Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mt. Midoriyama Is Brutal!

For those of you that haven't been watching American Ninja Warrior is an awesome show. Competitors attempt to complete a series of physically demanding obstacle courses that require a unique combination of strength, endurance, timing, and coordination. The final obstacle is the dreaded Mt. Midoriyama and only 3 men have ever completed the course. Even the most gifted athletes fall victim to the challenge.

At first I was a skeptic. The contestants have strange athletic backgrounds (lots of rock climbers and acrobats) and range in age from 18 to 42. There is no particular skill set that gives the competitors a distinct advantage and the overall strategy is difficult to determine. So long as you complete the course it seems like anything goes. After watching a few episodes I started to get a feel for what the ideal contestant needs in order to be successful.

First off, anyone over 220 pounds shouldn't participate. The added bulk will slow you down and lifting that much body weight is an impediment to completing the courses. Secondly, long arms and legs are a plus. The obstacles themselves involve a lot of hanging, pulling, and bracing yourself against odd shaped objects. The more length you have the better off you'll be. Lastly, balance is a crucial part of the equation. I've seen numerous participants fail to get passed an obstacle because of poor timing, bad footing, or weight distribution. It's important to be in the proper position at all times.

The most fascinating aspect of the show is the unpredictable outcome. More likely than not no one will conquer Mt. Midoriyama all the way to the finish and subsequently there will be no winner. There will be no champion to celebrate and everyone will go back to the drawing board in preparation for their next opportunity. The competition isn't against an opponent, but rather the mountain itself. If you haven't already, give American Ninja Warrior a chance. I guarantee you'll get caught up watching it.

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