Course design

Course design and obstacle design are integral parts of AMW for obvious reasons, I mean how are you supposed to compete without a course to compete on. Now some of you might be thinking “ Oh I could totally design an obstacle that sounds super simple”, but trust me when I say that it’s not. Like most things with ninja warriors it is much more difficult than people think it is, I’ve met many people who think Ninja is just glorified gymnastics and the feeling of pure joy when I get to prove them wrong is unparalleled.

Similarly many people assume course design to be simple, and i can assure that it is the furthest thing from simple. If you’re ever looking to build a course there are a few things you need to keep in mind, and a few questions you need to ask yourself first. You’ll need to ask yourself what type of course you are looking to build, Is it a super fast paced speed course with a lot of balance meant to be completed quickly? Then you should probably think about Course “flow” and how every piece of the course fits with the others almost like a puzzle, as well as having mostly balance obstacles with maybe a few quicker swinging obstacles that can be completed quickly, Example: rings. (this is personally my favorite kind of course). Or are you thinking about making more of an endurance course that will leave your athletes panting and tired? Then you’re probably going to want to put a lot of upper body obstacles that are really taxing like Cliffhangers and Devils steps. The really important thing for these types of courses are that they are long with more obstacles than your average courses with little to no breaks in between taxing upper body obstacles, but if you’re looking to be more kind you can usually throw in at least one Balance obstacle to give your athletes a break. The final type of course is what I like to call the “Even Course”, this is a course that has a mix of Balance and upper body obstacles to form a challenging full course that tests everything a ninja trains for.  These types of courses need to of course have a good mix of different types of obstacles to really qualify. And because of this mix these courses are the hardest to build properly, if you put too many balance obstacles you run the risk of having that dominate the course and the same goes for upper body obstacles. These are also the most common type of course because a well rounded course is of course usually preferable.

Another important thing when it comes to course design is the design of the obstacles on an individual level, Obstacle design within the ninja community is actually very popular with the show itself holding an obstacle course design challenge every season, where a few select winners will see their obstacles implemented to the the shows course that season, and if the obstacle proves to be challenging and fun enough may even return in later seasons and also be used in the non show competitions like the NNL and others that I’ve talked about before. For example:

This is Kevin Carbone, and he is known as the maker ninja. Kevin is most famous for the invention of the obstacle the Wing nuts, Showcased in the photo above.  This obstacle since its introduction has become insanely popular, and can be found in most gyms across the nation now and has also appeared on the show several times now. 

All of this is to say that, like most things in Ninja, course and obstacle design are not as easy as they may appear at first glance, and the people that put so much time and effort into designing courses and obstacles deserve so much respect and admiration for what they do.  I’ve worked with a few people who have designed courses before for competitions, and the level of creativity and commitment they have to making a great course is amazing. 

Course designers are a cornerstone of Ninja Warrior because obviously without a course there isn’t anything to compete on, and course and obstacle designers, at least all the ones I’ve met, are incredibly creative and dedicated to what they do.

Regionals season

As the hype for the Ninja Worlds Competition increases, the final weeks of regionals kick into full gear. This Season Ultimate Obstacles, a gym located in West Boylston Massachusetts is reprising  its  role as the host of the final regionals Competition before worlds for the second time. The Regional Championship is a big deal as you could probably guess. For some these athletes it’s their last chance to qualify for worlds and so the pressure is on, for others it’s a huge opportunity to push themselves to their limits as an athlete against challenging and intriguing courses. Speaking of courses, the course design process for these is intense and often starts well before the gym for the competition is even picked, the lead course designers this year were the up and coming Jonathan Godbout, Keenan Doyle and Alessandra Merto. Now I also Used to work at Ultimate Obstacles before moving up to college so, when I tell you that these people are some of the most creative and imaginative   people I know, I hope you would be able to trust me. I’ve seen their work first hand in it’s creative process, and the courses that they can create are all amazing and challenging. But the course design isn’t the only part of getting reading for a comp, there is a complex Menagerie  of things that go into planning a competition, especially of this size. And the staff at UO (Ultimate Obstacles) have always killed it and successfully run smooth competitions that leave people feeling satisfied and challenged. 

But enough gloating about my gym Regionals is a truly Unique and amazing time in the Ninja community and offers a lot of people different things and there is that goes into from everyone involved, and you’ll know that if you’ve ever been apart of it, there isn’t anything  quite like it and it’s amazing to be a part of.

the other problematic outbreak reading response questions

  1. What is xenophobia? How does the term relate to the Covid-19 pandemic and the various decisions countries have made in dealing with the virus’s spread?

Xenophobia refers to the fear and hatred of a foreign person, this relates to the Covid-19 pandemic in that since the virus originated in China people all of the world(and especially in the US) have started blaming Asian people in general for the outbreak which has seen an overall rise in Asian hate crimes Worldwide. This is of course horrible and steps have been made to try and curb the hatred that has arisen, one way I’ve noticed it’s being done is the Muppets are introducing a new Asian puppet their first Asian puppet actually that they hope will help stop the rise in Asian hate.

2.In what ways does fear factor into the personal accounts and political decision making that Serhan and McLaughlin report on?

Fear plays into things in a way that when people are afraid they get angry, and when people get angry people they usually try to take that anger out on something and in this case some people take it out out on the thing they are scared of. And that can manifest from anywhere to rude comments to physical violence.

3. How does Serhan & McLaughlin’s journalistic piece relate to Cadogan’s first-person narrative?

it relates to it in a way where it shows a very similar problem from a different view point but they are connected and intertwined together. racism and xenophobia are linked in what is essentially a fear of things people don’t understand and find foreign to them.

4.What are your thoughts on travel bans (in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic)? Make your claim and then plant a skeptic or naysayer within the paragraph (name the skeptic, consider the extension of their counterargument, then show why you believe your claim is correct).

I think think that travels bans are a good way to stop or at least slow down the spread of sickness’s that have the ability to go viral, Some may argue against this with a similar argument that was brought up in “the other problematic outbreak were that closing boarders and travel bans can lead to discriminatory ways of thinking and it can be harmful. But I believe an effective way to subvert this would be to just travel ban everywhere and close down for awhile, I know it’s not a perfect solution but these types of situations are very delicate and there isn’t a clean essay solution to these types of problems, I just think that travel bans may be one of the better ways to help despite it not being perfect.

Outcome 6 (Sentence-Level Error)

Looking over all of my essays the area I definitely struggle in the most is proofreading, this is because a lot of the time I’ve had to do the essay’s very last minute and so I haven’t been left with much time for proofreading and it is a big problem. In my first essay I poured my heart and soul into the topic because I have very strong emotions about online relationships and their validity, but my essay was sloppily put together and so it was incoherent and hard to read with a lot of little mistakes. I would like to think that I may have fixed this issue with my other essays but the problem is I don’t know if I have because they were also rushed and probably suffered from the same problem. An area I feel I did well in however is the passive vs. Active voice, I feel that throughout all three of my essays my voice was very prevalent in all of them, possibly too much in my first essay, but in the other two i believe my voice to have a fair balance in the writing between it and the rest of the writing. As for all the other areas, I believe it’s a bit of give and take where improvements can be made, and improvement is hopefully what I’ll do in future writings and essays.

Outcome 5 (Document Work MLA)

I believe that since the beginning of the essays I haven’t struggled too much with the MLA format all that much. The only real exception to this would be in the first essay when I didn’t realize we were doing MLA format because I had been misinformed on accident that we were not doing MLA when we were in fact doing using MLA Format. I think that I have done pretty well using proper quotes and sighting methods throughout all three essays and this is honestly something I do not think I have to worry about improving or retrospection on too much at all. Looking back at all of my essays I have done well to remember to use quotation marks when quoting as well as using citations, so I see no real need for improvement in this area. I have even done the work cited as intended on each essay.

Outcome 4 (Peer Review)

Looking back at the very early peer review stages I was definitely more critical of my work then the person I was supposed to be reviewing, and this is still something I struggle with during peer review although I do certainly feel more confident reviewing an essay of a person I know or am friends with. For an example of this, in the second essay I was paired with Ren and I felt so much more confident and less stressed out than I had the first time around with our first essay when I had been paired with someone I didn’t know. As for the third essay I was paired with Brain who I don’t know too well but have talked to before so I didn’t have too much trouble there with being critical of his essay. When it comes to peer review I just feel guilty being too critical of anything they have written especially if we had opposing views on the prompt, the only time this really happened was with the first essay where the person I was critiquing thought the internet hurt relationships more than it built then. I have extremely strong opinions about the internet and how much I love my internet friends, and how I feel like I don’t know where I would be today without them. And so since she had the opposite view as me I couldn’t tell if any of my  critiques came from a genuine place or if I was just angry that she saw things so differently than me on a topic that is so close to my heart and important to me. I was however mainly able to get over this problem with the other two essays, for essay two me and Ren saw eye to on on how we didn’t like DFW so all of my critiques I knew were just that, and as for the the last essay all of my critiques were more editing things again because Brain made a lot of good points, and anything I did find was small with essay was really well put together. My take away from all of this is that simply being paired with people I know made the process a whole lot easier although I know that if I go into a job where I will need to edit other people’s work I will need to be more critical regardless of how well I know them.

Outcome 3 (Active Reading)

Looking over my essay’s i have a tendency  to lean toward challenging annotations over anything else. I don’t know how that speaks about my character, but for example in the early readings I add many disagreements over the disconnect the author felt online friendships and relationships had over real life friendships. I was very vocal about my stance as an online relationship Advocate and how they are just as valid as in person relationships. Throughout the first two readings this is mainly what my annotations just changeling, moving on from those we can to the article about the WBC and with this article I had a lot more questioning intentions, Specifically one I can remember spending a lot of my time thinking about near the end of the article and while I was in class was why Phelps-Roper had still not cut her hair after leaving the church. And I remember thinking that that would be an interesting conversation to have with her if I ever got the chance to meet her, which hopefully I won’t. But moving on to walking while black throughout this article I definitely remember having a lot of questioning annotations all revolving around brands of clothes i didn’t know and some terms about and referencing old timey type of play or philosophy. But the majority of my annotations were relating type annotations as a queer person and a neuro divergent person I have faced many similar discriminations and other types of micro aggressions as he did, never to the extent of violence fortunately for me and unfortunate that he had to go through things that bad. But just as a minority on earth not even just in America I could relate to some the feelings he was having when he first moved to America about feeling like an outsider and if he made one wrong move how he would be in his case arrested in my case more be treated less than and viewed worse than by my peers. But looking over my annotations I think this is probably the one category I May not need much improvement in. I know I’m not perfect but I’m definitely not bad at it either and I think that’s good.

Outcome 2 (Integrating Ideas)

Looking back on my first essay I would definitely say I put a lot more emphasis on the “I say” part of the “ they say, I say” formula than the’ “they say” part. In my first essay I got very excited about a point i made regarding touch bond bracelets and how i believed it completely dismantled the arguments presented in the articles we had read, and it was this excitement that lead it to be the focal point of my essay and it ended up consuming the majority of what i talked about because i got so excited about it. But the problem with that is it ended up consuming a lot of the essay and although I don’t think I would consider changing the point if I were to go back to the first essay I Would certainly try to add more to the “they say” portion to more even it out in the end. Looking at my other two essays I believe that my second essay hada better balance then the first but my third was once again mostly my input with not as much from the reading as there could have been at least in my opinion. I think that I am definitely still working on finding the best balance between the two voices for a personal essay but I am getting there and it won’t be long before i feel like i’ll be able to get it consistently. 

Outcome 1- revision process

I’d love to be able to come into this Revision outcome and say that I’m proud of the leaps I’ve made in my revision process, but that just wouldn’t be true. All of my essays have been rushed and or uninspired because I didn’t connect with the topic. Even when I did connect with a topic I was so busy with other things, projects and works that I had to turn in my essay just barely in time with no real time for revising of any kind. And because of the busy nature of a college student’s schedule, my revision process still needs a lot of work. As a part of this reflection I am supposed to look at a rough draft of one of my essays and compare it to the final draft but I don’t have that, the closest thing to that I can kind of get to that is my original version of my second essay, but the problem with that is that I completely changed my second essay when I realized that my first “draft” didn’t really for the prompt at all and so my second attempt at the essay was much more in line with the actually prompt and so i feel it doesn’t really fit here. So I am left here at least with the knowledge that I have a lot of work that I need to do in the area of my Revision process. And in future essays and writing classes that I may end up taking I hope to actually be able to work on my revision skills.

Bloom Reading Response

  1. If I’m being completely honest I don’t think the author had more than one point which is that empathy is overall not a good thing, and feel like that is summed up perfectly in his conclusion when he states” I worry that I’ve given the impression I’m against empathy. Well, I am”. (Bloom) the only problem with this stance and quote is that based on the text, I don’t believe the author knows what empathy is. He constantly attributes empathy with things that are distinctly not empathy. One spot specifically I see this heavily is when they are talking about the shooting in Newton, to me the actions of people from outside of Newton or more sympathetic than empathetic in most cases. I think this is shown best  with the quote “The town was inundated with so much charity that it added to their burden. Hundreds of volunteers had to be recruited to store the gifts and toys that got sent to the city.”(bloom) This specific example is the first the author uses, and even the later examples are still more sympathetic than empathetic. And this doesn’t inspire confidence in me that this article is completely credible, because to me it feels like the author doesn’t fully know what they are writing about.
  2. I personally don’t agree with the point of empathy being bad as a whole. I believe that empathy when used smartly can be amazing, but I know from experience that empathy abused in certain ways or empathy pushed to its limits can be extremely harmful to a person’s wellbeing. 
  3. Although ultimately i don’t think his view of empathy is all together accurate for a bit he’s article made me think what things could be considered empathy and how different views of empathy would affect their views on the concept 
  4. “In this regard, empathy distorts our moral judgments in pretty much the same way that prejudice does.”  This is a sentence that has a lot of enfaces put on it in the beginning of the article. And I think it sticks out to me  so much because in a lot of ways it’s true, and it’s just  really interesting, and it’s so interesting to think about how empathy is selective and in some ways like the other side of the coin to prejudice. And it’s just an overall really interesting moral question to ponder.