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What’s your move, Scott Willson?

Chess Ninja knows how to navigate a conversation.


Scott Willson is known as the Chess Ninja. When he’s not training on every obstacle he can find, he’s teaching Chess to children. When you’re always talking strategy and tactics, you tend to take a slightly analytical approach to things.

We talked to Scott shortly before his qualifying run in Los Angeles. True to his nature, he kept us on our toes and stayed one step ahead of the conversation.

So this is your second time with American Ninja Warrior?


What obstacle are you looking forward to the most?

"Define 'looking forward to'?"

Which obstacle are you looking forward to slaying?

"Oh, I wanna slay an I-beam cross, Salmon Ladder, all the upper body stuff."

"You train here in southern California, correct?"

"Correct. I train all over Southern California."

How many times a week do you train?

"Like 6 or 7."

Any dietary tips you’d suggest for other Ninjas in training?

"Don't listen to me! I eat like, double doubles, and like tons of crap."

That's on the record, I'm going to publish that.

"That's fine. Just avoid fast food. Just don't go eating at McDonald's and Carl's Jr all the time."

@cherylandhercamera managed to make me look like a superhero! Needless to say, I'm stoked!

A photo posted by Scott Willson (@scottewillson) on

What equipment will you bring with you to the course?

"So again, define equipment. What do you mean? Like, abilities, attributes? That sort of thing?"

What actual, physical things are you going to bring with you tomorrow?

"Clothes. And shoes."

What’s your favorite piece of equipment to train on?

"Anything that simulates an obstacle, really. Arnold [Hernandez] has a bunch of great stuff at his course [323 Ninja Training Grounds in Los Angeles]. Tempest [Freerunning Academy] has a lot of great parkour things like, you can make your own really. If it collapses and you can run across it, that works. If you can traverse across it, that works."

#cats are mischievious creatures that only seek to destroy your productivity. My brother's cat is no exception.

A photo posted by Scott Willson (@scottewillson) on

Scott’s thoughtful strategy got him through the qualifying course with flying colors. Catch his next move on at the LA City finals, premiering on June 11th! You can follow Scott on Instagram here.