As the person behind ANW Nation for the past five seasons, a common question is presented to me when I discuss my career with others.
“You work on American Ninja Warrior?!? How cool! Have you ever tried the course?”
And my answer to that is (and will remain), “LOL. No.”
I’m sure I COULD try the course. But I understand my skill sets in life and the obstacles are not meant for me. Especially after five years of standing oh-so-close to the course, watching Ninja after Ninja face down a certain terrifying group of monsters: Balance obstacles.
Balance obstacles are the bane of Ninja Warrior for many competitors. They are incredibly hit or miss. There is rarely an opportunity to save the run if something goes wrong on a balance obstacle. And some of them are just downright scary.
One Ninja who could probably write a book on that subject alone is Ryan Stratis. Up until season 12, he took part in every season of the show with a great deal of success. So when he dropped this image on his Instagram, I definitely thought it was something to which we should pay attention.
Ryan ranked the balance obstacles that he has had experience with on the show. I would have slapped all of them into the “I hate it” category. It was intriguing to learn more about why Ryan preferred certain balance obstacles over others.
Going beyond just this image, Ryan did a Twitch stream where he thoroughly discussed the matter. The video starts with his commentary for a National Ninja League competition. He gets into the obstacles at around the three-hour mark.
Ryan discussed the obstacles in the context of a risk assessment matrix that he utilized while in the Army. This looks at things from the perspective of severity vs probability. Ryan explores the history of each balance obstacle and shares his experience with it.
Basically, if you’re a rookie who just got the call for season 13, or you just want to up your Ninja Warrior skills, you should check out this stream. This is the kind of info you only get after 11 years of experience. Thanks for sharing, Ryan!
But even with all this knowledge, I think I’ll stay off the balance obstacles.