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Ask-a-Ninja Round 1

Annie Dudek

1. You’re fit, and fantastic, when though, did you realize you wanted to be a ninja?

We have always been big fans of ANW! Last summer, we took a family trip to Branson and had the opportunity to meet Brent Steffensen (Ninja Warrior Legend). That pretty much sealed the deal and the boys told me I had to try out for the show. I have always been up for a great challenge, so I told them yes and they were excited. When the casting call opened up they said “You promised you would do it” and I couldn’t go back on my word so we began working on my submission video. After I clicked submit, I was nervous, scared and EXCITED all at the same time. It helped that I had a huge support system from my family, friends, and school.


2. Everyone who walks into Chaos thinks its gonna be a lot easier than it is, what was your biggest hurdle in training?

When you watch others do the obstacles, they make it look easy so you think “I can do that”! Then when you actually try it, you quickly realize how difficult they really are. You start thinking “Man, I can’t do it”, “There is no way!” You just need to take a step back and realize that they didn’t do on their first try either. You just keep pushing through until you can do it. It may take lots of fails but you learn from those and you keep going. It is an amazing feeling to finally get an obstacle and gain that confidence in yourself. #CITK


3. You teach 100’s of kids, you can’t get intimidated easily. What obstacle or situation made you freak out the most?

Anything with grip strength! My main training was CrossFit where we focus more on core, lower and upper body strength. When I first started on the hanging obstacles like nun chucks and the eggs my forearms burned! I still fail at them but I know that I am better than I was when I started, and I can only get better as I continue.


4. You taught us that Pico is belly button in Hawaiian, what other secrets can you teach us?

Growing up in Hawaii there was a mix of culture that we were around. The boys and I do the “shaka” sign as a way to say “I love you” or “I’m here for you” while they are participating in a sport/activity. I am half Filipino so we also use a few sayings around the house. “Nabung sit” means stinky which is used quite often since I live with boys, ha! Before bed we also say “Mahal kita” which means I love you.


5. Your husband is a good looking and fit guy, and I suppose you can out Ninja him. Has he gotten the Ninja bug yet? Is he hanging off stuff too?

Yes, he kind of has. He was a professional basketball player (overseas) and still plays competitively so he keeps himself in great shape. He hasn’t really tried any ninja obstacles yet but he does workout with us at the park and I do try to teach him a few things. So for now, I can definitely out Ninja him!


6. You were around some BIG names in our Ninja community, did you get star struck? Stumble over your words? Forget how to talk?

Definitely! There were so many people I have watched on TV that I wanted to take pictures with! I didn’t get pictures with all of them but meeting them and hearing their stories was pretty awesome! It was kind of crazy and very cool thinking I was actually competing against some of my favorite ninjas. While talking to another rookie ninja I said I feel like I need to get pinched to make sure it was real, and he really did pinch me!


7. What obstacle is your nemesis? Which one do you curse at (in your head)? And how are you planning on taking it down?

The nun chucks! On the show they talk about the “L’s” in your arms and staying at 90 degrees. I am definitely working more to get those down. The hardest part are the transitions from one to another that are farther than 2 feet away. I WILL conquer them!


8. How did you keep your head in the game? How did you avoid freaking out?

I was just really trying to enjoy myself and have fun. So many incredible athletes never get the opportunity to compete on that stage so I knew it was an honor just to be selected. I had so much support throughout the whole process and the competitor in me didn’t want to let anyone down. I knew how hard I had been working and preparing for the moment and I was confident I could do well. When my time came, I stepped up and told myself “You got this”!! It was so much fun and an absolutely AMAZING experience!


9. There were so many people in Kansas City freaking out and supporting you and loving you. When the course was over and you got to take that all in, what were your thoughts?

After I posted my submission video, the out pour of support and excitement was awesome but also a little overwhelming! I knew I had to really kick up my training so I was ready if I did get the call. That is when Chaos reached out to me to check out their Ninja Gym and to come train on some obstacles. I didn’t even know there was Ninja Gym in Kansas City. Being able to train on ninja obstacles and get tips from Russ, Liz and some of the athletes who train there was HUGE for my preparation and confidence!


As for the night of ANW at Union Station, I was blown away with how many friends and family members came out to watch. It was GREATLY appreciated! I was really just trying to soak it all in. It was like I was in a dream. After my run, my boys immediately said “You are doing it again next year” and I was just trying to enjoy the moment. Competing on a BIG-TIME stage was so much fun and was definitely a rush. I was very happy with how I did for a rookie, but the competitor in me was also a little disappointed because I really wanted to get up that wall!


I do want to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported me throughout the journey. I love you all!! And a very special THANK YOU to Casey, Major and Kaicen for being there every step of the way!


10. At Chaos we say that you have to be better than good, never settle. I know you aren’t settling either. What’s next, where do you go from here?

YES, I have definitely caught the “ninja bug”! There is such an amazing ninja community that I am now getting to be a part of and have met some pretty incredible people! It is truly special! I am looking forward to training harder than ever and I am very excited about the future. I’m going to continue CrossFit, ninja training and also incorporate some rock climbing. My boys love to ninja train as well, so it is a great way for us to spend time together while getting stronger and healthier. I am planning on competing in some ninja competitions in the near future and the boys are already planning out my submission video for ANW8! J My goal is to be the first “mom” to get up the warped wall and push the button on American Ninja Warrior!




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Raymore Mo

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