American Ninja Warrior has quickly become a favorite TV show in our family. Impressive athletes from across the country try their hand — actually their hands, feet, and entire body — at completing difficult obstacle courses. After passing one obstacle course, a contestant moves on to try a more challenging course.
American Ninja Warrior has many reasons to win more fans:
— The show features impressive athletes who would never appear on ESPN’s “Top Ten.” These are dedicated, talented, and passionate people who train diligently. Most are amateurs, but some are professional rock climbers, free runners, and gymnasts. Here’s to diverse athletes sharing the spotlight!
— Fans cheer for every contestant who succeeds.
— Unlike Wipe Out, this show mourns when people fail.
— Instead of trying to eliminate others, each contestant seeks to perform her or his best.
— The obstacle course elements test a wide variety of skills: balance, upper body strength, hand grip, core muscles, and problem solving, just to name a few.
As the title suggests, this show is the American version of the Japanese show, Ninja Warrior, previously known as Sasuke. Yet the title suggests so much more, does it not?!
The first few times I watched American Ninja Warrior, I kept looking for references to ninja warriors. Would the grand prize be a job with a ninja company? A cover article in “Ninja Monthly” magazine? Or at least a shiny sword? Apparently not.
The show should be called Super Insane Obstacle Course Challenge. Something tells me, however, that show title would not attract as many viewers. Instead, the words “ninja” and “warrior” are used, and these words seemingly appeal to something deep within people. Ninjas are historically heralded for their impressive martial arts skills used explicitly to kill people. Warriors are credited for their raw competiveness against any adversary. Again, the competitors on American Ninja Warrior do not fight each other, and they certainly are not out to kill anyone; instead, they compete against the obstacle course similarly to a golfer going against an eighteen hole course.
Would the skills tested in the American Ninja Warrior obstacle courses translate well into become a real ninja warrior? Perhaps, though I hope these contestants never find out.
The season finale airs next week. Will one of these impressive athletes complete all four stages of Mount Midoriyama? If so, then he will be called the first Super Insane Obstacle Course Challenge Winner! Er, I mean… the first American Ninja Warrior!