to say the least!

psychodave12343 karma

Wow, they really took it late. How long did a tournament usually last?

Ninja_Strat99 karma

We got on site around 9 am, signed in and started running stage 1 around 10 am. Stage 1 wrapped up around 9pm that night and stage 2 started around 10pm. Stage 3 started around 1 am and Stage 4 didnt start till almost 4 am! So if you made it to the tower you were pretty much running on 0 fuel lol. By the time everything was over the sun was rising. It was awesome :).

psychodave1239 karma

Goddamn! How long did it take to reset the obstacles that moved? Because 11 hours for 100 people seems insane.

Ninja_Strat14 karma

Oh they had a malfunction on the rolling escargot where it fell off completely and they had to fix the counter balance. That took about an hour. They had a lunch break thrown in there somewhere. But each person gets an intro via the commentator so that stretches things out a little bit, plus resetting cameras and if that person went all the way then they show the instant replays instantly on the big screen showing all the action and do post run interviews with each of them. 27 people beat the first stage so it took a little longer. Then they had to do a group shot with the 27 people who passed and then we had the rules read to us for stage 2 then it finally got started lol. So yea its a long day, but it goes by fast just because everything is so intense!

KGFAAS79 karma

Do they tell you what type of obstacles there will be before hand?

Ninja_Strat108 karma

Nope! We are in the dark until the week of try outs. If anything we may have a day or two of knowing what our regions obstacles will be. They change from region to region except for only a few mainstays like the warped wall and salmon ladder. Keeps thing interesting for us not knowing until the last minute!

KGFAAS35 karma

Thanks! This was my wife's introduction to reddit.

Ninja_Strat74 karma

Funny enough so is this thread for me lol!!

fleetze60 karma

Do they only select the more interesting/charismatic people based on submission videos?

Were you the guy I saw on TV that did the ninja yelling?

Ninja_Strat53 karma

My run for this season will be on G4 this Sunday or NBC on Monday since Miami was my region. There was a lot of yelling going on these last few episodes lol! Was it the fire fighter in Baltimore that you are talking about?

Ninja_Strat47 karma

Oh and the first question about charisma for who gets selected. I honestly don't know how casting picks. I assume it helps but it has changed a lot over the years. ANW 1 it didn't take much to secure a spot but now so many people are trying out it really helps to have a detailed try out video. Share as much as you are willing to about your life story and background in both the video and application.

DrewCDoll48 karma

1) Do you have the opportunity to practice on the course before your official run? 2) How is the running order determined?

Ninja_Strat70 karma

No practice of obstacles is allowed during try outs. Only way we can practice obstacles is if we build replicas and train on them through the year. On game day we are read the rules for completing each obstacle and tester shows us how to do it and then it's up to us after that!

2) The running order is a mystery to me even after all these years. In the earlier try outs like in ANW 1 and 2 we used to be able to request if we wanted to run the first or second day but now it's all random.

allbrawl47 karma

I would like to know about your strength training routine and/or diet.

Ninja_Strat66 karma

Strength wise I tend to focus on a lot of body weight training. Things like pull ups, push ups and plyometric work outs. I'll mix in weights but mostly with squats and deadlifts but even then its not heavy weight as I don't want to put on more muscle mass. I need to work on my grip strength more so rock climbing definitely needs to be thrown in the mix more often!

Ninja_Strat57 karma

Diet I struggle with just because thus far my genetics / metabolism have allowed me to eat pretty much whatever I want so long as I workout enough to burn it off. I drink lots of water, probably too much coffee (1 or 2 cups a day), try to stay away from any type of carbonated soft drink and will eat fruit, vegetables, sandwiches and ramen noodles for the most part. I'll take protein and multivitamins to help supplement what I may be missing, which is probably a lot haha. On occasion I'll go out to eat for a nice steak or burger but that may be about once a week. I need to work on my diet :/.

theledman2 karma

what kind of shoes do you wear?

allbrawl5 karma

Never tried it myself but my friend swears by fat gripz for forearm strength. Hope it helps!

Ninja_Strat6 karma

I've seen those but haven't tried them yet! Thanks!

friedjumboshrimp40 karma

Do you get paid to participate? Tell me your best groupie story!

Ninja_Strat81 karma

We do not get paid to try out in the regional locations. Everything is out of pocket for your travel to the location and hotel and food. Only time you had anything paid for is if you made the finals. When I went to Japan for ANW 3 our flights and hotel was paid for and we got a stipend for things like food for the week.

OnlyToolsHateJules33 karma

But...the groupies?

Ninja_Strat47 karma

Oh yea haha, lets see. No real groupies believe or not! I have been to a few conventions like Dragon Con in Atlanta and got recognized a few times here and there. Occasionally I get recognized out in public or while training and people will come up and ask me questions about the show which is always fun. But thankfully no stalker types or crazy stuff has happened yet!

slappy772133 karma

I'm really curious, what do you think of the contestants who are there on the show as a novelty and will most definitely fail within the first obstacle or two? (I.e. The octopus man)

Ninja_Strat48 karma

I cheer for those guys as much as the next ninja! It takes a lot of guts to step up to the start line and give it a go no matter who you are. Plus they help lighten the mood a bit. Its a pretty tense environment at the ANW try outs because everyone is so serious and wants to do well.

Iwin828 karma

What obstacle would you say is the biggest challenge to overcome? Thank you very much for doing this AMA! I really appreciate it.

Ninja_Strat38 karma

Thanks :). This is a tough question since there are so many obstacles! For me personally I have a hard time with balance obstacles or if there is a trampoline before it like the one before the salmon ladder in the semi finals. Those mini tramps just make getting to the obstacle tricky!

CanadianVelociraptor24 karma

  • Tips for people interested in getting started with parkour?

  • What's the "application" process like for ANW? How do you get to try out?

  • How is it organized? Behind-the-scenes details?

Ninja_Strat33 karma

1) People interested in parkour: check out sites like American parkour for tutorials and other sites like that. If you can find a local community it helps a lot. Seek out people better than you for guidance and train with them before trying to go out on your own! It's a very skill based and technical activity so having friends who know what they are doing there to spot you helps in your development. There are lots of gyms specializing in this but outside training is great as well so long as you are safe and with friends.

Ninja_Strat28 karma

2) The application process has gone from doing it on paper then emailing the results in to all online now. It asks for basic contact info and then it gets IN DEPTH lol. It will ask you about 50 questions varying from your educational background to what was your most difficult life experience. It varies what they ask from year to year but it has always been a lot of questions. It's best to start on your video early and your application as soon as possible. Answering all those questions takes more time than you think lol!

Ninja_Strat26 karma

It's pretty organized. You have to show up a few hours before everything starts to sign in to get your run position and to go through the rules process. After that you have to stay in a holding area in preparation for your run. Cameras may record you warming up or have your do an impromptu interview before your run. The day before the try outs happen you may be asked for an in depth interview or if you can't make that it could be the day of the try outs. There has been a few things to train on in the holding pin like mini tramps / bars to swing from.

Ninja_Strat25 karma

As far how do you get to try out well anyone can! Just google American ninja warrior tryouts randomly through the year to see when try outs will be. It varies when they hold them but the last 2 years have been held during the summer months.

CanadianVelociraptor12 karma

Wow, thank you for the great responses! I'm joining a local parkour group soon and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be sure to learn as much as I can from the more experienced guys.

Thanks for the other info as well; ANW is really cool and I'd love to try out one day down the road :)

Ninja_Strat13 karma

Thanks for the great questions and the support :).

tbmermaid24 karma

What's the nastiest injury you've ever seen someone do while trying to do this?

Ninja_Strat48 karma

There have been a few but Id have to say a compound fracture from someone failing to land on the quad steps properly. The ankle bone went straight through the side of their foot :/. This was back in ANW 2 when someone was testing the course.

drivesarollback13 karma

Q: How much money have you put into this as far as travelling and any sort of entrance fees and such? You're in Atlanta? My sister lives there. I've always wanted to try Ninja Warrior! If I'm interpreting what I've seen so far of this properly, I may meet you sometime, or at least come by that gym. I almost wanted to move there too, but now I'm looking at Colorado. I am also learning a lot of woodworking, I should totally build a gym like you guys have once I start business up there! Keep up the hard work man! So glad to have found this.

Ninja_Strat14 karma

Thanks man! If you go to Colorado definitely check out http://www.apexmovement.com/. They have several parkour gyms in Colorado as well as California. They have some obstacle replicas set up as well and have some of the top guys competing every year!

As far as money that I have spent TOTAL. If you include all the training trips I have taken to train at my friends gyms and replica courses as well as try outs over the last 5 years probably around 15,000 dollars. That includes 3 trips to California for the first 3 seasons, 2 trips to Miami for the last 2 seasons, various train ups in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and DC, and purchasing training equipment / recovery aid such as chiropractic and massage therapy. There is no entry fee for the show, applying is free but getting down there costs a bit. You'll want to dedicate at least 5 days for the duration of try outs. 1 to get there, 3 days for the actual competition and 1 day to leave.

snowbleie12 karma

How can I prepare to be a badass like yourself?

Ninja_Strat42 karma

Haha I'm no bad ass, just a wanna be ninja ;). Just be yourself and love what you do and you'll be a bad ass no matter what!

RegularFreddieWilson12 karma

Every time I see Ninja Warrior I find myself thinking that a top level rock climber would be able to destroy the course. I imagine Alex Honnold would calmly cruise through the entire thing. Would this be a correct assumption or is there another aspect to the obstacles that would give them trouble?

Clovdyx8 karma

Last year, one of the more difficult challenges was the rolling log on Stage 2. Basically, you stand on a giant log and have to roll it from one side of a rail system to the other with your feet (while maintaining your balance). Rock climbing might help with balance, but it's not going to do anything for the technique.

Also, the salmon ladder. You need outstanding grip, but if you don't have the technique down, it does nothing.

Ninja_Strat19 karma

It comes down to technique on a lot of the obstacles. Rock climbers are definitely best prepared for the stage 3 obstacles and probably the final stage as well if they are fast climbers on a rope. So its just a matter of getting down a few nit picky techniques like how to jump off of a mini tramp or just judging jumping distance in general out to a rope or net grab, things like that.

Jaxmus11 karma

Have you ever run a Toughest mudder?


Ninja_Strat22 karma

I have ran a spartan race, warrior dash and a few other "mud runs" over the last few years and before that I have done plenty of obstacle courses in the Army National Guard. Havent done a tough mudder yet and probably wont. I did one marathon and that was more miles than Id ever like to run again and those tough mudders are right around a half marathon I think. Kudos to those who enjoy those runs but I think I'll stick to my ninja stuff! Alpha Warrior is probably the closest obstacle course race that simulates ANW that is going around the country now!

Irrelevant_User7 karma

whats your fastest 5k?

Ninja_Strat5 karma

I don't know honestly lol. For the Army physical fitness test we had to run 2 miles for the PT test and I've ran that in 12:30 before but that always varies.

Anoreth7 karma

have you ever suffered from a serious injuryy? e.g fractures, breaks joint/tendon tears?

Ninja_Strat12 karma

Thankfully no! Tendinitis in both forearms is probably the most serious nagging injury aka Ninjary I've gotten from over the years of over training.

donrhummy7 karma

do they put you up in hotels? do you have to cover your own travel costs?

how long does the whole thing take from first round through to the finals? is it run on consecutive days in less than a week?

how do you deal with a failed attempt and then having to wait an entire year to try again?

Ninja_Strat7 karma

All great questions! 1) For the regional try outs you have to pay your own way. You may get selected to run the course but everything is out of pocket expenses. If you make it past the regional try outs and into the finals then all expenses are paid to the trip out to Vegas. 2) You'll need at least 5 days for the regional try outs. 1 to travel to the location 3 for the actual competition and 1 more day to travel home. Vegas could last up to a full week. So make sure you have some leave saved up from work! 3) After failing and having to wait a whole year is one of the hardest parts of the show. Sometimes you fall on something respectable on the later stages, sometimes you fall early on in the prelims, either way its a long wait. For me I enjoy spending time with other ninja competitors and training with them helps to stay focused on the next try outs. Its good to learn from your past mistakes but not to focus on them and the negative emotions associated with it. Took me a few years to figure that out!

Smipples7 karma

What is your least favorite obstacle on the course?

Ninja_Strat10 karma

Anything balance related I always over think and tend to be timid when approaching. I like things that you can just muscle through, those are straight forward. Balance takes a lot more concentration and patience!

topcat5127 karma

Please don't take this question the wrong way but is there drug testing in Ninja Warrior?

Ninja_Strat16 karma


Lol, no worries man. Not taken the wrong way. They do not test for drugs but they do conduct a pretty thorough background check and medical evaluation should you make it past the semi finals. Having things like unpaid tickets or some sort of criminal history could affect your chances as well.

InvalidZod7 karma

How cold is the water?

Ninja_Strat10 karma

Meh not that bad, its not like they pour ice in there. It was actually really humid in Japan so the water felt great! The despair and taste of failure on the other hand did not feel so great lol.

jamiethejoker266 karma

Awesome! You, "Cloud" Cousins, and David Campbell were my favorite contestants. What would you say is your favorite part of ANW?

Also how is LEGIT Japanese food? :D

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Edit: OOOOH how does one sign up for ANW?

Ninja_Strat7 karma

This is the new home of ANW so check this site every so often through the year to see when try outs are and sign up when they open up the process! http://tv.esquire.com/shows/american-ninja-warrior

The food in Japan was amazing. If you love sushi then its top notch. We went to a sushi place that had everything on different colored plates that were on a conveyor belt and all you had to do is grab the plate you wanted. When you were done the plates were priced by color and you got your check at the end. I had no clue what I was eating but that didnt stop me from trying it!

Favorite part of ANW has to be the camaraderie and experience of trying out with all your friends. Training for it through the year, the days leading up to it to the frantic minutes before your run make some great friends in the long run!

BerzerkMode6 karma

You have been replying for almost 7 straight hours. Mad props. I feel like we might have a new Reddit addict on our hands. Hopefully your new obsession does not interfere with you passion for fitness and Ninja Warrior. I have no questions, but this was an interesting AMA and I wish you good luck in the future man.

Ninja_Strat6 karma

Thanks man, trying my best to answer these questions lol. I saw Pacific Rim and started this thread right before I saw that movie so I had some catching up to do and just havent stopped yet. Thank goodness its Saturday lol!

TheGreatJeremy6 karma

What is the toughest challenge to complete, for you personally? Perhaps besides the final event, which would normally be the most difficult. Thanks for the AMA!

Ninja_Strat18 karma

Thanks for the question :).

Toughest challenge is usually the mental aspect of holding it all together when you are waiting to run right on the start line. The camera is getting in position and you are just waiting on your cue to go can really throw your head out of the game if you are calm by the time you get up there.

As far as physically I would say the toughest would be doing the entire course all at once. Each obstacle by itself isn't too challenging but when its all together things get tricky if you don't have laser like focus for each one. Hardest for me, since I fell on it in ANW 3 is the Ultimate Cliffhanger! Still need to work on my grip!!

TheGreatJeremy4 karma

Thanks for the reply. Does it ever happen that someone comes up and says "Sorry, we missed that, can you do that again?". Or any situation where the cameras really detract, or distract, from what you need to do as an athlete?

Ninja_Strat9 karma

Only case that happens is during the interviews before or after a run. If we say something a certain way they'll want us to re say it or re-act coming up to the sideline reporter after passing the stage or failing a certain obstacle. That can be a bit annoying at times. So if any competitors seem rather bland with their responses its usually because they were asked to say it a different way 3 or 4 times to the point where it sounds fake.

Ninja_Strat10 karma

When you are running the course you kind of zone out and forget the cameras are even there. You have to learn how to not feel the extra pressure of being on camera ahead of time though. It can be rather intimidating if you have never been on camera before!

Batmaners3 karma

Just gotta say, your grip was amazing. The problem wasn't grip, it was extremely hard course design. Consider that you were supporting 180lbs on 8 fingertips for about 30 seconds....that's pretty incredible.

Ninja_Strat10 karma

Thanks! I'm actually only 155 but still need work on getting my grip strength and endurance up!

Megusta996 karma

Did you plan on becoming a real life ninja when you were little?

Ninja_Strat21 karma

I think when I was really little I wanted to be an alligator wrestler honestly lol. Never had plans on being a ninja. And well ANW only prepares us to be sort of ninjas with all the jumping and climbing. Maybe they incorporate throwing stars and stealth missions in future competitions and then we will all be full fledged ninjas by the end of it!

TinyIrishGuy6 karma

What's it like being with some of the other veterans? Like have any of you become really good friends and have you had any really memorable experiences on the show? I've always wondered and wanted to meet you guys.

Ninja_Strat8 karma

Even being considered a veteran still throws me off so thanks for including me in that category :). Some I have become close with just from training with them over the years, swapping training techniques and staying up to date with what new obstacles were being used in the Japanese course so we could be ready for them in case they were used in ours. Every year I always look forward to hanging out with them and retelling stories from ANW 3 boot camp to some of the other competitors who happened to watch it back then. I feel really privileged to have gone to compete in Japan and lucky that I performed as well as I did on my first go at it! And we usually try and do ninja karaoke at least once when we have these kind of ninja gatherings :).

Sporkbubble5 karma

Do you think it is fair that each region has different obstacles?

Ninja_Strat7 karma

The only way that it would be fair is if all regions had the same course at the exact same time so no one had more time to train on the specific obstacles from the region prior. Or they could go back to the way things were with only 1 try out location and just have more people try out in that one spot. Having various obstacles from region to region also helps with keeping interest from the viewers so they don't get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. So yes I think its fair that they are keeping us ninjas on our toes trying to guess what our region's course will look like!!

TheGodWalrus5 karma

If you had the chance, would you do it all again? In other words, do you believe this was a good life decision?

Ninja_Strat17 karma

Most definitely! Even though our chances of defeating the course is less than 1% the journey is what it's all about. Each year I have made more friends and strengthened the bonds made from the years prior. The fact that its us versus the course kind of creates this mutual suffering that we all go through as contestants. We all want to do well and go far so we are all usually supportive of each other. But that's not everyone sadly. Occasionally there are some people that go thinking they will be the best and are there just for themselves. When they don't do as well as they expected they either talk trash or just leave and never try out again. But for the most part the community that is built around the show is helpful and is the best part about trying out. Without a doubt I would do it all over again!

IIIbrohonestlyIII3 karma

I am a rock climber, and have thought about trying out for theh american ninja warrior. I climb around V9 boulder, and have redpointed 5.13b. You think I have a shot at making it? I can't run very far, but I can do lots of 1 handed pullups haha.

Ninja_Strat3 karma

Give it a shot man!! And running very far doesn't really matter but having a lot of short burst energy does. So doing sprints / interval work will help you with what its like running through various obstacles one after the other. Then its just a matter of not messing up something simple which winds up taking people out more often than some of the harder obstacles! Just watch the old seasons as well as this one currently airing to see what obstacles may give you trouble and find ways to practice them. But even if you are slightly interested give it a go man!

sleepyj9103 karma

My wife and I got into it last year, I enjoy that it's not easy, seeing all the fails make you appreciate the success.

They said on the show that lots of people wait but don't get in. This disappointed me, I assumed it wouldn't be hard to find ways to wean the crowd through smaller competition, so everyone has a shot. Any thoughts on that?

Ninja_Strat7 karma

100 or so competitors were selected from the video application and if time permitted the remaining slots were given to those who walked on. They only have so much time to shoot since it is a tv show the crews can only work so long. Interviews and resetting obstacles take time and most nights don't start until 8 or 9 pm and finish as late as 4 am or later. Walk ons usually consist of either a) people who didn't get their video selected or b)random people who found out too late to apply but want to try anyway. With the show getting more and more popular they may eventually just need a full day dedicated to people who want to walk on but that may cost the show too much as far as a production stand point goes.

Applecore3543 karma

wow that japan run was pretty beast

Ninja_Strat5 karma

Thanks! It was a fun time that whole week we were there!

Darikashi2 karma

Hey, another one of us! I've competed twice. It's a lot of fun. I train at Iron Sports in Houston where we've set up most of the obstacles. Good luck next year!

Ninja_Strat3 karma

Whoo hoo!! Thanks man, you too! If I am ever up in your area I'll definitely come check out Iron Sports :)

Hi_Im_Stupid1 karma

Seriously? Okay, is there any major differences between the American Ninja Warrior, which I really haven't seen, sorry, and the regular Sasuke show? Also, in your opinion, which obstacle is the most difficult, and the easiest (I'm guessing the easiest would be the very first one, but still)? Do you have your own backyard style setup for training?

Also, just to get this out there, they celebrate my birthday in Japan. (Okay, my birthday just falls on a holiday, but it was still fun as a kid thinking they were celebrating my birthday.)

Ninja_Strat2 karma

Major difference 1) Try out process. In Japan in order to get onto Sasuke you have to be invited from either doing well the year prior, a famous returning competitor like the All Stars, a celebrity, or big name professional athlete such as an Olympian. Other than that their try out process has varied over the years. They have held physical challenges to determine who goes and will sometimes have obstacle replicas for potential contestants to go through but I've never seen anything set up like what we have at ANW. Except one year they had some crazy football field long monkey bar challenge which no one beat but I would love for them to bring that back lol. But the majority of the 100 people are predetermined with only a select few actually making it on the course through a try out process. ANW on the other hand in order to determine who makes the finals they have to go through try out courses that consist of various obstacles that change from region to region. So everyone who does well at the try outs gets a slot on the final 4 staged course in Vegas along with a select few wild cards that are chosen at the producers discretion.
Other than that the courses are pretty close to each other. Sasuke is aired as a special that only lasts a few hours so its straight and to the point. But ANW is spread out over 4 regions qualifying rounds and the finals in Vegas so the episodes cover weeks worth material.

Easiest and most difficult is a hard question to answer because any obstacle can be failed no matter how "easy" it is and any obstacle can be passed no matter how difficult it seems. So I'll say I have the most trouble with obstacles that incorporate balance or a mini-tramp. Id rather just jump out to something instead of relying on a mini trampoline to propel me to it.
Yes I have a few obstacles set up at my home but nothing to the extent of some of my friends like this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GqPo_Hd3Gk

gilbertgrapesmom1 karma

Have you met Makoto Nagano, does he speak english? Have you talked to him and if so, what kind of guy is he?

Ninja_Strat7 karma

I met him several times actually! First time was before ANW even started. He came to Florida for a small convention and I got to meet him there, then again when a few of the Japanese competitors came for ANW 2 then in Japan for ANW 3 when we were there for Sasuke 27. Really humble and nice guy. He spoke just basic phrases like thank you, hello, bye stuff like that. We needed a translator there if we wanted to have a conversation with him. Awesome dude!

shroob881 karma

I'm in the UK but have seen Ninja Warrior a few times, I'm not sure if you've seen a show called, 'Takeshi's Castle', but it's in a similar vein.

If you've seen Takeshi's Castle, I was just wondering what event would you least/most like to do?

Similarly, what event on Ninja Warrior is your favourite/least favourite and why?

Sorry for being a bit off-topic but my friends used to constantly argue about this. My choice, for both, would be Skipping Stones.


Ninja_Strat2 karma

The only Takeshi's Castle that I know is when it was redubbed as MXC so I'll have to use those obstacle names because thats all I know. Most fun one to me would be the spinning pink surfboard of death and the least fun would be sinkers and floaters lol.

Favorite obstacle on Ninja Warrior jumping bars, salmon ladder, metal spin are on up there because they are pretty straight forward and I like strength based obstacles. Least favorite would be anything with a mini tramp before it lol. Or anything that requires balance, still need to work on that! Thanks for asking :).

Shelbyrae1 karma

How well do you know the other contestants? Do you keep in contact during the off seasons?

What was it like seeing Levi Meeuwenburg fail out during the prelims? Is he as nice off camera as on?

What's the one thing people don't realize about the show that they probably should?

PS: thanks for the AMA! You always seem like such a nice guy on the show and I wish you the best of luck!!

Ninja_Strat2 karma

Hey thanks a bunch! I keep in contact with some of the ones that I've been friends with from the beginning at ANW 1. I train with a lot of the guys from up north and we always stay in touch via facebook. Seeing Levi go down in the prelims in ANW 4 was a big shocker. Just goes to show anything can happen!! And yea he is a great guy off camera as well. Really laid back dude!

Oh and one thing people should realize about the show is that a lot of the competitors are really close friends cheering for each other. They dont show enough of the emotion that is going down in the holding area where all the other ninjas are. They show a lot of crowd reaction shots but unless they have family or friends in the crowd then its just random people cheering. The show doesn't really do a good job of highlighting how much we all are rooting for each other.

PLUS they make us all say "I will be THE FIRST American Ninja Warrior." I've never wanted to say it but we all get made to say that line for their editing purposes. I feel that has jinxed me every year lol.

trtry1 karma

I am disappointed that NBC has moved away from Sasuke. I think it's cool having a Mt Midoriyama in Las Vegas, but I think it would be great if there was also a world tournament. Are you guys by contract not allowed to compete in Sasuke Japan?

Also in ANW 4, in Las Vegas, I felt they padded so much of the obstacles that it made it difficult esp. Stage 2, did you feel that ?

Also how do you feel about the swimming challenge introduced in Sasuke 28 & 29 which has caused controversy in Japan.

Ninja_Strat2 karma

To be able to get back to Sasuke now that ANW does everything here is kind of a mystery. 3 guys got invited by Japan to participate in Sasuke 28 but they had to pay their way to Japan and find lodging on their own and everything. Sasuke 29 was only for the Japanese since it was determining who would move onto the next round of the tournament that Japan, Malaysia and Singapore are holding together. I think Europe is trying to get their own Ninja Warrior version going on soon so hopefully we can get back to a single course that all countries can send their best to.

A few things looked off from what I could tell last year in Vegas. The balance tank in stage 2 in Japan was held in place by a locking mechanism of some sort but in Vegas it looked like a large hump instead. So when they forced the log over the hump it took off right away instead of gently rolling from the start like Japan's. Not the best design but hopefully they fixed that this year lol.
Swimming obstacle in 28 and 29 I don't really like. There isn't anything exciting about watching someone try to swim against a current of undetermined strength. Put the Metal Spin back, that thing is always awesome to watch!

eatingaboook1 karma

Ugh I used to watch these types of shows religiously! Awesome!

What is your favorite stunt/obstacle to do? What is the most fun one? After competing that many times, do you feel like you are getting closer to winning, even though the course may change? Muscle memory!

Ninja_Strat2 karma

Muscle memory comes in handy! Its taken me a while but I think I finally got the right mentality with the show to perform my best. Just need to relax and trust that your training has prepared you as much as possible and hope for the best! Most fun obstacle had to be the metal spin from ANW 3 stage 2 in Japan. The wall lifts were fun as well since that was the last thing on that stage and you knew you were done so all that adrenaline is pumping you up right before you hit the button to clear the stage! Such a rush! The Jumping Bars are pretty fun as well. Salmon Ladder is cool but I am always kind of nervous training on it since falling hurts if you dont have enough padding lol.

LJZollocomics1 karma

I had four parkour coaches contest on this show from GCA parkour and free running academy from Fairfield, Ct. They said they absolutely loved the experience. Did you dislike any of the contests?

Ninja_Strat1 karma

Hey I'll be at GCA next month for the upcoming Pro Ninja Warrior training seminar! That gym is amazing! And by contests do you mean obstacles on the course or other contestants who were running the course?

car_bon1 karma

Oh this is awesome. I'm a huge NW fan! I routed for you! Thanks for the AMA. Sorry if this has been asked but I have to go for it since I can't read all of this until later, but how were the Ninja Warrior Vets? (Mr. Ninja Warrior, Makoto Nagano, etc) If you had really interacted with them that is. They seem like cool guys.

Ninja_Strat1 karma

I've met them a few times now through ANW but had the most time with them in Japan for Sasuke 27 aka ANW 3. They are all really cool and humble guys! But I was so intimidated to really try and interact with them beyond saying hello and saying good luck in Japanese with my horrible attempt at their language lol. Its been awesome being able to partake in this show and make friends on the other side of the world :). Oh and thanks for watching!! Miami's region is coming up this week!

karlosvonawesome1 karma

Do they make contestants wear the uniforms for their profession or is this just something contestants do for shits and giggles?

For instance a garbage man often wears his garbage man uniform, etc ...

Ninja_Strat2 karma

They have wardrobe check us out to make sure we aren't wearing any type of logos or anything like that. Work attire and other costumes are usually fine because that helps build that contestant's character. I need to find something more consistent to wear from season to season as my choices the last 3 have been turned down at the last minute so I had to either go shirtless or wear one of the shirts they would give to last minute people like me lol.

kngooo1 karma


What are some of your favorite moments/memories from your years of competing? Does it ever take a toll on your personal life?

Thanks for doing an AMA!! :]

Ninja_Strat2 karma

Hey thanks for asking :). Favorite moments have been making friends from all over the country and world in just a matter of a few days while we are all trying to beat the course. Can't really describe it but something about taking on the course with your friends builds some strong bonds. Since I've been doing it so long it pretty much encompasses my personal life all the time lol. The only toll I say it takes is that a lot of people probably think I'm crazy for sticking with it this long. Also the women I try to date wind up losing interest when they see I have very few hobbies outside of Ninja Warrior lol. Ah well! TO TOTAL VICTORY!! Haha.

tomonline-1 karma

what does that obstacle course have to do with being a ninja?

Ninja_Strat3 karma

I am not too sure on this but I believe the Japanese show SASUKE was named after someone from Japanese lore called Sasuke Sarutobi. He was a ninja renowned for his agility and physical ability and for making it through a castle's defenses. So Sasuke was a great ninja warrior hence the title of the show. I just need to ask one of the Japanese competitors the actual meaning of it but I think that may be close to it lol. So in essence we are all ninja trying to sneak into a castle and avoid all of its traps and pitfalls.

MajesticStalion-2 karma

On average, how much weed do you smoke?

Ninja_Strat5 karma

I don't smoke.