Those with enough skill to complete the First Stage then take on an even more grueling set of obstacles in the Second Stage (stylized 2ND STAGE, later 2nd STAGE). The Second Stage has been attempted 445 times. Similar to other stages, 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.
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 initially did not have a buzzer at the end, which meant competitors used to simply have to walk through an open gate to stop the clock, with the gates closing once time runs out.
However in SASUKE 7, James Okada passed through the gate with just 0.1 seconds left leaving some ambiguity as to whether he had actually made it in under the time limit. This is what lead to the addition of the buzzer the following tournament in which competitors must press to clear the stage.
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 what happened to Yamada Katsumi's Disqualification in SASUKE 12. However, there are also instances where the disqualification is announced after the competitor's run, such as what happened to Mori Wataru in his Reverse Converyor disqualification in SASUKE 36.
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.
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. 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.
But with all of the competitors clearing the Second Stage in SASUKE 6, the course was heavily modified in SASUKE 7 with the introduction of the Chain Reaction and the third rendition of the Spider Walk. The time limit was raised to 90 seconds in that tournament and was even increased to 100 seconds in SASUKE 8, due to torrential rain that occurred before the tournament, but it would slowly be decreased throughout the following competitions, starting from 80 seconds in SASUKE 9, to 65 seconds in SASUKE 17.
This incarnation of the stage remained similar up until SASUKE 17, with the only changes throughout this period being the introduction of the Balance Tank and Metal Spin, both of which considerably increased the Second Stage's difficulty, with the latter taking out 7 of the 15 who attempted it in SASUKE 16. Although the time limit was now significantly higher than before, time outs were still present, with a total of 11 competitors timing out from SASUKE 7-17.
Following Nagano Makoto's kanzenseiha in SASUKE 17, Shin-SASUKE ushered in a new era for all of the stages. With the introduction of the Salmon Ladder in SASUKE 18, the stage become less time-oriented and focused more on the upper-body intensive obstacles introduced, making the stage more formidable than ever.
The goal of this era at the time was to eliminate all 100 challengers in the First Stage, this would not happen as six competitors attempted the Second Stage and three would clear it. This only spurred the production team to making the course even harder, which lead to two competitors failing the Salmon Ladder in SASUKE 19, marking the earliest end to a SASUKE tournament.
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 kanzenseiha in SASUKE 24, the only change being the Slider Drop and modification of the Salmon Ladder to the Double Salmon Ladder. From SASUKE 18 to 27, the time limit would range from 70 to 95 seconds. Throughout that time, timeouts were not common as only Yamada Kōji and Lee En-Chih timed out on this stage.
Following Urushihara Yuuji's second kanzenseiha in SASUKE 27, the Second Stage saw a major revamp in SASUKE 28, with the return of the Spider Walk, the modification of the Salmon Ladder into the Swap Salmon Ladder, and featuring SASUKE's first ever swimming obstacle, the Backstream. 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, with the three competitors clearing with well over 10 seconds left on the clock despite having a slow pace, the time limit was majorly reduced to 90 seconds for SASUKE 29. In addition, the Backstream now featured far more powerful jets, making the stage much harder apart from the decrease in the time limit.
As such, out of the 17 competitors that made it as far as the Backstream, 11 competitors timed out on the obstacle itself and 2 timed out on the next obstacle, the Passing Wall. With a total of 13 time outs, this tournament hold the record for the most number of Second Stage 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's clear in SASUKE 5 (0.3 seconds remaining). In this tournament, the Backstream became controversial as it was revealed that 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).
To alleviate with the controversies involved in the past tournament, the time limit was then increased to 110 seconds in SASUKE 30, and the jets involved in the Backstream showed no change of power among different competitors. But another controversy rose in the Second Stage, which is the added rule for the Swap Salmon Ladder. Due to safety reasons, any competitor that landed the bar unevenly (with only one side of the bar on the rung above) or if the bar fell to a lower level would no longer be able to correct it and immediately be disqualified. This rule came into play in SASUKE 29 and would become an official rule in SASUKE 30 which led to multiple competitors getting disqualified such as Nagano Makoto, Takeda Toshihiro, and even controversially ending Takahashi Kenji's 100% clear rate of the Second Stage at that time.
Initially in SASUKE 30, there was supposed to be a separate stage after the Second Stage that involves competitors vying a spot for the top 10 that will move on to the Third Stage, in the case of more than 10 competitors complete the Second Stage. This unknown stage, named as "2nd-B" in various internet discussions, involves the Gallon Throw, a notable event in Sportsman, and a somewhat modified version of the Tackle. But since only 9 competitors completed the Second Stage in that tournament, this stage was inevitably scrapped and was never used again.
For SASUKE 31, the Swap Salmon Ladder was replaced by the Salmon Ladder Nobori followed by the Salmon Ladder Kudari, following controversies surrounding the obstacle. This proved to be much easier and less time consuming as 6/8 competitors who cleared did so with over 10 seconds remaining despite the time limit lowered to 100 seconds.
After Morimoto Yūsuke's kanzenseiha in SASUKE 31, 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 Reverse Conveyor which no competitor struggled with, which is contributed by the fact that it is slower compared to the Gyakusō Conveyor.
The time limit was originally lowered to 90 seconds, but due to poor clear rate in First Stage, the time limit was increased to 115 seconds, and thus, for only the first time since SASUKE 6, there was a 100% completion rate on the stage, with 6 competitors clearing with over 10 seconds remaining and 2 clearing with over 20. SASUKE 33 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 Conveyor returned to its original speed, 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.
In SASUKE 34, Jessie Graff became the second woman 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.
In SASUKE 38 however, the Rolling Log showed its true potential to the stage. Even though one obstacle was added with the time limit increased by 5 seconds, it exponentially increase the difficulty of the Second Stage compared to previous tournaments. With them wasting seconds just to recover from the dizziness after the obstacle. This caused multiple failures on further obstacles and time outs from competitors such as Matachi Ryo, Hioki Masashi, and Urushihara Yuuji.
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 34 competitions since Akiyama Kazuhiko's kanzenseiha, only 7 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).
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.