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Pole Maze (ポールメイズ) is a First Stage obstacle introduced as part of the course's renewal in SASUKE 18 following Nagano Makoto's Kanzenseiha in the previous tournament. Competitors must grab a pole leaning against the starting platform and vault to the other side. The pole was anchored in the middle of the water pit and the top of the pole must be guided through a track above, so in some sense, it was basically a hybrid of Pole Jump (used in SASUKE 3 and 4's Third Stage) and Rope Maze (used in VIKING 1 to VIKING 3's Second Adventure Stage).

Noguchi Norihiko attempting Pole Maze in SASUKE 18

Brett Sims attempting modified Pole Maze
in SASUKE 19

In SASUKE 19, the maze was lengthened and changed to make the obstacle harder to navigate. This change proved to be brutal, as many competitors spent time more than they supposed to take, most notably Yamada Katsumi, who spent about 75 seconds to clear the obstacle.

Although it serve its purpose well as time waster, the high clear rate prompts the producers to replace it with Circle Hammer in SASUKE 22.

Other Appearances

SASUKE Vietnam

SASUKE Vietnam 3's Pole Maze

Đường Zig Zag (SASUKE Vietnam's official name for the Pole Maze) appeared as the first obstacle in Stage 3 from SASUKE Vietnam 1 to SASUKE Vietnam 5. The track was slightly different from the original, and a red pipe was added at the end to block the pole, but it almost doesn't work at all.

However, unlike in SASUKE, due to its placement as the first obstacle in Stage 3 (since the stage had no time limit to complete it), competitors were only allowed to return to the starting platform up to three times if they failed to generate enough momentum to vault the pole. If they did it on the fourth time, they would be disqualified. This rule came to play, with Phạm Thế Hoàn on SASUKE Vietnam 2 being the first and so far, the only victim of this rule.

The dismount of the Pole Maze on SASUKE Vietnam 4.

On SASUKE Vietnam 4, with the first ever attempt of a woman in SASUKE Vietnam's Stage 3, which was made by Olivia Vivian, the producers gave her a special rule that she was allowed to return to the starting platform up for as much as she wanted to.

Also on that season, the producers had once again changed the track layout a bit. But much important, the red bar was pushed much forward, made the dismount larger than ever compared with previous seasons. As the result, a unique way to fail this obstacle was presented when two American competitors, Mike Needham and Greg Schwartz, failed on the dismount to the landing platform after using a wrong technique to swing their body from the pole.

The transfer between Pole Maze and Swing Ladder, SASUKE Vietnam 5.

On SASUKE Vietnam 5, the obstacle was modified. The track layout was reverted to the one in the first three seasons. The red bar was pushed much backward, even further than the original position, matched with the end of the maze, as now instead of reaching the landing platform, competitors would have to reach the next obstacle, the Swing Ladder. Because of that, no competitor failed on it again.

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found.
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
18 37 41 90.24%
19 40 43 93.02%
20 60 63 95.24%
21 54 58 93.10%
Total 191 205 93.17%