Wichita Falls, Texas -
This summer right here on KFDX, you might have caught a few episodes of the show American Ninja Warrior. A show that puts an extreme obstacle course in front of extraordinary athletes, and lets them have at it. If you did see the show you saw amazing feats of athleticism, grace, pure strength. And in most cases bitter defeat. A group of athletes that excelled at this competition though were the rock climbers..
This year Brian Arnold made it further than any American in the show's history, thanks to the skills he built doing exactly what Gravity Nester has been doing for most of his life, rock climbing. Nester now owns and operates the Center of Gravity rock climbing gym here in Wichita Falls. A spot he says is a perfect place to start your ninja warrior training. Traditionally competitors in these types of obstacle course competitions use their parkour skills. Parkour defined as the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing. Gravity though says Parkour and rock climbing go hand in hand, "parkour is just efficiency in motion. Parkour is efficiency in motion. They go hand in hand. That's why with my gym i'm going to be building a parkour area on the second floor. So that people that want to do ninja warrior training can get the experience of how do i get this done. Because most of the people that do these events, why they fail is because they've never tried it before."
With Brian Arnold showing that rock climbing can lead you down a path to American Ninja Warrior success, more and more people are showing up to rock gyms ready to give it a go. And gravity says the best thing about starting in the rock gym, is that you start out in an environment where safety rules, and in the immortal words of FDR, "There's nothing to fear but fear itself." Nester too saying fear is all about perspective, "all fear is is the unknown. When you learn about something, chances are most of the things that you're afraid of you just don't know anything about. So if you realize hey the rope's not going to break cause it can hold 10,000 pounds, that the floor anchors can keep me from skyrocketing, all the what if's get worked out when you come to the gym and find out that everything is on a safety system. And it is a secure safety system that a lot of climbing gyms around the united states use the same setup."
And from how to tie a proper knot, to how small you wear you're climbing shoes, Gravity has it down to a science. And the reason more aspiring American Ninja Warriors are gravitating toward rock climbing all has to do with using your mind and your muscles, "you're using your total muscle structure in an efficient manor, but more importantly you're problem solving. You're trying to figure out how can i do this more and more and save energy every time..."
So if you're looking to test out you're american ninja warrior skills, or maybe just see what the world looks like hanging from a rope 100 feet up, head to center of gravity and see if you have what it takes.