FedEx Courier Advances to American Ninja Warrior OKC Finals
This blog was originally posted on June 19, 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 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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