FedEx Courier Returns to American Ninja Warrior
“Are you that guy?!”
It’s a question that Kyle Mendoza gets from time to time when delivering packages for FedEx. That’s because he appeared on Season 8 of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. The 28-year-old FedEx courier and parkour pro capped off his stellar performance in last year’s Oklahoma City quarterfinals with a backflip that had the commentators and crowd buzzing.
Although Mendoza fell a bit short in his attempt to reach the national finals in Las Vegas, there’s good news for his growing fan base: the FedEx ninja returns to American Ninja Warrior next week. Mendoza recently competed in the Kansas City quarterfinals. The episode airs on Monday, July 3. Check your local listings for program times.
In the meantime, find out what Kyle had to say about last year’s performance and what he did to prepare for his latest run.
FedEx: The last time I talked to you, you had advanced to the Oklahoma City Finals. You didn’t end up qualifying for the National Finals in Las Vegas. Were you disappointed?
Kyle: I wasn’t super disappointed. I was actually shocked that I made it to the [Oklahoma City] finals. I wasn’t expecting to do that. I just wanted to have an experience. Making it to the finals was totally enough for me.
FedEx: What did you learn from that experience?
Kyle: I fell on the bar hop. I had never used that obstacle before. The explosive pull-up type motion, like the standing ladder, the bar hop or any type of holding a bar and jumping, takes a lot of energy out of me. So I decided to start working on that. I’ll go from grip challenges to climbing to non-stop pulling challenges. It’s all intended to increase my upper body endurance. I can jump far and climb high, but I wanted to make sure my upper body was as ready as I could get it.
FedEx: I asked this question to you before, but it’s been a while. What is parkour?
Kyle: It’s an art around movement. Whether you’re vaulting over a rail or climbing over a wall, it’s all about getting from Point A to Point B as fast and efficiently as you can. I first heard about parkour through the internet. There were a few people who created it, and they posted videos of themselves training. I was extremely inspired by it.
FedEx: What made you want to compete on American Ninja Warrior again this year?
Kyle: I knew I wanted to try again because it’s a rush. It’s an opportunity to test my skills on a professional course.
FedEx: What was it like to receive so much support from FedEx team members and customers after we promoted your story last year?
Kyle: When I went back after the season ended and looked through the comments on the blog and in social media, it made me feel very appreciated within the company. [FedEx team members] were shouting out their different station names, which was really cool to see. It made me proud to work at FedEx. I have a lot of pride in my job.
FedEx: Have any customers recognized you?
Kyle: Everyone once in a while, someone will see me and say, “Hey, there’s our FedEx ninja!” or something that has to do with me being on the show. Sometimes when I’m on a route, customers will ask me, “Are you that guy?” I’ll tell them yeah, and they’ll say, “Oh my gosh! I knew you worked at [a nearby] station!” We go through that exchange, and it’s always pretty exciting.
FedEx: Are people at your station excited that you’re going to be back on the show?
Kyle: Everyone is still asking if I have another trip coming up. I can’t tell anyone [until the show airs]. It’s kind of a bummer, but most of the people I work with can put the puzzle pieces together and figure out what’s going on without me saying much.
FedEx: Has anything surprised you throughout your experience with the show?
Kyle: It was a really humbling experience, and I was glad I was able to inspire people and make people excited while representing FedEx.
FedEx: Is there anything you’d like to say to your FedEx followers?
Kyle: I hope you have fun watching me run. Stay tuned for more!
FedEx Courier Advances to American Ninja Warrior
July 25, 2016:
FedEx courier Kyle Mendoza dominated the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course in June, advancing to the Oklahoma City finals. Check out the video below to see Kyle’s stellar qualifying round performance. You can root him on in his quest to reach the national finals in Las Vegas by tuning in to NBC on Monday, August 1. Check your local listings for program times.
FedEx Courier Faces American Ninja Warrior
FedEx courier Kyle Mendoza knows a thing or two about movement. Not only did he once deliver 44 packages in just two and a half hours, he also does back flips and other acrobatic moves for sport.
Kyle recently competed on American Ninja Warrior, a television show that features competitors attempting to complete a series of obstacle courses.
We had a chance to catch up with Kyle to talk about his experience on the show and his passion for creative motion.
FedEx: How did you get involved with the show American Ninja Warrior?
Kyle: I’ve always wanted to compete on the show since I first saw it. I knew the only way to do it was to submit a video. I missed my deadline last year. This year I followed through, shot some footage of me training on some Ninja Warrior obstacles using some of my parkour skills and submitted it on their website. Eventually someone from the show gave me a call and said I had been accepted and told me I’d be participating in Oklahoma City. They gave me the run-down of what to bring, what to wear and where to be.
FedEx: What is parkour?
Kyle: Parkour is an art around movement. If martial arts is about learning how to fight and defend yourself, parkour is about learning how to move through your environment. Parkour is strictly obstacle based movement, whether you’re using a rail and vaulting over it, or you see a wall and instead of walking all the way around it, you run up and climb over it. It’s all about getting from A to B as fast and efficiently as you can. You can use it for fitness, for fun if you’re a high energy person like myself, or you can use it for creative purposes if you just like to expand your horizons of movement.
FedEx: How did you get involved in parkour?
Kyle: I first heard about parkour through the internet. There were a few people who created it, and they posted videos of themselves training. I was extremely inspired by it. I would study their movements. I would go to local gymnastics locations when they had open gym sessions and use the equipment. I practiced my skills and filmed my own moves. After a few years or so, people started putting out new tricks and new movement. Others started mimicking those movements, and a community started to build. That’s when it took off and parkour started becoming an underground sport. Now it is a massive, worldwide community.
FedEx: What was going through your mind when you get the call from the show?
Kyle: I was pretty excited about it. I was more curious about listening as close as I could so I knew where I needed to be and what I needed to do next. I didn’t want to mess up the opportunity. Once I realized I was going to be on the show, I was really excited. It’s like a big playground, and I’ve always wanted to play on it.
FedEx: Was your family at the taping of the show?
Kyle: Yes, my wife was the one walking alongside the course rooting me on. I had a bunch of family members in the stands watching me. My 2-year-old daughter was with us as well, but she was actually napping at the time I made my run.
FedEx: Are the team members at your station excited?
Kyle: They are very excited, and everyone seems to be anticipating the episode. I know they are all watching the ones that are coming up now, and they keep saying they’re looking for me. I have to keep reminding them it will be June 20 when my episode airs. Some of them tease me about not hitting the water.
FedEx: What did you do to prepare for the show?
Kyle: I worked mostly on upper body stuff. With parkour, I was really experienced with jumps, flips and leg motions, as well as distance and balance. But I knew that one of the things that would hurt me the most on the show is probably the upper body. I pushed myself a lot on climbing and holding myself up for a long time and climbing up obstacles while holding my arms at 90 degrees instead of hanging with my arms fully extended. I kept pushing myself.
FedEx: What is your role at FedEx?
Kyle: I’m a swing driver in St. Louis, MO. Instead of driving the same route every day, I can be assigned to any route covered by my station and expected to do it as well as the regular driver.
FedEx: What is your personal record for delivering packages?
Kyle: I had 44 deliveries I had to make between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. when they were due. I like to run fast and my parkour abilities help me keep my energy and pace. I was able to keep moving, plan ahead and do everything right.
FedEx: Do you do Parkour moves when delivering packages?
When I do, I never do any crazy stunts; no free running, no flips. If I need to jump a big gap instead of walking around it and I know can make it, I will. If I have packages in my hand, I’m always very cautious. I only do it if I know I can do it safely and not risk the customer’s package or my own safety.
FedEx: How does your work at FedEx translate to the show?
Kyle: I don’t normally do a lot of parkour on the job. I use small things, mainly running in stride and taking longer steps and moving up and down stairs. Working at FedEx has helped me work on cardio by staying in motion. I’m always working on my foot placement and body coordination. If I’m going up and down stairs fast enough, I can fall. So I’m always being cautious to stay on point. Parkour helps me go through the obstacles as fast as I can. It helped me on one obstacle on the show that you’ll see. They call it the log runner. It’s five or so spinning logs that you have to run across. It took out a lot of contestants. It was a great challenge, and I enjoyed it.
FedEx: What’s more challenging: The competition or delivering 44 packages in two and a half hours?
Kyle: That’s a tough one. They both have their challenges. I would say the more difficult task was delivering the packages just because I’m providing a service and not playing around on a course. However, on a course you only get one chance to make it through. If you mess up, you don’t get another chance until next season, and that’s if you get a call back. I’d say the delivery service is a lot more important.
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