Ipponbashi (一本橋), called Plank Bridge in English broadcasts, was a First Stage obstacle from SASUKE 12. It was a wooden plank fashioned somewhat like a see-saw. The objective was to make it from the plank across the water to a sloped landing pad. If competitors didn't go far enough out onto the bridge, they would not make it to the mat. If they went too far out onto the bridge, it would tilt and drop them into the water.
When First Stage was redesigned in SASUKE 13 due to Nagano Makoto's near miss of Kanzenseiha in SASUKE 12, it was replaced by Cross Bridge, possibly because only four competitors fail this obstacle during its lifespan.
In KUNOICHI 1999 and 2000, Ipponbashi, called Square Bridge in the tournaments, acted as the fourth obstacle, with the exclusively female competitors having to carry two weights across a narrow beam underneath a spray of water. The weights were uneven as well to make balancing trickier, though the difference was far greater in the first tournament compared to the second. This obstacle proved extremely difficult, with very few competitors passing it, to the point where it was removed when KUNOICHI rebooted in 2001.
Ipponbashi was originally derived from similarly named obstacles from Kinniku Banzuke, though these had different functions in comparison to the version seen in SASUKE and KUNOICHI. It was also used much more commonly, having numerous variations as a result but all featuring the concept of crossing a narrow beam in the end, with each variation ranging wildly in terms of difficulty.
Like a Pierrot
In Like a Pierrot, competitors had to attempt the one-stage nine-obstacle long course on a unicycle. In this event, the main version of the Ipponbashi, called Narrow Bridge in the G4 broadcast, simply consisted of a narrow balance beam, with the edges being grooved in most versions to force the unicycle down to the center of the beam, which was used in the I, III, and IV versions. However, three additional variants, consisting of a log (Log Bridge), narrowing incline (Raging Ramp), and transparent build were used in the II, V, and GHOST versions. Of the six versions of Like a Pierrot, this obstacle appeared in all versions as the final obstacle of the course. It ultimately did not prove to be a major threat to competitors however, with the original version and variants being defeated consistently, with the exception of the GHOST variant, which was ultimately unattempted due to Kinniku Banzuke being cancelled.
The Ipponbashi was also used in several versions of the Super Rider event, though these were more consistently different.
In Super Rider III, the Ipponbashi (Slope/Steps) was the third obstacle and consisted of a dual-choice incline whose start was significantly raised from the ground, requiring the usage of a wheelie to be attempted. A competitor could choose to either ascend a narrow slope or a set of two narrow beams fashioned like steps. In the initial versions of Super Rider III, a large gap was also present in-between the inclines and resting platform to make the transition harder, though it was lessened in later versions of III.
In Super Rider IV, the Ipponbashi, known as the Pipe Ipponbashi, was a metallic beam that was a mere 5cm wide, meaning that the slightest error would cause the wheel to slip and the competitor to fail. It was placed as the final obstacle of the course, with a final drop section following the balance beam leading to the goal. While it was initially removed for Super Rider V, Arizono Keigo would obtain a second kansenseiha in the event quicker than the producers had anticipated, requiring a modification of the course in later scheduled tapings without a total renewal. Because of this, the Ipponbashi was brought back as the final obstacle, replacing the Ferris Wheel that had been used as the final obstacle prior, but due to the awkward positioning and modification that had left the Ferris Wheel's track as the lead-up, competitors had less room to position their bike on the beam, in comparison to the Super Rider IV version that gave more ample space on the transition platform. This caused them to lose their momentum while riding the beam, resulting in many failures.
Pipe Ipponbashi would later return in the Golden Muscle era, being used once again as the final obstacle in the event.
In Ottoto 9, competitors had to balance a long metal pole on the tips of their index and middle fingers. The Ipponbashi (Narrow Bridge) in this event consisted of an "L"-shaped beam that acted as the sixth obstacle that led to the Break Zone.
In Hand Walk, challengers were required to walk on their hands. The Ipponbashi (Single Bridge) was used in the first version of this event as the final obstacle. While the concept seemed difficult, a trick was discovered by competitors simply walking in a shuffling motion to get through the obstacle and as a result, it was removed for Hand Walk II and onwards.
In Kangaroo, competitors were to use a pogo-stick to navigate the course. The Ipponbashi (Narrow Bridge) was the fifth obstacle in this event. In this version of the obstacle however, the bridge started off wide, became narrow at the center, and then widened again, with an overhead hourglass shape as the best visual comparison to describe it. It proved a consistently tricky threat throughout the event's lifespan, acting as the final obstacle before the Break Zone.
Neko de Drive
Neko de Drive was a two-man team consisting of a man and a woman, with the woman acting as a rider atop a cat-shaped wheelbarrow, while the male partner pushed. The Ipponbashi (Fish Ribs) was used as the final obstacle in the first version of the course, albeit themed to match the overall theme of the course to look more like Fish Ribs, which were placed vertically and that which would rotate to a horizontal position after the competitors actually reached the obstacle. The Ipponbashi also acted as the final obstacle in the NAEBA special variant, where it was a simple narrow beam leading to the goal.
Competitors' Success Rate
- All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found.