BOULDER (CBS4) – They aren’t your father’s monkey bars, and it’s not your typical obstacle course. It’s “American Ninja Warrior,” and some of the best in the business are from Colorado.
Paul Kasemir will be competing in the Ninja Warrior finals next week in Las Vegas. So will Brian Arnold, Jake Smith and Risa Scott — and they all happen to train at APEX Movement in Boulder.
“I’m a rock climber, so I went to a climbing gym and met one of the instructors here at APEX at the climbing gym and he was like, ‘Oh, you should come try parkour,’ ” Scott said.
“Everybody in here is kind of working at being a superhero,” Smith said.
“I’m like, ‘That is me, I’m going to go do that right now,’ ” Kasemir said.
Amos Rinao is one of the owners of APEX Movement.
“We’ve trained military, a lot of strong guys who are top-heavy and clumsy. We’ve had cross-fitters and sports players come in here. They have the power, but they don’t really have the agility or the balance or the focus,” Rinao said.
His facility attracts athletes from over the world who come to learn the art of parkour.
“It’s about efficient movement; so finding a way over an obstacle, over a fence, over a box, jumping from rail to rail, balancing,” Kasemir said. “So basically getting from one place to another as fast as you can.”
Freerunning is a variation of parkour.
“I got into freerunning like six years ago; same time with parkour. They are like interchangeable to me, I practice each of them equally,” Smith said. “I was pretty much not athletic before then, so parkour and freerunning kind of made me more athletic.”
It’s no surprise those disciplined in parkour make great American Ninja Warriors. At APEX Movement they mimic many of the same obstacles.
Only the Top 10 advance to Mount Midoriyama, the Mecca of obstacle courses. Kasemir has been there twice, but no American has ever completed the course.
“The course was very well organized. They had all four stages; you could see them all and they ran through everybody in one day,” Kasemir said. “There’s no practice at all … it’s your first try, and your only try.”
Arnold is a rock climber, so some things come natural.
“You’ve got to be well-rounded. So if you’re a really good expert at one thing it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to do everything,” Arnold said. “You’ve got to be a well-rounded athlete.”
It’s a pretty good bet somebody who trains at APEX Movement will emerge as the next great American Ninja Warrior. The finals are July 8 and the winner gets $500,000.
LINK: APEX Movement