Have you watched American Ninja Warrior or it’s origin show Sasuke and wondered what these ninjas do in the off-season from the show? Well what you might not know is that small competitions are popping up at various gyms across the United States and even the world. These competitions serve as a way to hone in skills and test competitors all year long until they wait for the next chance to be the one who conquers Mount Midoriyama. Would you believe that Fresno is home to these competitions?
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Bull a walk on last year that stunned everyone with his unique approach to Cannonball Alley and the holder of the fastest completion time in the Venice regional this season.
Kevin where did your nickname come from? (Other than the obvious)
I have had many nicknames; most are some variation of my last name though. In college, my track team started calling me Red Bull after our 4 x 400m relay team won the State Championship in 2006 for Division 2. I ran my fastest time ever in the opening leg after competing in 11 prior events (decathlon and open pole-vault). My teammates said it was motivating and “gave them wings” to spur them on to victory. Our uniforms were also red.
Do you have a 9-5 and if you do, what is it?
For my 9-5, I trade stocks privately with my own money.
What made you want to be on American Ninja Warrior?
I always knew I liked obstacles. When I was a kid I used to tell my parents, I was full after eating half a happy meal so I could go play in play place at Burger King. However, I decided that I wanted to do Ninja Warrior after trying an inflatable obstacle course at a festival. They had the top times posted and I cut the top guys time in half at the very end of the day, and I thought that might be a better sport for me than Track and Field. However, it wasn’t until I started trading my own stocks years later that I had the flexibility in my schedule needed to walk on to the show.
If you could choose three words that describe you what would they be?
The three words that describe me besides “American Ninja Warrior”? I think Venturesome has to be on the top of that list, I really enjoy taking calculated risks and attempting to break the mold. A word that has influenced me greatly, although I would not use it to describe myself is the Greek word Arête. We don’t have a single word for the concept in English but it is a word that draws a correlation between fulfillment of purpose or living up to your potential and moral virtue. It can be loosely translated as personal excellence in the very general sense of always trying to be you’re best not just at one thing but also at everything you do. I think that idea is responsible for my success so far on American Ninja Warrior, because it is not a sport about being the best at just one thing, but being good at many different things.
What are your workout routines/what do you do to stay fit?
My workout week is usually like this: 3 days crossfit conditioning, 2 days bouldering, one day parkour, and one day running/biking. That covers most of the skills I need for the show and keeps me lean and strong.
Who are your main inspirations or where do you draw inspiration from and why?
My main inspirations come from people who are better than me at things. Some people make better decisions, have better skills, and having someone else show me what can be done, even if I can’t yet do it myself gives me the hope that someday I will be able to do it just as well.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment was being the first to complete Cannon Ball Alley in ANW6. I had a huge amount of support from the viewers, many saying they jumped up off their couches and cheered in their living rooms when I went upside down under the ball and did a cherry drop to the platform. Its not easy to get people off the couch when they are comfortable and I am very proud of it, and also glad that the athletic pursuits I am so passionate about were able to bring enjoyment to so many.
What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone looking to be the next American Ninja Warrior?
To future ninjas, I would give this advice; never settle for less than your best. You never know which skills in life are going to become important to you, so no matter what it is whether its athletics, school, or work if you spend your time doing it then make the effort to do it right. Then you will be ready to be a ninja!
What is something that most people do not know about you?
I think clay-mation is the creepiest thing. Ever.
For your chance to get up-close and personal and watch what these Ninjas do in the off-season. The Pitfall Obstacle League is having their finals competition here in town at GABB (Get A Better Body) Fitness. This is a free family event this Saturday June 13th so come and watch the action. The kids competition starts at 10am and the Adult competition starts at 4pm. Come and meet competitors from the TV show including Kevin Bull! For more information check the links below!