Sean Bryan’s time on American Ninja Warrior has been relatively short. Season 10 is only his third season. But he’s one of those competitors who’s found success so quickly, it feels like it wouldn’t be the same without him. After a quick season eight where he fell early in the City Finals, he returned to season nine to snag the fastest time of the night on the LA City Finals course and was one of only three Ninjas to make it to Stage Three of the National Finals.
It was quite apparent that Sean wanted a repeat performance of that for his season 10 LA City Finals run. He had to book it through the course to try to get the fastest time. He clocked in at 6:09.99, less than a second faster than Nicholas Coolridge, who took second place.
Sean is an immensely focused competitor on the course. We talked to him to find out how he cultivates that steely quietness in the face of adversity and how his life in the church really shapes his Ninja Warrior experience.
“The kind of obstacle that makes me the most nervous is balance, actually. Even though I’m a gymnast it’s kind of intimidating. Balance is the equalizer. No matter how much experience you have, you can go out on a balance.
I still myself. I pray. I generally have a tendency to just go fast. I’ve learned that’s what you have to do in order to conquer the balance obstacles.
It takes a lot of time to study the movements and understand the best way to attack something. I had to train myself, mostly through rock climbing, how important technique actually is is be efficient on the obstacles.”
“I was quite surprised to see how many people reach out, especially on social media, to let me know how I’ve affected them. People say, ‘Oh you’ve helped me lose weight,’ or ‘You’ve inspired me in this way or that way.’ For some reason, I quickly gain the trust of people. When they have me one on one, they’ll pull me aside and ask me some really intimate questions about their person, or their spirituality, or asking for prayers. It’s quite moving.”
“Luckily, I have a really great boss at my ministry, who really understands that what I do for American Ninja Warrior is really important. It’s kind of connected to what I do and what I teach at the mission project. He lets me take off whenever I need to, which is a huge blessing. I know some other people have to make huge sacrifices in their lives to just train for the show. I’m really blessed to have someone that understands.”
“With Ninja, the thing that really brought me to the next level was interval training. I have a good buddy of mine who’s really into the fitness training realm, he’s a personal trainer. He convinced me how important it is to do interval training. This type of power sport. Once I started to do that, I started to have more endurance for the shorter runs and it’s boosted my confidence immensely.”
“The biggest thing that helps me with mental preparation is a prayer that my spiritual director gave me to pray. It helps me to first, get rid of any sort of fear, any doubt, any shame that I might have for any reason. That really gets in the way of my training and it gets in the way of my relationship with our Lord. After that, I see differently and I move differently. I know that in some way, it’s all for the greater glory of God.”
After scoring the fastest time of the night on the Los Angeles City Finals course, Sean is well positioned for a strong return to the National Finals.