Those with enough skill to complete the First Stage then take on an even more grueling set of obstacles in the Second Stage. The Second Stage has been attempted 445 times.
Like the First Stage, the obstacles alter throughout the competitions, but all hold to the same principle: if the competitor makes a single mistake they fall into the water below, eliminating them from the competition.
The obstacles determine the time limit, and it is usually between 50 seconds and 100 seconds, the only exceptions being SASUKE 28, 30, 32 onwards where the time limit was 110, 115, or 135 seconds.
The Second Stage is known traditionally as a speed stage, with a more fast paced theme and generally having a shorter time limit than the First Stage, the only exceptions being the 7th-11th, 28th, 30th and 35th-37th competitions.
Unlike the First Stage, which has always required the competitors to hit a buzzer at the end of the course to stop the clock and pass the course, the Second Stage did not have a buzzer at its end until the 8th Competition.
Before then, the competitors simply walked through an open gate to stop the clock. From the 8th Competition onward, the buzzer opens the gate, which was likely introduced after SASUKE 7 where James Okada passed through the gate with just 0.1 seconds left but there was some ambiguity as to whether he had actually made it in under the time limit.
If the competitor busts open the gate without hitting the button, they are disqualified (as shown by Paul Hamm in SASUKE 14). In addition, the course judges can hold the gates closed if a competitor committed a foul earlier in the Second Stage that would result in their disqualification, such as using the Chain Reaction gloves on the Spider Walk as Mr. "SASUKE" Yamada Katsumi had done in SASUKE 12. (See Yamada Katsumi's Glove Disqualification for more details.). However, when Mori Wataru was disqualified in SASUKE 36, the gates still opened, but he was later informed that he was disqualified.
On average, 10 to 15 competitors attempt the Second Stage on each competition. A record 37 competitors attempted the Second Stage during SASUKE 4. Also during SASUKE 4, a record 11 competitors cleared the Second Stage. During SASUKE 5, however, only three men made it to the Second Stage due to new, tougher obstacles in the First Stage. In SASUKE 19, neither of the two qualified competitors cleared the circuit (a fall and a timeout on the Salmon Ladder), marking the earliest end of a SASUKE competition. The following competition was almost as bad, with only three men attempting the Second Stage, and only one advancing.
Interestingly, the rate of clears in the Second Stage is around 46%, in comparison to the First Stage's clearance record of less than 13%, due to 100 competitors attempting the First Stage while the number of competitors may vary on the Second Stage. The stage is generally known to separate high-profile competitors and rising stars from those less experienced, particularly weeding out the latter during tournaments where there are high numbers of First Stage clears. Hence, while several first-time competitors have cleared the First Stage, out of the 33 competitions since Akiyama Kazuhiko's Kanzenseiha, only 6 have comprised of a rookie clearing the Second Stage (excluding those who had competed on international equivalents such as American Ninja Challenge); these being SASUKE 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 31, and 37, with only SASUKE 12 seeing more than 1 rookie clear (Yamada Koji and Kobayashi Masaaki).
During the early tournaments, the Second Stage was strongly deemed to be more difficult than the Third, and it was arguably in these tournaments that time was the most centered aspect of the stage. The time limit stood at just 50 seconds, with a large proportion of failures due to competitors rushing on the Spider Walk to secure a clear without running low on time.
The layout and time limit of the original Second Stage remained relatively consistent, but was heavily modified in SASUKE 7 following a 100% clear rate in the previous tournament.
The time limit was raised to 90 seconds and was even raised to 100 seconds in the next tournament due to torrential rain, but would slowly be decreased throughout the following competitions, starting from 80 seconds in SASUKE 9, to 65 seconds by SASUKE 17.
The new incarnation remained similar from SASUKE 7 to 17, with the only changes throughout this period being the Balance Tank and Metal Spin, both of which considerably increased the Second Stage's difficulty (the Metal Spin took out 7 of the 15 who attempted it in SASUKE 16). The Delta Bridge replaced the Balance Tank in SASUKE 16, but the Balance Tank returned for the following tournament.
Although the time limit was now significantly higher than before, time outs were not uncommon, with a total of 11 time outs from SASUKE 7-17.
After Nagano Makoto's victory in SASUKE 17, the course became less time-orientated with the time limit raised to 95 seconds, with the lowest time limit afterwards being 70 seconds. The new Salmon Ladder required great upper body strength and became responsible for making the Second Stage more formidable than ever, ending the tournament in SASUKE 19 when no competitor could defeat the obstacle.
Only two competitors, Yamada Kōji and Lee En-Chih, timed out from the SASUKE 18-27 period, though there were instances where competitors would have timed out had they not failed an obstacle due to being low on time, exampls including:
- Brian Orosco in SASUKE 23, who failed the Unstable Bridge with only 1 second remaining.
- Morikami Daisuke in SASUKE 27, who failed the Metal Spin as the klaxon sounded.
- Washimi Yuuji in SASUKE 19, who fell off the Salmon Ladder as time was about to expire.
Another considerable addition was the Unstable Bridge in SASUKE 23, which also took out a considerable number of competitors in its debut. The following tournament, it was placed directly after the Salmon Ladder with no rest.
The course remained almost the same up until SASUKE 27 even after Urushihara Yuuji's first victory in the 24th competition, the only change being the Slider Drop and modification of the Salmon Ladder to the Double Salmon Ladder.
The newest Second Stage, introduced in SASUKE 28 after Urushihara's second victory, saw a major revamp, bringing back the Spider Walk as a Second Stage obstacle and featuring SASUKE's first ever swimming obstacle, the Backstream.
The Double Salmon Ladder was modified into the Swap Salmon Ladder, and only the four chained bridge remained following the Unstable Bridge's modification. The Wall Lifting was modified as well into the Passing Wall.
The time limit was also raised to its highest ever in SASUKE history, 135 seconds. With many believing this Second Stage to have been too easy (the three competitors all cleared with well over 10 seconds left on the clock despite going seemingly slowly through the stage), the time limit was majorly reduced to 90 seconds for SASUKE 29, and the Backstream now featured far more powerful jets. As such, out of the 17 competitors that made it as far as the Backstream, 13 timed out (11 timed out on the Backstream while a further 2 timed out on the last obstacle, the Passing Wall), a record for the number of time outs in one tournament, and the fastest time of just 5.14 seconds left on the clock is the second lowest time remaining for any fastest time on this stage, behind Yamamoto Shingo in SASUKE 5 (0.3 seconds remaining).
This tournament was controversial as the producers were using competitors' failure on the obstacle experimentally to find a suitable power for the jets (i.e. after Hashimoto Kouji's run the jets were reduced after the first two competitors could not get past the obstacle, but increased after Takahashi Kenji's run).
For SASUKE 31, the Swap Salmon Ladder was replaced by the Salmon Ladder Nobori followed by the Salmon Ladder Kudari, following several disqualifications in the previous tournament, notably Takahashi Kenji who was disqualified despite a technical error that would have otherwise allowed him to clear that section. This proved to be much easier and less time consuming as 6/8 competitors who cleared did so with over 10 seconds remaining.
After Morimoto Yūsuke's kanzenseiha, while the First and Third Stages for SASUKE 32 were considerably modified to increase the difficulty (as expected for a tournament after a kanzenseiha), the Second Stage was arguably unintentionally made easier as it was left almost exactly the same, albeit with the addition of the Gyakusō Conveyor which no competitor struggled with. However, the number of obstacles have increased to eight, the most number of obstacles in the Second Stage in SASUKE history. The Wall Lifting was modified to have all of the walls lowered to their pre-SASUKE 20 height, with a new mechanism installed so as to prevent injuries like Levi Meeuwenberg's from happening again.
The most prominent factor was the time limit increasing by 15 seconds, and thus, for only the second time ever (first being SASUKE 6), there was a 100% completion rate on the stage, with 6/8 clears with over 10 seconds remaining and 2/8 with over 20. The following tournament saw the time limit be reduced by five seconds and the Ring Slider introduced as a more efficient time-waster in order to rectify this. In addition, the Reverse Conveyer belt was faster, hence while it proved almost no threat in the previous competition, it was a significant time waster, causing more competitors to time out and the Wall Lifting to be significantly harder. Takahashi Kenji even failed the obstacle by falling off the belt due to exhaustion in SASUKE 34.
In SASUKE 34, Jessie Graff became the second women competitor to attempt the Second Stage, for that the producers gave an additional 10 seconds for the time limit of women competitors, similarly to the First Stage, for the very first time. On the side note, Tanabe Chie (The first woman competitor to attempt the Second Stage) only had 50 seconds to finish the stage in SASUKE 2, identical to the time limit for male competitors.
No changes occurred for the next two tournament in terms of composition and time until SASUKE 37, the Ring Slider was retired in favor of a new obstacle, the Rolling Log, effectively a rehash of the Rolling Maruta from the earlier competitions' First Stage. However, due to the bad weather, for the first time ever, competitors had to skip the obstacle due to the rain causing the log to slide down the track and get stuck rather than roll down. Hence, competitors would start at the Salmon Ladder Nobori, and to accommodate this the time limit was reduced to 100 seconds; this proved to be lenient as 7/8 competitors who cleared did so with over 10 seconds remaining.
TBS Obstacle Names
+ - This obstacle leads directly into the next, without any break
G4 Obstacle Names
|Comp #||Second Stage Obstacles||Time Limit|
|1||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||50.0|
|2||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||50.0|
|3||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||50.0|
|4||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||50.0|
|5||Tackle Machine||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||50.0|
|6||Ledge Walk||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||50.0|
|7||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||90.0|
|8||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||100.0|
|9||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Hammer Dodge||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||80.0|
|10||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Balance Tank||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||85.0|
|11||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Balance Tank||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||80.0|
|12||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Balance Tank||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||70.0|
|13||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Balance Tank||Conveyor Belt||Wall Lift||70.0|
|14||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Balance Tank||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||67.0|
|15||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Balance Tank||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||65.0|
|16||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Grip Hang||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||66.0|
|17||Chain Reaction||Brick Climb||Spider Walk||Balance Tank||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||65.0|
|18||Downhill Jump||Salmon Ladder||+||Stick Slider||Net Bridge||Metal Spin||Shoulder Walk||95.0|
|19||Downhill Jump [Called the Super Jump on G4]||Salmon Ladder||+||Stick Slider||Sky Walk||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||80.0|
|20||Downhill Jump||Salmon Ladder||+||Stick Slider||Swing Ladder||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||90.0|
|21||Downhill Jump||Salmon Ladder||+||Stick Slider||Swing Ladder||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||80.0|
|22||Downhill Jump||Salmon Ladder||+||Stick Slider||Swing Ladder||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||80.0|
|23||Downhill Jump||Salmon Ladder||+||Stick Slider||Unstable Bridge||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||70.0|
|24||Downhill Jump||Salmon Ladder||+||Unstable Bridge||Balance Tank||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||85.0|
|25||Slider Drop||(Double) Salmon Ladder||+||Unstable Bridge||Balance Tank||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||95.0|
|26||Slider Drop||(Double) Salmon Ladder||+||Unstable Bridge||Balance Tank||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||95.0|
|27||Slider Drop||(Double) Salmon Ladder||+||Unstable Bridge||Balance Tank||Metal Spin||Wall Lift||90.0|
Challenge Obstacle Names
|Comp #||Second Stage Obstacles||Time Limit|
|28||Cross Slider||[Swap] Salmon Ladder||Unstable Bridge||Spider Walk||Backstream||Passing Wall||135.0|
|29||Cross Slider||[Swap] Salmon Ladder||Unstable Bridge||Spider Walk||Backstream||Passing Wall||90.0|
|30||Cross Slider||[Swap] Salmon Ladder||Unstable Bridge||Spider Walk||+||Spider Drop||Backstream||Wall Lift||110.0|
|31||Cross Slider||Salmon Ladder [Ascent]||Salmon Ladder [Descent]||Spider Walk||+||Spider Drop||Backstream||Wall Lift||100.0|
|32||Cross Slider||Salmon Ladder [Ascent]||Salmon Ladder [Descent]||Spider Walk||+||Spider Drop||Backstream||Reverse Conveyor||Wall Lift||115.0|
|33||Ring Slider||Salmon Ladder [Ascent]||Salmon Ladder [Descent]||Spider Walk||+||Spider Drop||Backstream||Reverse Conveyor||Wall Lift||110.0|
|34||Ring Slider||Salmon Ladder [Ascent]||Salmon Ladder [Descent||Spider Walk||+||Spider Drop||Backstream||Reverse Conveyor||Wall Lift||110.0|
+ - This obstacle leads directly into the next, without any break.