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Saturday, September 26, 2009

David Campbell - The American Shiratori

David Campbell posing in front of the Final Stage in Sasuke 22

Hurray! We are finally here! Okay okay I have been teasing David a lot these past .. 2.. or is it 3 months? For the record.. I did tell him to take his time since I knew he was training for ANW (ANC5) among other things in his life. I was just was having waaaaaaaaaay too much fun :) Either way I enjoyed doing yet another blog about Sasuke competitors! Each time I learned something new about someone else and adore sharing it with others so they are as enthused as I am :) Already in a year I've done a few blogs on competitors from past Sasuke's (like Michael Milner (Sasuke 20) and Luci Romberg (Sasuke 21) and Brett Sims (Sasuke 19 and 20). (And very soon again Luci Romberg's Sasuke 22 trip).
For those who remember who he is - he is the sole winner of American Ninja Challenge (or ANC) 4. Back in June I asked you guys to send in your questions and many of you did even though he's been an active member of the Sasuke Maniac Forums and has been an active member for a long time in the G4 Forums! He took his time and came back with possibly my longest blog ever! Which is great since I adore reading this stuff. Without further ado here is my Q&A with David Campbell.

David Campbell posing with his Girlfriend Claire during Sasuke 22 ©David Campbell

Rambling Rican note: David is an adult and is quite fine with cursing so when he gets excited and recounts a particularly emotional moment he will curse (and I did post it) so word of warning for some language - you have been warned :p Okay.. carry on..

(RR) Having no idea who you are personally.. Could you give me a brief biography. Where are you from, how old are you, are you married, what do you do for a living, basic philosophy on life, were you an athlete in school, do you have any siblings? ... Things that someone if they never knew who you were and have never emailed on or saw you on TV you would want them to know about you. (I know I fall in this category and yes I find this stuff fascinating :D ).

(DC) Well I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California and I just turned 32 a few weeks ago. I'm not married, but I have a girlfriend and we live together.
My basic philosophy on life? Haha, well I could write a couple pages on that if not a book, but I'll try to briefly summarize. I believe that we are all one and create the illusion that is the universe through what we believe. The practical consequences of this are that we should be kind to each other, because the other is you, and that anything we believe is possible IS possible simply because we believe it to be so.

LOL David Campbell posing with.. Wow.. I have no words.. They have.. MASCOTS??? wtf... wait.. bad .. oh nvm... ©David Campbell

With the exception of Little League when I was 9, I wasn't athletic in the traditional way. My older brother (older by about 14 years) was always interested in Karate. When I was about 5 he started showing me some blocks and kicks and then trick his 20 year old friends into sparring with this 6 year old kid. But then I'd kick them in the balls and everyone would bust up laughing....well except for the guy that got kicked. And of course they wouldn't hit me back because I was only 6 after all!

Posing with his Number in Sasuke 22 ©G4TV's ANC4 Photos

Anyway, I stayed interested in martial arts and took some Aikido and Ninjutsu classes as I was growing up. My brother moved to Japan, got his 4th degree black belt and would teach me stuff when he'd come to visit. I never really stuck with any of them long enough to get a black belt or anything to be honest, but I can use it effectively enough when I have to. G4 called me a "martial arts expert" and I just want to make it clear that I do not consider myself and expert by any means! (That's okay David.. G4 gets a LOT of facts wrong..)
Aside from that I always enjoyed climbing trees and buildings and would practice jumping off of higher and higher things without getting hurt. In high school I joined a volunteer program at the local rock climbing gym where I could basically work there in exchange for a membership to the gym. Since then I've stuck with the rock climbing and done a little Karate and Jujitsu on the side with my brother.
Siblings? Yes. I have 4 older brothers and 2 older sisters, the youngest of those being 10 years older.


David Campbell's ANC2 Video ©David Campbell

(RR) I know you were in 3 ANC's before you actually won (yay!) Could you explain the process. How you first learned of Ninja Warrior/Sasuke and what made you think of doing an entry video. Could you explain how each entry changed or how you decided to film certain things (outside of the obvious of wanting to be picked each time). How did your experience for each ANC change you? Did it?

(DC) Well up until 2006 I didn't have cable, didn't watch TV didn't know what Sasuke was. Then in October of 2006 my house burned down, I lost all my possessions and pets and I was of course essentially homeless. After the fire I was crashing at either my girlfriend's or my brother's house a lot, kinda had fallen into a bit of a funk emotionally.


David Campbell's ANC3 Video ©David Campbell

So anyway my brother had cable and I was bored, scrolling through the channel guide one night and saw something that said "Ninja Warrior". Having grown up obsessed with ninjas I always can't help but check anything out that has the word "ninja" in it so I clicked it on and was just like WTF?? After about 10 minutes I decided it was totally awesome and that I HAD to go on the show. It just seemed that it was custom made just for me, all the things I'm good at in a game show! So I started planning how I would have either my brother or my sister that speak Japanese write a letter for me that I would mail to the creators of the show. But first I had to check out all the stages and see what kind of obstacles I'd be up against so I could train for them (I didn't even know if there was any kind of prize at this point I just wanted to do it).
So I do some searching online and find the G4 website and a page about an "American Ninja Challenge" "Wow they're going to send an American over?! sweeet! I have to enter this!" then I read "Voting is now closed, the finalists have been chosen" ...."Fuck!" I was really impressed with both Colin and Brett's videos though and watched the G4 version of Sasuke 19 cheering them on and was pretty stunned when they both failed the Jumping Spider.


David Campbell's ANC4 Video ©David Campbell

So I figured they may or may not have a second ANC but I'd train for the show either way, save up, buy a plane ticket and try to get on the show. So I started training for the show and before I knew it ANC2 was announced, then 3 and 4 all of which I entered of course.
It really helped me get out of the funk I was in after the fire by having a goal I was working toward. That's really what Sasuke is for me is something to keep in mind to keep myself motivated. It's cool that it's on TV and there's a possibility of a prize, but that's not what excites me about it.


(RR) When AOTS called you - did you know already ahead of time you won? How long did they keep you on the phone? (the magic of TV always makes it look as if it was instant when sometimes it's not).

(DC) They told me that they wanted to have me on the show via webcam. I also knew that was the day that they would announce the winner. I monitored the forums a lot and all the other people that had good videos such as Ryan Stratis were asking if anyone had heard anything. Of course I had to keep quiet. So being that the other people who I thought were my biggest competition didn't seem to be in on the webcam deal I started getting a big grin!

David in Japan ©David Campbell

So I setup my webcam and they wanted to have me on call from 4pm on I talked to someone on the phone and we confirmed that they could hear and see me, then I just waited and watched the show. A little before they announced the winner they called me back and had me wait on the phone for when I would be needed, when they went to commercial Kevin Pereira got on the phone with me but I didn't recognize his voice and he didn't introduce himself and he was like "Hey buddy how's it goin!" and I was just sitting there waiting to go on trying to go over in my head what my answers would be to certain questions (I actually wrote a few down) so I was kinda like "Hey, I'm good.......cricket cricket" I asked if the other finalists would be on the show as well" and he came back very quick with "Oh yeah we're going to have a round table discussion with all of you" I could tell that I caught him a little of guard with my question though and I knew he way lying, so in that sense yeah I kinda knew I was the winner before they announced it, but they hadn't told me.


Right after I got off the phone with him it just kinda hit me that I had been talking to Kevin and I was like "Doh!! *smacks self on forehead*" because I hadn't really seemed excited to talk to him.
When the camera cut to me after they announced me as the winner is was a little awkward. Because of the time delay of live TV I could hear the show a few seconds ahead of what was being shown on TV, so I hear "David is our winner!" and kinda start chuckling joyfully, but my girlfriend and her friend are still waiting for the announcement, and they're like "SHHHHHHH!!!! they're going to announce the winner" which makes me laugh more and they're like "what?! what's so funny?" all this time I'm expecting Olivia Munn to pop out of the cake, so then the ninja pops up with the sign and I start laughing even more and they start screaming and that's right about when they cut to me live on TV and so it took me a few seconds to realize Kevin was talking to me.

Japanese Toilets.. ©David Campbell

(RR) Describe your trip to Japan. Have you ever been there before? (I think you said you have a sister that lives there now?)

(DC) The trip to Japan was great! It was my first time there and G4 was able to extend my return flight an extra week so I could take the train down to Kobe, Japan where my sister lives. My girlfriend bought herself a ticket and flew directly to my sisters house and then drove to Tokyo with my sister and her family to watch Sasuke. We had a lot of fun before during and after Sasuke and I got to see lots of old temples and castles. The thing that constantly amused me were the various toilets. They're really into the electronic toilets that spray water up your butt, but then in the next stall over you'll just a porcelain hole in the ground for you to squat over!


(RR) How was your experience at Muscle Park? Do you have a video of it you have posted anywhere?

(DC) I had fun going to Muscle Park, but was kinda let down because the obstacles were very poorly maintained, falling apart, dirty and set up poorly to begin with.
The arm bike worked fine, but when you let go of it and get ready for the Cliffhanger there is a greasy film on your hands. So I'd sit there wiping my hands off on my pants, then start out of the Cliffhanger only to instantly get a new layer of greasy film that made it extremely difficult to simply hold onto the first straight flat rail, then switching to the second slanted rail I would reach up and grab only to slide down a little after every movement. I did manage to get to the top of the second rail a couple times but it was so greasy I didn't have any traction to get a swing going or to jump much if at all. This is what really upset me about the place I had gone there and payed $8 a run to practice the Cliffhanger, because they advertise that you can try the SAME OBSTACLES AS SASUKE , but they're covered in grease so you really can't seriously attempt them. I bagged them repeatedly to clean the cliffhanger or just simply wipe it with a towel, or allow me to wipe it with my T-shirt and they flat out refused! So I asked if I could use some chalk or sticky spray and they said no again! What's the point of this place?!

I'm sure David was having a hard time finding vegetarian food in McDonald's.. especially with this on the menu .. ©David Campbell

The Salmon Ladder was a little better, but there was a wall with a net draped over it just barely 3 feet behind the obstacle, so when my feet would swing out to do the kip up to the next rung my feet would hit the wall and get all tangled in the net. Also there were rubber strips for padding on the ladder that would fall down and wrap themselves around the bar as you were trying to do it. So I'd have to stop and push the rubber strips back where there supposed to be and kinda press on them hard to make sure they stayed in place before I could attempt the Salmon Ladder. The park operators would just stand there and watch me do this as if it was totally normal.
The arm rings worked like they were supposed to but were covered in black grease and they'd actually hand you a wet nap after completing it to wipe the grease off your hands. Also there is and air conditioner mounted right above where you have to dismount from the arm rings and jump to the pad. The first time I did it I hit my head on it!


If you watch the ANC4 footage of dinner with Olivia you'll see a scab on top of my head, niiiice, thank you Muscle Park!
But like I said I did have fun there despite all of this and I'm going to go back next time too, hopefully for some revenge!

David Campbell and Levi Meeuwenberg ©David Campbell
Notice Rie Komiya 小宮理英 being interviewed in the background after her demise in Sasuke 22

(RR) It's a loooooooong day to tape Sasuke. What time did you get there? What did you do during the taping? When did it finally end?

(DC) We got there about 9 or 10am I think? During taping I mostly watched the other contestants run the course from the sidelines. My girlfriend was in the stands as she had flown herself over as was my sister and her family who live in Japan. So I walked up there and said hi a few times, but they kept a pretty tight leash on me, pretty much filmed everything I did or said. It's kinda odd having a conversation with someone knowing there is a camera filming it and it may or may not end up on national TV! You kind of start thinking a lot more about everything you say, and it's difficult to be natural.

David Campbell's Girlfriend Claire posing with Mr. Octopus Minoru Kuramochi 倉持稔 ©David Campbell

(RR) Not knowing who most of everyone was since you really didn't follow the show as us geeks do - was there a competitor that you liked? (doesn't have to be an All-Star)

(DC) WTF? What do you mean "us geeks" I AM a geek! :P Ok well I might not be able to tell you what obstacle Yamada fell on in Sasuke 8 off the top of my head, but I watch the show a lot and am familiar with most of the contestants even if I can't remember all of their names.
That being said, I like Minoru Kuramochi 倉持稔 or Octopus Man or Taco Man (RR - though I've seen it as tako as well) as they call him in Japan. Of all the "joke" competitors he seems to really try the hardest, although I lost a little respect for him in 22 when he totally man handled that octopus (I am a vegetarian after all) and also I tried to say hi and he kinda just did a "talk to the hand" move and didn't even look at me. Though he took a picture with my girlfriend so I, don't know maybe it was a misunderstanding.....or maybe he just liked my girlfriend more than me? ;) I got to meet Yamada (Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己) and Nagano (Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ) who are my favorite all stars. It's funny, I like Nagano because he's so good at it and doesn't seem to care if he falls. I like Yamada for opposite reasons, he generally doesn't do that well, but he really really tries and it just kills him when he falls. Not much logic there but oh well!

The view from his Hotel Room when he arrived in Tokyo, Japan ©David Campbell

(RR) Do you have a favorite obstacle? (One you got to or even one someone else did that you wished you could try).

(DC) I was really looking forward to passing the Cliffhanger, I had trained a lot for it and to me it's the quintessential HARD Sasuke obstacle.

Makoto Nagano with Claire ©David Campbell
Hitoshi Kanno right next to them..

(RR) For us All-Star geeks - did you have a favorite All-Star?

(DC) Nagano, he just moves through the course so artfully, and he has a good attitude.

Luci Romberg, Olivia Munn and David Campbell at the sidelines of Sasuke 22 ©David Campbell

(RR) Did you want to meet someone but they were not there or you couldn't meet them?

(DC) I've never been the type to be star struck, but there were 4 people I thought it would be cool to meet: Olivia, Nagano, Yamada and Taco Man. And I got to meet them all more or less.

Olivia and Claire ©David Campbell

Did you watch Sasuke 22 (TBS version in March) at all and/or did you watch Ninja Fest in June on G4? If so, did you watch it alone? or with friends/family?
Watching Sasuke22 was lots of fun. I stayed up all night streaming it on my computer and was logged into a live chat with some forum people at the same time.
I also watched Ninja Fest4. I invited some friends over and had some chips and soda. During the International Sexy Ladies Show we went out back and let them try out My Cliffhanger and Salmon Ladder. Their dreams of being Ninja Warriors were quickly crushed unfortunately :(


David Campbell's full Sasuke 22 run ©G4TV

(RR) Last but certainly not least - I plan to use the video from G4 of you on the course - could you maybe do a summation of what you were thinking when you did each obstacle?

(DC) This is copied from a post I made in the Sasukemaniac forums:
Ok, I'll start out a few minutes before my run. I was standing near the starting line as the last one or 2 competitors before me did their runs. I was listening to music from my mp3 player in my headphones while chalking up my hands and the insides of my arms with climbing chalk I had brought with me. First it was "Breed" by Nirvana, then about 2 min before my run the track changed to "Pure Imagination" from the old school Gene Wilder Willy Wonka soundtrack. (yes I have this in my MP3 player, you got a problem? haha) (RR note: I love that song..) I almost changed it, but then I was like "ahhh this is relaxing". The last competitor before me started his run, so I walked up and sat on the starting platform while I changed into my shoes. (all the competitors wear different shoes while walking around in the mud all day, and then change on the starting line.)

David Campbell plugged into Willy Wonka's World ©David Campbell

I see Levi, Lucy and Olivia start to walk up, but then Olivia stops them and says "Maybe we should leave him alone, he looks pretty focused" and she was right, I was kinda zoned in and didn't really want to talk to anyone at that point.
I finish putting on my shoes, take my headphones off and stand up on the starting line. I had previously put down on my sign-up sheet that I was an artist and a musician, so the TBS people had been asking me to do some kind of air-guitar thing before my run.....which would have been retarded! They asked if I could do any other kind of showy thing like a back flip and I'm thinking "what the hell, Levi and Mark never had to do any flashy nonsense before their runs!" so I suggested I do a slightly more complicated version of the breathing exercise I normally do to get centered and they agreed.

"POSE FOR ME DAMN YOU!!!" David Campbell being interrupted by TBS chick ©G4TV's ANC4 Photos

So as I was saying, I finished putting on my shoes, took off my headphones and stood up on the starting line. I spray some stickiness on the insides of my arms and on the inside edges of my pants and the sides of my shoes. (RR - It's called Sasuke Spray, David!) I left it off of my fingers and the palms of my hands because I had never used it before and wanted to stick to what I was comfortable with, chalk.
I took my stance and started doing my breathing at which point the translator they had there to cue me started saying "No not yet!" I pretty much ignored her and continued my breathing until I heard them call my name and start the counter.


David Campbell in Santa Monica (after Sasuke 22) ©David Campbell

Standing there up on the starting line was very surreal, even the Sextuple Steps looked slightly daunting. They're quite steep and looked pretty slick (no grippy texture like the ones in Santa Monica). Anyway, I'm standing there breathing and I hear my cue! Boop Boop Boop Beeeeeeeeeeep! I emptied my mind as much as possible and just trusted that I had trained for this and I knew what I was doing and when I got to each obstacle my body would know what to do.


I hopped across the steps easy enough and didn't have to put my hand down on the landing which gave me a little boost in confidence. Running up the the circle hammer, I grabbed the rope fairly low and just tried to swing across nice and smooth, holding my knees up a little and then dropping them down to stop on the platform. Another cake obstacle.


Now came the first of the constant level changes and turns that really contribute to wearing you down over the course of 2 minutes. 3 steps up to higher platforms and I'm putting my arms around the Log Grip. The handhold my fingers found was surprisingly deep and the sticky spray on my harms really helped me get secure on that thing. In my mind the key to me passing this obstacle would be to hold my legs up and really squeeze with them.
I got all 4 of my limbs around the log and it started moving. I hit the first drop and was shocked, it felt like being punched all over my entire body all at once. The second drop hit just as hard as the first and my legs slipped a little. I just held my arms tight and tried to keep my legs high enough to not touch the water. It worked and I hit landing pad. Scrambling up and jogging over to the Jumping Spider I felt like I had passed the first serious challenge of the stage 1, but was about to face one of the hardest of the entire course!


I had planned on doing a quick test of the trampoline since every trampoline is different and really requires a certain timing to take full advantage of the spring-action. Also I didn't have the advantage of training on the trampoline with the all-stars as previous ANC winners have and had never even set foot on this type of bungee cord trampoline before.


So I run up and give it a quick bounce, only it doesn't really compress enough for me to tell how it's going to react when I hit it! So I give another harder bounce which gives about the same results and then a third, I really try to hit it as hard as I can. I still feel like I need to test it more but I already wasted more time than I meant to. So I step back, focus on what I'm doing so I don't fuck up and go for it.


I hit the trampoline and it bottoms out, I feel the bungee cords stretch to max and then just stop abruptly which is a little jarring, and I don't get as much lift as I had hoped for, but I do manage to land in a workable position. I land fairly solid but immediately feel my feet slipping out! I just push hard with my arms and power through it onto the Plexiglas. I in the Spider Walk, "I did it, I made the jump!". I had great traction with my hands, but my shoes felt just a little slippery, not so much that they were actually sliding, but just enough so that I had to go a little slow and be careful. I was very relived at this point, the Jumping Spider was the one spot on stage 1 that I though there was a chance of failure. I knew now there was nothing else that could put me in the water and I'd be standing dry at the end of stage 1!


I drop down from the Spider Walk and run up to the Half Pipe ramp. I had practiced for this at my local skate park by having my nephew hold his hand high in the air while I would run sideways on the ramp and reach out to give him a high five. This seemed like basically the same idea as the Half Pipe Attack, but it just seemed too easy. I had doubts if the real thing would really be like what I had practiced. I stopped, took a quick breath( that Spider Walk was surprisingly draining) and a quick look at what I was about to do. "Ok, I got this just don't do something stupid like Akiyama or Yamamoto!" I ran up the ramp, concentrated on getting high enough on the wall, grabbed the rope, swung out, drooped on the platform. "wow that was totally easy, how do so many people fail there??" I took a couple steps over to the plank where Yamamoto fell and just stopped for a quick second to make sure I hadn't missed something that was going to put me in the water like him.


Now I had planned on running right up onto the middle of the warped wall like Brian Orosco, but the plank was different than in previous Sasukes and led me to the rear, so fuck it, no time to think, I hopped up onto the high rear platform.
I ran down the ramp towards the wall, "fuck that's high, uh oh, I don't have as much speed as I need!" I ran up the wall and had almost no momentum, I reached up to grab the top. At this point I knew my time must be getting low and if I didn't make this on my first try I wouldn't have time for a second run at it! I grabbed the top of the wall with my fingertips, my arm fully extended. I heard someone (I think it was Olivia) yell "Oh no!" Most people slip down after barely grabbing the top like this and so I think many people expected I was about to slip. I knew I had it though, my finger strength is one thing I have total confidence in from all the rock climbing I do. I pull myself up and swing my foot over as I hear the same person yell "Yes, he got it, he got it!".

Now I was very happy with the fact that I got up the wall, but my minor victory was bittersweet. At this point I was dying, the air in Tokyo in very polluted and on top of that there had been dust storms all week. Often when I would walk outside I would instantly taste dirt in my mouth. About 1/3rd of the people you see walking around town were wearing surgical type face masks. And as a bonus I had completely forgot to warm-up before my run, I just hadn't expected to get so tired in under 2 minutes!


So I'm stepping up the the Slider Jump breathing very heavy, trying to extract some oxygen from this smog and dust filled gas they try to pass off as air, salivating heavily, I can feel my lungs filling with fluid. I grab onto the bar and just kind of hang for a second to rest, I know my time is drastically short, but I also know that if I try to jump for the net in that state I'm going into the water.


I hear Levi yell "GO!!!!!". I move my head over to the right a little so I can see the timer and it was dismal, 30 some odd seconds left (I remember seeing 38 seconds, but watching the video this doesn't seem right, closer to 32 seconds?) So I figure "Fuck it, now or never, so what if you're tired, you have to do it!", though I knew there was little chance of me finishing in time at this point. I had actually been thinking that since I got to the top of the warped wall. But at least I could make it to the end and prove that I could actually clear all the obstacles (this was my new goal)


I moved the bar over the stops, leaned back, and threw my body down the rails trying to get as much speed as I could to help me get across the gap. When I got to the end of the rails I swung my feet out and tried to do a Pipe Slider style dismount. As I moved through the air I started to realize it was going to be close if I made it, so I decided to put my legs through the net so if I didn't get it with my hands the first try I could maybe get hung up on my feet and grab the net upside down.


I missed the net and had a moment of horror and dis-belief as I fell backward down the net towards the water. "NO FUCK NO THIS CAN'T HAPPEN!!! I WILL NOT GO INTO THAT GOD DAMNED WATER!!! FUCK!!!!! GIVE SOMETHING TO GRAB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I threw my arm back blindly towards the net and felt rope "YES!!!! THANK YOU GOD!!". I let my fingers do their thing and started focusing on flexing my abdomen to hold my legs out of the water when the impact I was anticipating hit from the net pulling taught under my body weight.
As it turned out my feet were still tangled up in the net after I stopped falling, so keeping them out of the water wasn't a problem. But now I had to get my foot free, it was all tangled up..."Shit I made it hahahaha! Wait, no let go of my foot!!!". I get it free and scramble up more of those 4 foot steps, I grab the rope and hear the 10 second warning. "Fuck there's no way, oh well at least I physically made it to the end, that's better than most right?".


I reach as high up the rope as I can and swing, I hit the net and start climbing trying to get as close as I can to the button before the buzzer sounds. I reach the top of the net and hear the dreaded "POP" sound of time over. I pull myself up onto the bridge and walk over to the button. I decide not to push the button or force my way through the gates as most people that run out of time do. I think it's kinda stupid and a little disrespectful when people do that, it's like "no dude, you ran out of time, you didn't make it, that's why the gate's not opening for you, walk around!"
So I politely walk past the buzzer and around the gate, turn and give a little "oh well, what can I say, I tried" shrug to everyone and then look for a way down.


I walk over the right and see just fence so I turn around and see the fireman's pole behind the gate. I chuckle to myself as I gasp for oxygen "Haha f**k I have to slide down that now? I thought the course was over!?"


I grab the pole and feel like I'm barely hanging on as I slide down. I step onto the ground and turn to see the camera crew rushing over to interview me. Before they can ask me anything I just say as I pant "Ahh I under estimated the cardio, not very much time!" They seem satisfied with that, so I make my way over to Olivia and my fellow ANC competitors who simultaneously congratulate and console me, and grab a quick drink of water before the G4 cameras come in for interviews.

The end.

Levi Meeuwenberg, Olivia Munn and David Campbell ©G4TV's ANC4 Photos

On a side note the 2 biggest surprises of stage 1 were how hard the Log Grip jolts you, and simply how tired you get in those 2 minutes!
I'm optimistic that they're going to send me back for Sasuke23, so I'm really kicking my ass into shape in the cardio/aerobic area. I set out a simple Sasuke/Parkour obstacle course at the local park to simulate the general endurance demands of stage 1. On my first run I had a time of 3:10 and was beat. I'm down to 2:30 now and am much less tired already!

Levi and David ©G4TV's ANC4 Photos

I recommend anyone who plans on entering ANC5 (now ANC6 or ANW2 since this was all written well before we knew what the contest was going to be like for ANC5/ANW) do some similar training to this. Also when you practice specific obstacles, run around and get tired, then try doing the same obstacle while you're breathing hard and just want to stop and rest

Sasuke 22's starting line ©David Campbell

Fan Questions:
(From Sasuke Maniacs Proboard)
Colin, 14, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - In the First stage, what was the hardest/most challenging obstacle you faced?
(DC) Well the one that gave me the most trouble was the Slider Jump of course, but now that I've built one and practiced it I see that my error was improper technique and simply being tired. The Jumping Spider also cost me a lot of time and I'm actually still more worried about this obstacle than the Slider Jump!
At least next time I won't have to test the trampoline!


David Campbell training on his replica Slider Jump - August, 2009 ©David Campbell

From Gavin, age 14, from Dublin, Ireland - I've got 2 Questions for David
1. The first person to clear stage one (Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志) went directly before you. Did this make you more nervous or confident?

(DC) I was so zoned into what I needed to do at that point, that I knew he passed on some level, but it didn't really even register to me. So I'll say it didn't effect my state at all.

2. Assuming you stayed for stage 3 when Yuuji (Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治) was attempting the gliding ring (Sasuke 22) did you fear it would work like Nagano's grinding ring (Sasuke 21)?

(DC) One of the first things I looked at was stage 3 when I got there in the morning and after seeing that the Gliding Ring had a stopper on it I knew it would be easy. I have pretty good stamina in my arms so I wasn't too worried about having to work to get the ring down.

Levi Meeuwenberg (Sasuke 20-22) and David Campbell (Sasuke 22) training together, August, 2009 ©David Campbell

Brandon, 14, Orlando, Florida, USA - Which obstacle on the course where you most worried about?
(DC) Jumping Spider, and Cliffhanger

David Campbell and Levi Meeuwenberg after their shot at Sasuke 22 ©David Campbell

From quasikoz - Pennsylvania, USA - What's was a typical workout for you in preparing for Sasuke? Specifically how did you train your upper body?
(DC) For the upper body, I do a lot of rock climbing, mostly indoors, lots of body weight stuff (pull ups, push ups) weight training, and of course practicing on the obstacles is good exercise too!
For the lower body I do some running and jumping of course, weight training, body weight stuff (single leg balance squats, this jumping/ducking plyometric exercise that I made up: Basically squat down on the ground as low as possible with your hands on the ground and your head and chest near the ground as if you are ducking under something, then jump up as high as you can and pull your legs up into a squat in the air making the same body position in the air as you had on the floor, then repeat as fast as you can 'till you can't).

Sasuke Testers on the course ©David Campbell

Richard, 21, Texas, USA - In the preview (either Sasuke Navi, or the 10 minute preview before, or perhaps both?) they showed a glimpse of someone climbing up the tower to draw people in. It was a shirtless dude in white shorts (unless I'm getting too old to remember), so I thought it was Hitoshi Kanno as I watched him complete the first and second stages, but as it turns out... he didn't make the final stage.
Did you get to see if he got to be one of the testers, or was it just some random tester that just happened to be shirtless and wearing white shorts?

(DC) Yes there was a tester in White shorts, it was probably him. They had several testers run the final stage before deciding on a time limit.

Sasuke 22 at night (and keeping warm!) ©David Campbell

Patrick, 14, Chicago, Illinois, USA - What did the other ANC guys say to you before and after your run?

(DC) The other ANC winners basically wished me luck, Levi said to not get distracted on the course and stay focused. Immediately before my run I just wanted to be alone with my headphones on.

All-Stars waiting for their run ©David Campbell

Lance, 29, Virginia, USA - I'm curious about your treatment over there. From what we glimpse on TV it seems that the other contestants and even the audience has really embraced the American contestants. How do you feel our American competitors are received over there? The fans truly embracing each of you as well as the other contestants, and even the All-stars? How did you deal with the language barrier, and any funny stories with that regard during your trip over there?

(DC) Everyone was super nice and very helpful! The only funny story is about some of the testers, we asked them for some advice on the new obstacles and for the Circle Hammer they told us to grab the rope very high. I thanked them, but a minute later I was looking at the obstacle and it occurred to me that if you grab it high your feet won't be able to touch the platform and you'll be left high and dry (well maybe not dry ;) ) so I ran over to Levi and Luci and told them that they may be trying to sabotage us with bad advice!

Sasuke 22's Stage 3 course ©David Campbell

Tom, 19, New Jersey - After his run in SASUKE 20, Brian Orosco said of the course was "a lot more mental than he expected". Do you agree with this? If so, how did that affect your run?

(DC) Absolutely, I heard one of the G4 staff say a funny thing that I'll quite here: "Sasuke is 60% physical and 90% mental!" I agree very much with this. Your brain is the biggest obstacle to completing the course, more so than physical ability. You may be able to easily complete every obstacle one at a time if they were set up in your back yard, but get up on the stage in front of the crowd and cameras and have the knowledge that you have to do it perfect the first time or it's "oh so sorry thanks for playing have a nice flight home!" and yeah it will mess with your performance big time! Not to mention other ways you can mentally screw up, like me for example: I was so focused on staying calm and blocking everything out that I totally forgot to warm up, which made me get winded faster than I should have, and I was so RELAXED my the time buzzer went off I just didn't have the sense of urgency that I should have.

David Campbell posing with Olivia Munn again :p ©David Campbell

Gareth, 24, Australia - Was there anything about the course and Sasuke that you did not expect (and/or may have hindered your performance)?

(DC) Yes I hadn't realized how long the first stage really is and how tired you get. Also I wasn't expecting something like that cursed Slider Jump!!

Claire posing with Levi ©David Campbell

Jordan, 17, Kansas City Missouri, USA - What was going through your head when you saw the new obstacles, did they seem threatening? Were you happy that the pole maze and flying chute were gone, or afraid you might mess up on the new ones?

(DC) The Circle hammer looked like cake, the Slider Jump looked tricky but I was pretty positive I'd clear it. I was actually looking forward to the Pole Maze. I was really visualizing myself sailing through that one in one fluid leap, so when I saw it was gone I was a little bummed I wouldn't get to try it. The Flying Chute I had mixed feelings about, I didn't miss the bruises under my arms that I would have got from it (I know because I got some from training), but a little pain aside it was a much easier and less time consuming obstacle than the Slider Jump, so no I wasn't happy about any of the changes!

ANC4! Levi, Luci, David and Olivia ©G4TV's ANC4 Photos

Roberto, 26, Long Island, New York, USA - A couple questions:
-If you would have made it past Stage 1 in time, how much further do you think you could've gone?
-If you get to come back again, will you do anything differently, whether it be technique on the course itself or training for the course?

(DC) Well the only place I could have seen myself falling past stage 1 was the Cliffhanger (that jump is tricky), I was pretty confident about it, but wasn't 100% that I would pass it after seeing it in person and trying the Muscle Park version. Beyond that I may or may not have reached the top of the tower in time....I kinda think I would have though, most people fail that because they slow down so much on the rope climb. I feel like I could maintain a good pace on the rope.
Now since I've built a new replica of the Cliffhanger I eel like I've got that obstacle down solid. So barring some new evil obstacle, I think if I get past stage 1 this time you'll see me at the final stage. Assuming I survive the LA tryouts!

As for the second part, I'm focusing more on cardio training and general stage 1 stuff. Before my main focus was stage 2 and 3 training which is great, except if you can't get through stage one it's meaningless! And of course I won't test out the trampoline this time.

David being interviewed along with Levi Meeuwenberg ©G4TV's ANC4 Photos

Alex, 17, New Jersey, USA - Did you think the course was easy/hard as you expected it, and why?

(DC) The individual obstacles were pretty much what I expected them to be, the Half Pipe Attack was easier than I expected. The gap that you have to clear for the Jumping Spider looks a lot more intimidating in person than on TV, same with the Warped Wall, you can't tell how tall the thing really is until you're standing next to it!

Sasuke 22's Final Stage Tower ©G4TV's ANC4 Photos

Cody, 15, Clemson, South Carolina, USA (a few questions) -What were you thinking when your foot was hanging, but keeping you out of the water on the Slider Jump?

(DC) NOOOO not touching the water! No fucking way!!! .....then Shit my foots caught, this is taking way to long, I think I'm out of time! fuck, just go get as far as you can!
Pretty much something like that ;)

-How did it feel/What was it like getting farther than all of the All-Stars and ANC guys?

(DC) Thank you for noticing! The G4 broadcast messes with the order, but I went pretty early in the day. I thought I did pretty good by staying out of the water, but of course it sucked that I didn't clear the stage in time. I'm not the type of guy that takes pleasure in watching other people fail, and I was dissapointed when I saw Levi and then Nagano fall, but that being said as the day went on my run started looking better and better and of course I didn't mind that part.

-What were your thoughts watching Yuuji attempt the Final Stage.

(DC) After watching the testers I though he had a good chance but soon after he started I could tell he didn't have the pace to make it. It was great getting to see it attempted in person though, the thing really is high! And the flag twisting in the wind with the lights on it is pretty majestic.

Sasuke 22's Slider Jump ©David Campbell

Joe, 17, Baltimore, Maryland, USA - In my opinion, two of the toughest obstacles in the first stage are the Jumping Spider and the Slider Jump. What would you say is the best way to train for these two obstacles without building exact replicas based on your experiences with them in Sasuke 22?

(DC) The hardest part of the Jumping Spider in my opinion is the jump itself, so if you can find some different mini tramps at gymnastics centers and really practice getting a good launch with a short run up that will help a lot. The slider jump, you really just gotta re-create that jump in some way. Levi told me he had practiced it a bit at a gymnastics center by adjusting some parallel bars to be at and angle and then sliding down on a broom handle or something. The trick is to get some vertical movement kinda like the salmon ladder, and try to let go before you hit the end of the rails.

David Campbell.. probably doing something he shouldn't be :p ©David Campbell

Brandon, 16, Chicago, Illinois, USA - Out of all the obstacles from the 2nd & 3rd stages you unfortunately didn't get to try out, which one(s) were you:
1. Most nervous/afraid of facing?
2. Wanting to try the most?
Hope you'll be able to go to Sasuke 23 David.

(DC) Thanks a lot, I'm definitely going to try my best to get back there!
The answer to both questions is the same ..Cliffhanger!

David Campbell with Levi Meeuwenberg and TKPK the local parkour group in Tokyo, Japan ©David Campbell

Rambling Rican website

Chris (uNCLEsAM098) Christensen, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - How long was the entire trip to Japan? Any other stories from the trip that wasn't shown by G4?

(DC) My sister lives over there so after Sasuke was over my girlfriend and I took a train to where she lives and stayed another week, so about 2 weeks total.
The day after Sasuke, Levi was meeting up with TKPK the local parkour group so we tagged along and walked/ took trains around a couple areas of Tokyo goofing around.


Have you heard any word on if you are being sent back for Sasuke 23?
(RR note: At the time of this interview we did not know that ANW was going to happen. It was assumed that G4 would follow in tradition doing a video submission and a vote or selection process as usual)

(DC) I was kinda in the dark there for a while, but as you know now I'm sure, I'll be trying out with everyone else down in LA very soon!

David having fun in Tokyo :D ©David Campbell

Is there anyone you are rooting for to join you/take your place (If you are not sent back... which would be bad...) for ANC5?

(DC) Haha! Just read who this question was from, you fishing for an endorsement here? :P
There are so many deserving people. I'm going to be rooting for quite a few specific people to do well in the tryouts.
The first few that come to mind being : You (Chris Christensen), Travis Furlanic, Ryan Stratis, Michael Henglebrock and Ruselis Perry!
Michael Henglebrock had been submitting videos for every ANC since ANC2, I always saw him as my biggest competition, I think he's going to do pretty well in the tryouts....just so I can say I called it heh!

David Campbell posing with more members from TKPK ©David Campbell

MG, 24, currently residing in San Diego, California, USA - What was the atmosphere at Sasuke like compared to other major events? What kind of experience will you take with you from Sasuke 22?

(DC) The atmosphere was a lot more laid back then I expected. I really didn't miss the crazy drunks we get at sporting events over here. Also everyone is very supportive since there no "us vs. them" competitive thing going on. The most important thing I will take with me is simply the experience of having done it before for next time I go back. I will have more confidence and not make a couple mistakes I made the first time.

David chilling out in a themed stored/restaurant ©David Campbell

Ross - How did you obtain your amazing strength and endurance? Can you share any training tips?

(DC) Rock Climbing is really good for grip training. I don't do anything all that special, just keep at it and always try to one up yourself. Don't assume you can't do anything, anything that seems totally hard or impossible only seems that way because you haven't practiced it enough yet.
This sounds corny, but I've seen many people sabotage themselves by not following this simple advice: Always try your absolute hardest and don't be afraid to fail and/or be lauged at. You will likely fail everything you attempt countless times before you finally succeed.
Having confidence and will power will make you strong.
Jesus, I feel like a fucking motivational speaker! haha
Oh, and remember to breath!

David, Olivia Munn, Makoto Nagano, Luci Romberg, Katsumi Yamada, Toshihiro Takeda, Kazuhiko Akiyama, Shingo Yamamoto and Levi Meeuwenberg ©David Campbell

Katie in... (not in us :p) England :) - Who did you meet and who's your favorite sasuke All-star.

(DC) I met Nagano and Yamada who are my 2 fav's. I think I mentioned this before, but I initiated a thumb-war when Nagano shook my hand...he beat me!
All the other All Stars that were there I was around, we took a group photo and whatnot, but I felt silly walking around and shaking each of their hands, so I didn't. Like I said before, I've never been the type to get super excited about celebrities. Though I may admire their talent, I'm content to admire from afar generally.

David, Olivia Munn, Makoto Nagano, Luci Romberg, Katsumi Yamada, Toshihiro Takeda, Kazuhiko Akiyama, Shingo Yamamoto and Levi Meeuwenberg ©David Campbell

A gazillion thanks to David for a great interview! I was surprised at some of the answers and happy at the candor he displayed when answering the questions. :) Appreciate the time you took to answer all the questions and being so open about the experience! It was a long time coming but was well worth the wait :)

Bunpei Shiratori 白鳥文平 and his Backyard "Shiratori's Shrine"

P.S. The reason for the title.. I futz with this for a long time and finally decided to put this one. (thanks Tom :) He is after all the American version of Bunpei Shiratori in a lot of ways. He's mild mannered, quiet but a fierce competitor.. and he's got a slammin' back yard :p If we are picking USA All-Stars then this would fit nicely thank you very much :) Hope David is not offended by the comparison.. personally I see it as a compliment :D

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