Popular American Ninja Warrior competitor Karsten Williams has always liked a good obstacle.
Even as a little boy, he says, he would find innovative ways to get from Point A to Point B. So when he saw a chance to do that again, he jumped at it.
"I was sitting on the couch, checking the show out, thought it was really cool," he says. "The obstacles looked really fun and I was thinking to myself, 'You know what? I think I can do that, so I went on there, filled out the application, got on and here I am, five years later'."
With his affable demeanor and give-it-all attitude, he's become a fan favorite on the show that he calls a "different environment."
Williams will compete, along with 99 other ninjas, in the first night of the American Ninja Warrior national finals on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. on NBC. Williams, who says the show was taped, would only smile when asked the outcome.
"I did my best and gave it my all," he said with a smile in between jaw-dropping exercises at Obstacle Warriors, his gym in Farmers Branch.
No matter how he did in this year's finals, which will continue through three more episodes of Season 9 of the show, he has plans to continue. Each year is a new challenge, though.
"Every season you have to go through, start to finish, the audition process," he says. "You have to fill out the application, submit an audition video every time you try to get back on the show. They wanna know what's changed in your life, how your training is different, what new opportunities have come about since the last season of the show."
And each new season brings new obstacles. That keeps him on his toes, too.
"The obstacles that we see on the show ... are always changing," he says. "They're getting harder -- trickier -- so when it comes to my training, I have to think outside the box. So whatever I can do, whatever I can set up in the gym, I try to just think of something completely different because that's what they're thinking of when they're preparing these obstacles for us to make them super challenging."
That makes the fact that this is his fifth season on the show even more impressive.
Or maybe you can catch him at the mall where he likes to "check out shoes" in his spare time.
"I definitely got my shoe game on point," he says, looking down. "That's for sure."
He competes all over the world and even trains others to become ninja, a title he relishes.
Whatever you're talking about, he says, you can "just throw ninja in there and it'll make it sound good."