The “American Ninja Warrior” National Finals continue with another group of hopeful ninjas running the Stage 1 course in an effort to advance.
So far, nine competitors have completed the Stage 1 course. Who will join them is anyone’s guess, but Kyle Cochran is one giving it his all. In the above clip, which is exclusive to Zap2it, Cochran begins his run and seems to be in great form, though the Jumping Spider trips him up a bit.
Another ninja looking to advance is veteran Paul Kasemir, a computer programmer-by-day. Zap2it was on location for Stage 1 of the finals in Las Vegas with another outlet and had the chance to speak with Kasemir. “I went out on the double salmon ladder in Stage 2 [last year]. It was kind of a mental goof up on my part, a mistake. I had strength left to do it but it happens,” he says.
He’s now rebounded from that stumble and stepped up his game, physically and mentally. “Every obstacle is an obstacle. If you count it as easy, you’re probably going to screw up on it,” he explains.
He admits that the fun of the experience is trying to better himself, though he his training regiment isn’t necessarily based around the show. “My training is just for fun,” Kasemir says. “I go climbing, I take parkour classes just to be better and stronger. it’s not specifically for ‘American Ninja Warrior,’ but to just to stay healthy and fit.”
With Mount Midoriyama towering over him and the other ninjas as they prepare for their Stage 1 runs, Kasemir believes this might be the season someone finally tackles the ultimate obstacle. “I think this is the year,” he says with excitement in his voice. “There are so many people strong enough this year, and enough people with the experience of this course.”
Now the question remains of whether or not his prediction will ring true. Stage 1 of the “American Ninja Warrior” finals continues Monday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC with an encore presentation on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Esquire Network.
Posted by:Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is equal parts nerd, crazy person and coffee. He watches too much TV, knows more about pro wrestling than you do and remembers every single show from the TGIF lineup. You may have seen him as a pro-shark protester in "Sharknado 3." His eventual memoir will be called "You're Wrong, Here's Why..." TV words to live by: "I'm a firm believer that sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing."