Rolling Maruta (ローリング丸太), called Rolling Log in English broadcasts, was an obstacle which debuted in First Stage of SASUKE 3, being placed as the second obstacle. Competitors must straddle and cling to a log, 40 cm in diameter, before kicking the ground to begin its roll down a fifteen degrees decline track. The log had only two wooden bars to hold on to while the obstacle was spinning, which the log was notorious for either halting or coming off the track. It is worth pointing out that there was no support structure placed behind the red curved track during the obstacle's debut tournament, which caused it to bounce rather violently. Support scaffolding was added in starting from the following tournament to counteract this.
In its debut, it instantly became one of the hardest obstacles in the stage, eliminating 41 competitors in that tournament. This obstacle and Rope Climb helped decrease the amount of First Stage clears from 34 clears in the previous tournament to 13 clears. It also notable for eliminating Yamamoto Shingo in SASUKE 6 and Nakata Daisuke in SASUKE 12, with both of them reaching Third Stage in their previous tournament.
This obstacle caused arguably the best save in the history of SASUKE, as Yamada Katsumi has lost control to the log in SASUKE 5, but miraculously didn't touch the water despite his shoe being millimetres away from it.
The original version lasted from SASUKE 3 to SASUKE 12. However, after Urushihara Yuuji's Kanzenseiha in SASUKE 24, as part of Kanzen Renewal, it was brought out of retirement in SASUKE 25. It however directly replaced by Hazard Swing in the following tournament.
SASUKE 12 Prototype
Even though it was intentionally blurred by TBS, it was clear that this version consist of rolling the log downwards, then using the momentum to travel upwards, having the competitors land on a platform which is relatively higher than the previous version. This was probably deemed dangerous enough that this version never ever make it to the actual tournament.
Sandan Rolling Maruta
Sandan Rolling Maruta (三段ローリング丸太), still called Rolling Log in English broadcasts, is the second version of Rolling Maruta, being introduced in SASUKE 13 as part of First Stage's redesign. Unlike Rolling Maruta which had straight track, there were two drops in the tracks. In addition, wires are installed above the track near the ending caps of the log so as to rectify issues frequently happened from the original version. Even so, the log still could be halted midway, which now due to the drop(s), make the obstacle nearly impossible to be beaten. It was also notorious for coming off the track, as happened to Ishimaru Kenjirō and Sudō Genki in its debut tournament. To alleviate the issue, the ending caps of the log were widened so as to decrease the risk of derailment starting from SASUKE 14. The same mechanism would be used when the original version returned in SASUKE 25.
This version is as deadly as the original one, being just slightly better in clear rate. However, due to Nagano Makoto's Kanzenseiha in SASUKE 17, it was replaced by Log Grip as part of the course's renewal.
This obstacle was designed and functioned similarly like Rolling Log used since American Ninja Warrior 7, with a long and thinner log plus thicker railings for the log to roll down, except that there were ledges stretching throughout the log as handholds. The thinner log and redesigned track means that compared to the previous two iterations, the log makes a greater number of revolutions comparatively speaking, which increases disorientation that can affect a competitor later on in the course and takes up more time to clear. The log is also made of a softer substance, which can make gripping onto the ledges trickier as well.
In its debut, the poor weather conditions made this obstacle very difficult to attempt, due to the rain and mist making the thicker track too slick to properly function. This caused the log to get stuck too many times during test runs, forcing the producers to skip this obstacle, meaning that the competitors would start at Salmon Ladder Nobori instead, making it the first obstacle that was skipped in SASUKE's history.
In SASUKE 38, the weather was better, thus the obstacle got to show its true lethal potential. While it only took out Yamamoto Keitaro, it affected all of the competitors, making them dizzy and forcing them to regain focus, wasting valuable time. The log sometimes stopped dead on its track, causing competitors to lose time and energy to force it to roll again. Ultimately, it indirectly caused two competitors to fail on Salmon Ladder Nobori and it caused close time outs for few competitors later in the stage.
Competitors' Success Rate
- All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found.
- It was noted that 41 competitors failed there in SASUKE 3 and over 40 competitors failed there in SASUKE 11. Also, it was noted that 51 competitors failed Jump Hang in SASUKE 6, therefore, those competitors must have got past Rolling Maruta.
- In a special before SASUKE 15, the completion percentage was said to be (from SASUKE 5 to SASUKE 14, including Sandan Rolling Maruta's statistic found below) 645 clears out of 965 attempts for a percentage of 66.8%. It was unknown how competitors did in each specific tournament. Therefore, these numbers were not included in the tables above or below.
Sandan Rolling Maruta
American Ninja Warrior
The Rolling Maruta (here named the Rolling Log) appeared as the second obstacle on:
- American Ninja Warrior 4 in Stage One,
- American Ninja Warrior 5 in Denver,
- American Ninja Warrior 6 in St. Louis,
- American Ninja Warrior 7 in Orlando,
- American Ninja Warrior 8 in Indianapolis, and
- American Ninja Warrior 9 in Cleveland.
It was a tough obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 6, as it took out competitors like Bill Westrick and Luis Moco. It was also responsible for disqualifying Ethan Swanson on his first season competing, as his toes narrowly skimmed the water at the end.
However, it was far more difficult, starting on American Ninja Warrior 7, as the log was thinner. It spun around seven to nine times before hitting the landing platform, rather than just three to four times on American Ninja Warrior 6. Most competitors had thus lost focus after the frantic rolling of the log, as many were shown to having refocus before the next obstacle. On American Ninja Warrior 7, it was revealed that the Rolling Log had taken out 21 competitors during Orlando qualifiers, including Grace Sims, Tyler Yamauchi, Brent Ruffin and Danny Adair. It later took out Kyle Johnson and Adam Williams in the city finals.
During American Ninja Warrior 7's Orlando qualifiers, two competitors used a very unusual way to complete the obstacle:
- Jonathan Brown skipped the obstacle entirely, by jumping from the starting platform, directly to the landing platform, and
- Bart Copeland attempted the obstacle by walking on the top of the log (in a similar fashion with the Balance Tank or Enchū Nori).
Both of them were allowed to continue their run, before eventually failing on the same next obstacle, the Paddle Boards.
On American Ninja Warrior 8, the log was modified with block-shaped holes to hold on instead of ledges. Later, the same version would be used on American Ninja Warrior 9. Due to the obstacle's design, it was nearly impossible for the log to come off the track.
Only ten competitors were eliminated by the obstacle during Cleveland qualifiers on American Ninja Warrior 9, including McKinley Pierce. It later wiped out Tori Clement, Mike Shuck, and Sean Noel during Cleveland finals.
Ninja Warrior UK
The Rolling Log appeared as the second obstacle during the finals' Stage 1 on Ninja Warrior UK 3, and then as the seventh obstacle during the finals' Stage 1 on Ninja Warrior UK 4 and Ninja Warrior UK 5, which was very similar to the Rolling Log from American Ninja Warrior 8.
SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia
Australian Ninja Warrior
Then, on Australian Ninja Warrior 4, the Rolling Log returned once again as the second obstacle during the semifinals and in Stage One.