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Bauer student excels on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

“It’s amazing to have this opportunity, and being in a situation where I can do this and be able to do what I do year round, for me, is an accomplishment in itself,” Mathis Owhadi said. | Courtesy of Mathis Owhadi

Lots of students have to balance their school work with a job, a hobby or organization. For Mathis “The Kid” Owhadi, that balance comes with competing in the popular television show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Now finished with the 11th season, NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” shows off everyday athletes competing on a giant obstacle course. 

The main goal of the show is to get past different stages and make it to Mount Midoriyama in Las Vegas. Owhadi has managed to make it to the Vegas finals twice in his ninja warrior career.

“I’m still having fun with it all.” Owhadi said. “Anytime I do well, I’m really happy about it, but at the same time I do it for the journey not the destination.”

It’s common to have a nickname on American Ninja Warrior, like the eleventh season winner Drew Drechsel, who goes by “The Real Life Ninja.” The ninja nickname given to Owhadi is “The Kid.”

“My trainer didn’t know how to say my name, so he just called me ‘Kid’ and it kind of stuck,” Owhadi said. 

Owhadi began training when he was about 12, when he didn’t enjoy team sports. Then, he stumbled on the ninja training gym, where he found a community he loved.

“This has made me not feel like school is the only thing in my life, because for a lot of students that’s all they have. They just focus on school all the time,” said Owhadi. “For me it’s good. I don’t like only having one thing in my life. It’s helped me realize that there is more out there than just one specific thing”

Owhadi’s “American Ninja Warrior” career began when the competition show lowered the minimum age requirement from 21 to 19. Before that, he was competing in the ninja spinoff courses.

As a student, Owhadi said he does prioritize school, but it has not been too hard to manage. 

Owhadi said his professors are pretty accommodating when he keeps them in the loop as far as allowing test dates to be moved if they align with a competition date, or allowing him to take it beforehand.

However, he tries to design his schedule to where he only has to come to campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays to make the time for school. 

“Some weeks suck and I have to come to campus every day,” Owhadi said, “but most of the time I only try to come like twice a week and it’s not as bad.” 

To become an American Ninja Warrior, hopefuls have to go through a submission process to be considered for the show.

Owhadi said there was a video submission as well as some paperwork that prospective ninjas had to complete before an obstacle course was even in sight. 

“I was a little bit of a fan, I never really watched TV,” Owhadi said. “I was more of a fan of the obstacles and stuff like that, but I had seen the original show.” 

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