One of the things that is striking about competing in American Ninja Warrior and maybe even shocking to the film crews for G-4 (although they may be getting more accustomed to it after these last several years) is that everyone is very, VERY supportive of each other down there, even though it is a competition where you are strictly ranked against how well everyone else does. You’ll see “Ninjas” teaching each other, making friends and trading techniques and coaching tips. Almost every last person is actually rooting for you to be awesome and rock the course. You’ll even see people who are about to get eliminated from continuing on to the next rounds of competition cheering on their new friends who may just doing the eliminating. (To some degree, it actually reminds me of the CrossFit community when it was smaller. I think this remains the case in the CF communities on a very local scale, but the emphasis on competition and “dying for points” is so strong that it may have been choked out on a larger scope. Even back in the 2007 CF Games, when the community was still small, there was a different feel among the elite on competition day.) One of the reasons why there was so much solidarity in Venice is because of the spirit and philosophy that drives the parkour community where many of these athletes train and develop themselves. I consider us fortunate to be involved in such a supportive and magnanimous movement, and I hope that as efforts to capitalize on parkour and related activities such as “Ninja Warrior” continue, that we will have the presence of mind to not lose that Beautiful Vision of supporting each other and growing together. Here is a little video of what that Vision is all about.
Down at Venice I had the pleasure to run into Justin Sweeny and the rest of the crew from Parkour Visions. These guys are serious about promoting parkour in the local community and sharing it with everyone. They are also a collection of driven beasts. Sweeny is the first guy you see in the video. Rafe Kelly and Tyson Cseka, two of the founders of the community were unfortunately unable to attend due to work responsibilities, but their gym was very well represented and you’ll see what these amazing folks can do when the show airs in a couple of months. In the meantime, be sure to come experience some of the joys and thrills of parkour at “The Cave” and see what the fuss is all about!