There are Ninjas. And then there’s Joe Moravsky. Returning for his eighth season on American Ninja Warrior, Joe had a bone to pick with the course. He’s been the Last Ninja Standing twice. Joe has tried for the Mega Wall twice, and missed it twice. He’s a Ninja with immense talent and a drive to chase more from the course, that has been dangling its biggest prizes just out of his reach.
On the final night of Qualifiers for season 12, Joe found himself in an interesting position. He wanted to make the top two and have a chance to bring his teammates back by winning the Power Tower. He also really wanted that $10,000 at the top of the Mega Wall.
So Joe did what Joe does. He did it all. He dissected the obstacles and showed no hesitation on the Mega Wall, earning the second fastest time of the night. On the Power Tower, he never looked back and never paused, winning the match as Michael Torres fell to the mat below.
We spoke with Joe about his auspicious start to the season. Read on for his perspective on how the season has gone so far!
How did it feel to find out the show was actually happening?
JM: It was kind of surprising. It really was. At the same time, not surprising. Now that we got rid of the audience and the friends and family, it makes it a lot easier to be done.
What advice did you give to your rookie teammates, Jeshuah Lewis and Will Schlageter?
JM: The biggest thing I’ve noticed, and this goes with every Ninja, they’re so worried about failure, they don’t remind themselves that everybody fails, every year. That’s just how it is. It’s not a soccer match where you win one, you lose one. You literally lose 99% of the time.
I think that if you remember that, you’re probably going to fall anyway, just go kick some ass. Just go do what you can do! Show the world what you’re made of. That’s something I think a lot of people overlook.
Walk us through the Qualifiers.
JM: It kind of felt like my first season on the show again. My first season on the show, season five, I went out with a plan and then on the obstacles, my body just took over. Because of how fast I was trying to move through the course, and the adrenaline, and everything that comes with it.
This year, pretty much at the starting line, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to be selfish, as much as I wanted to. I was going to go for the Mega Wall, but I was going to do it in a time that could possibly bring my teammates back. I knew first place was probably out of reach if I was going to get the Mega Wall. But I knew there was roughly a 10 second gap between first place and second place.
With that in mind, I was like, I could definitely get first place. No question about it. I know I can run faster than these guys because I’m running last. Most Ninjas can do that. If they have a time to beat, sure. Knowing what I had to beat was a major advantage. I had a minute, 17 seconds to beat to get second place. So I had a target time to beat and get the Mega Wall.
I’ve trained Mega Wall for years and years and years. I’ve failed for years and years and years. Because I’ve practiced it so much, I have a routine. I like to walk up to the wall, measure out my steps. Well this year there was no time. I had to get down, and if I was going to do this for my team, I had to literally just do it. I had to run fast, chest back, stand up straight, and just jump at the top. I broke all of my training. Everything that I’ve worked on, I did everything backwards and I still got it.
It’s kind of scary, going out there and doing what I did. I did it through grit. I just fought through every obstacle and got through it as quickly as I could. But hey, I caught it. I really don’t know how. It was just meant to be.
How was that Power Tower race with Michael Torres?
JM: Michael Torres and I have run against one another on speed courses many times over the years. He is always right on my tail. I was talking to him about it. He beats me one time. I beat him. It’s within a second like every time. He’s one of those guys you can never count out. Going into it, I have a mental advantage because I have beaten him more than he’s beaten me. That’s also motivation for him to do better.
He kind of hesitated at the top of the tower before jumping to that bar. Honestly, that was the difference. He would have beaten me on that tower because I made a mistake climbing back up the poles. I noticed in my peripherals that I had such a lead that I kind of let down my guard a bit. But it was a close one.
With THAT kind of start, we have no doubt Joe has more in store for us this season as he advances into the Semi-Finals!