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The American Ninja Warrior course is Brian Burk’s comfort zone

The rookie has made himself right at home taking down obstacles.

Lara Solanki/NBC

If you’re not a Brian Burk fan by this point in the American Ninja Warrior season, well, we don’t even know what to say. The rookie stormed the Los Angeles Qualifiers course with such a genuine sense of joy that every obstacle felt like a personal win for anyone witnessing the run. Brian hit his very first buzzer and topped it off with the splits on the Warped Wall.

But that wasn’t just a fluke. In the LA City Finals, Brian made a run almost to the end of the course. He crashed down from the ninth obstacle, Leaps of Faith. The run claimed the 10th spot overall on the leaderboard, putting Brian through to the National Finals.

What makes this all the more special is that Ninja Warrior is not just a sport for Brian. It’s not just a fun, physical activity. It’s part of how Brian connects with the world. Brian has high-functioning autism. As his parents shared on the City Finals episode, they’ve been blown away by Brian’s ability to show his true personality through completing obstacles and enjoying his first Ninja Warrior experience.

We had a quick chat with Brian after all was said and done in LA and things were shaping up for Vegas.

On running the LA City Finals course:

BB: It was incredible. It was an honor just to be there.

I remember that one time when I had to pull off that big save at the end of the eighth obstacle. I just gave everything it took for my grip to hold on and I made it past the obstacle and because of that I made it to Vegas.

(On the Leaps of Faith) I was feeling a fatigue. I mean, not too much fatigue, but my forearms were pumped after the obstacles, and over time my forearms just got tired.

On getting ready to step up to Stage One:

BB: I can’t believe I’m here in Vegas and actually preparing to run the course.

I mean I’m always going to feel some nerves because it’s my first time running the Vegas course and there’s a lot of people watching. That’s not really too much of an issue, but mainly because it’s the first time and I only get one chance to do it.

How far is he going?

BB: I expect to finish Stage One and hopefully even Stage Two.

Let’s hope Brian’s magical rookie year continues deep into the National Finals!