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Jake Murray shook off his lingering dread in Minneapolis

Season nine’s early fall has stayed with him.

Jake Murray’s fourth season on American Ninja Warrior is going pretty great. Running the course in Minneapolis, he placed fifth in the Qualifiers. This was a big moment for Jake. In season nine, he fell on the Bouncing Spider in the Qualifying round, only the third obstacle. The slip promptly ended that season for him.

With a successful run under his belt, Jake returned with more assurance for the City Finals. He was solely focused on the tasks at hand, putting his previous antics (including the hot dogs, fanny packs and Segways) behind him. Matt and Akbar squeezed a quick grin and spin out of him as he started the back half of the course, but it was all business besides that. The results didn’t disappoint. Jake was one of only five Ninjas to complete the course, facing down the difficult new Hinge and Iron Maiden.

Heading into the National Finals, Jake talked about how deeply that season nine fall affected him.

“My season has gone much better than last season, so far. I hit two buzzers, so that’s pretty awesome. I get to don the finisher’s patch.

Last time you saw me was season nine, when life wasn’t going very well. That being said, I’ve been up to training. I will always train full time for as long as I’m into it. As long as my heart’s into Ninja. That’s pretty much was occupies 90% of my time.”

“When I got on the starting platform the first night (Qualifiers), I was kind of experiencing PTSD from the year before because I so badly did not want to feel that way again. Never in my life have I ever felt anything like that. I have to say, that’s kind of my favorite thing from it. To get up there, and to not feel like myself, and be nervous and have a lot of negative thoughts, and still make it through the course. That was pretty cool. I think that’s a testament to my training. It’s paying off.”

“It’s not so much that I change my training for National Finals, it’s just that I do four week phases with my training. I’m constantly switching it up anyway. That being said, there were only about two and half, three weeks between Minneapolis and here (National Finals). So there wasn’t a lot I could do, but I definitely still hit hard.

Something I’ve always spoken about and I’m advocate for is positive self talk. It builds this awesome self-belief. You can turn your thought process around in a matter of minutes with it. It’s a pretty magical, pretty powerful thing. Also, relaxation is huge too. Meditation along with self talk.

I run through the course a dozen or more times before I actually get up there. I formulate plans for each obstacle and the overall course, and adjust accordingly on the course. Usually, it feels like second nature on the course if you’ve gone through it in your head enough times.”

“Extraordinary. There’s no other word that sums it up. I’m happy. I feel a little lucky, maybe. Just because I was so nervous and I got through. I’m ecstatic. This is what we train for. It’s crunch time. I’m two buzzers closer. I want to win. I’m excited.

I feel good. I like this Stage One. Season eight, I really liked that one. I was able to flow well and connect the obstacles without too much break in-between. That’s huge for me and I think that’s also largely responsible for the pacing that I go at. I feel good. I feel confident going into (Stage One). I want to be confident going into it.”

The American Ninja Warrior National Finals kick off on August 27, at 8/7c on NBC.