Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

New Korematsu teacher is an American Ninja Warrior

By
From page B1 | July 27, 2014 |

Alex Kane27W

Alex Kane of Davis is competing is part of the "American Ninja Warrior" competition. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Alex Kane is an unimposing 30-year-old Davis High graduate who has just returned home to teach fourth grade at Korematsu Elementary.

The UC Santa Barbara graduate and his wife Megan have an almost-3-year-old son, Oliver, and another little Kane is due next month.

A former skateboarder, the personable teacher still surfs, rock-climbs and loves hitting the playgrounds with his kid.

While teaching for most of the past four years in Oakland, Kane’s religious workout ethic put him in the best physical condition of his already active life.

To make a long story short, Kane’s training confidant Andre Phennig suggested that Kane submit an audition tape for a television series called “American Ninja Warrior.” Kane recruited some of his students, and his clever video was appealing — plus, he showed some pretty ninja-like hops in the preview.

Before he knew it, he was invited to Los Angeles for a qualification round. Surviving most of the grueling obstacle course, Kane found himself on his way to the show’s finals in Las Vegas.

Now, fans will have to see if the former Blue Devil will be named the American Ninja Warrior.

“(The tape) I submitted originally had some physical feats and you get to talk a little about yourself,” Kane told The Enterprise. “(The production company) said they got 4,000 videos this year … 102 of us got to Venice” (a beach community in Los Angeles).

Fifteen moved on to Las Vegas for last month’s taping of the show, which will air Aug. 11 and 18 on NBC.

“I was surprised at getting in at all,” Kane explained about his first experience in Venice. “Then after that first night, I thought ‘Wow! That was great.’ I didn’t expect that to happen (advancing to the next round in Venice).

“So the second night I was just having fun … kinda taking my time.”

When co-host Jenn Brown chatted with Kane in a televised interview after the second round, she asked him, “How was that?”

” ‘It was fun,’ I told her. ‘I’m looking forward to next year,’ ” the new Davis school teacher replied. “Then she said, ‘Well, you should know you’re going to Vegas!’ ”

While Kane talked a little off the record about the Las Vegas shooting, he said he was sworn to secrecy about how he fared against the 90 other national finalists: “Folks will just have to watch.”

“American Ninja Warrior,” a clone of Japan’s 30-year-old series “Sasuke,” puts the fittest of obstacle-course challengers through a four-stage test that emulates a journey across the Orient’s Mount Midoriyama. Tasks with names like Cannonball Alley and Rumbling Dice are designed to discourage even the strongest, most courageous contestants.

The winner of this sixth season will pocket $500,000.

(Spoiler alert: Kane didn’t drive a Bentley to his interview with The Enterprise.)

“I was happy with my performance,” said Kane, adding that it was terrific to have his parents (Karen and David), brother Ben, Megan and his in-laws (Diane and John Soto) among many friends in the finals’ audience.

But now it’s back to reality: school, family and someday soon a health-related business with Megan.

“With kids, you have to move back to Davis,” Kane explains. “It’s like the best place ever for kids.”

Oliver and Dad can be seen at playgrounds throughout the city, both hitting jungle gyms or monkey bars hard.

“I’m trying to make movement an everyday part of what I do — like when I do P.E. with my students at school,” says the reconstituted Davisite. “Playing around at the playground when I go with my son, I’m probably on the play structure as much as he is.

“But I’ve met a few parents that do that, too, so we’ve been working out little challenges for each other.”

In the Kane family, obstacles have become part of the fabric:

“Oliver is now setting up blocks and pillows in the house. He’ll run through, then jump over something, then (pose), shouting — ‘American Ninja Warrior!’ ”

Kane knows exercise augments classroom instruction and he believes using physics and math to chart movement and gains in reaching new heights and lengths can add to the fun of learning.

“I’d like to develop some sort of curriculum that uses obstacle courses, physical movement to teach science, calculus,” Kane continues. “Get your brain working with your body. I think the kids would love it.”

Kane is plotting a map of playgrounds in Davis, surveying different obstacles people could attempt. There might be a class in that effort, he adds.

All of this attention to physical fitness comes with the support and inspiration of wife Megan, a restorative exercise specialist. The pair are developing what they hope will be a new business: Revolution Movement (www.revolutionmovement.net).

“She’s been a big influence for me,” says the hopeful Ninja Warrior. “Restorative health is all about body health and alignment, full-body awareness and movement.”

But with school starting next month and the baby coming, the business is something that may not move forward immediately.

So, through all this, has Oliver become a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan? Don’t forget that new ninja movie is due out this week.

“My mom calls all this American Warrior-stuff Ninja Turtles,” Alex says with a laugh. “But I don’t think Oliver knows anything about the Turtles yet. But my favorite? Michelangelo … the orange one.”

Depending upon how Las Vegas went, maybe the next film with Mikey, Donatello, Rafael and Leonardo will feature their human friend Alex Kane.

Notes: Alex was once so good on his skateboard that he earned sponsorship by Ground Zero. When he and his brother hit the road to see the world right after high school, Alex strapped that board to his back and found the sidewalks and piazzas much to his liking. Later, Kane had the chance to surf El Salvador, Mexico and Tasmania (during the Down Under winter with snow on the beach). He’s looking forward to hitting the Northern California breakers once the fall and winter swells show up. Meanwhile, locals probably will get a glimpse of Kane at Rocknasium, the Central Park playground or in his new digs at Korematsu Elementary School. 

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5