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 midway 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 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 eliminated 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 lost control to the log in SASUKE 5, but 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 was however lasted for one tournament only, being indirectly replaced by Rolling Escargot in the following tournament.
SASUKE 12 Prototype
Even though it was intentionally pixelated when shown, this version redesigned the track so that after the log rolled downwards at a greater angle and shorter distance than previous tournaments, the track would briefly flatten out before competitors had to use their momentum to roll upwards on a much longer inclined extension, having the competitors reach a platform which is placed at around the same height as the starting platform.
This was probably deemed dangerous enough or too physically impossible to implement on any working method, resulted in this version never being used in the actual tournament, with the producers keeping the original version of the obstacle for SASUKE 12.
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 use straight track, there were two drops added to the tracks to add difficulty, making it harder for the competitors to recover if the log halted midway. To help the log not halted midway or coming off the track, wires are installed above the track near the ending caps of the log, though it was almost useless as the log still could be halted midway or coming off the track, which happened to few competitors such as Ishimaru Kenjirō and Sudō Genki in its debut tournament. To alleviate the derailment issue, the ending caps of the log were widened so as to decrease the risk of derailment starting from SASUKE 14, which in addition eliminated the use of the wires. The same mechanism would be used when the original version returned in SASUKE 25.
This version is as deadly as the original one, though due to the obstacle's age and the experience gained by the competitors on the original version, which had been in place for ten tournaments, the clear rate was slightly better. However, due to Nagano Makoto's Kanzenseiha in SASUKE 17, it was replaced by Log Grip as part of the course's renewal.
Rolling Log (ローリングログ) is the new version of Rolling Maruta, debuting as the first obstacle in Second Stage of SASUKE 37, replacing Ring Slider which had been used since SASUKE 33. With this appearance, the concept of the obstacle became one of three obstacle in SASUKE's history to be used on different stages, beside Tackle Machine/Tackle and Salmon Ladder/Salmon Ladder Jūgo Dan.
This obstacle was designed and functioned similarly to Rolling Log that was 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 stretched 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, which increases disorientation that may affect competitors later on in the course and consumes longer time. The log is also made of a softer material, which can make gripping onto the ledges trickier as well.
In its debut, the poor weather conditions made this obstacle very difficult to attempt, as the rain and mist making the thicker track too slick to properly function. Even after numerous attempt by the producers to fix it, the log still became 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 and so far only obstacle that was skipped in SASUKE's history.
In SASUKE 38, the weather was better, and with the addition of black padding on the ends of the log to increase traction, 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 caused a few more to time out later on the stage, most notably Urushihara Yuuji, who missed out on being the sole-oldest competitor to attempt Third Stage by 0.5 seconds.
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 66.84%. 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
Rolling Maruta (here called Rolling Log) appeared as the second obstacle in:
- 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 in 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 in 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 in American Ninja Warrior 6. Most competitors had thus lost focus after the frantic rolling of the log, as many had to refocus before the next obstacle. In 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.
In American Ninja Warrior 8, the log was modified with block-shaped holes to hold on instead of ledges. Due to the obstacle's design, it was nearly impossible for the log to come off the track. In qualifying, it eliminated a decent number of competitors, such as Larissa Cottle. During its appearance in American Ninja Warrior 8's Indianapolis finals, it shockingly eliminated Lorin Ball, Dan Yager, Drew Knapp, and Kevin Hogan.
Later, the same version would be used in American Ninja Warrior 9. 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
Rolling Log appeared as the second obstacle during the finals' Stage 1 in Ninja Warrior UK 3, and then as the seventh obstacle during the finals' Stage 1 in Ninja Warrior UK 4 and Ninja Warrior UK 5, which was very similar to Rolling Log from American Ninja Warrior 8.
SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia
Australian Ninja Warrior
Then, in Australian Ninja Warrior 4, Rolling Log returned once again as the second obstacle during the semifinals and in Stage One.