Takahashi Kenji (高橋 賢次) owns a one-man delivery company, Kong Express. Because of this, he is sometimes called Kong Takahashi. He is regarded as one of SASUKE's most powerful competitors.
The Early Days
According to information from Kenji himself, he first took part in SASUKE 5, where he was cut from broadcast. There, he failed the Rolling Maruta. He was also cut from SASUKE 6 where he timed out on the Soritatsu Kabe.
His first broadcast attempt was SASUKE 7, his third appearance. He started strong, reaching the Soritatsu Kabe with 35 seconds left. Here, he was able to scale it at his second attempt, and despite struggling at the Rope Climb, he still clear the stage in time. In his first Second Stage, he impressively sped up through all the obstacles, and his clear of 18.5 seconds left was a new record at the time. In the Third Stage, he passes the first three obstacles easily. When he attempted the Cliffhanger, he was able to clear the transition to the upper ledge, but he ran out of stamina immediately after and fell into the water after touching the mat with his foot. After this impressive run, he had a 8 competition hiatus.
After his long break, he returned in SASUKE 16. Despite his long absence, he continued to perform very well, clearing the First Stage with 8.99 seconds left (in a digested performance) and the Second Stage, again with the fastest time. Facing the Cliffhanger Kai version, he made the first transition but ran out of strenght midway in the second ledge.
After skipping SASUKE 17, he would return in SASUKE 18, wearing #98, his highest number ever. Although the course was entirely redesigned, he had no particulary problems in the first two stages. Facing now the Shin Cliffhanger, he attempted the obstacle as the Last Man Standing, but he was unable to perform the jump to the third ledge, ending the tournament.
Then Takahashi shockingly suffered four straight First Stage setbacks. In SASUKE 19, he was one of many to fail the much more hardened Jumping Spider. He defeated it in SASUKE 20 but eventually failed the Flying Chute. In SASUKE 21, he suffered another Jumping Spider failure, and in SASUKE 22, he made it all the way to the Rope Ladder before timing out and it was also unfortunately cut from the broadcast.
Finally in SASUKE 23 he clear the First Stage with time to spare. In the Second Stage he was to first to clear the new Unstable Bridge and later the stage. In the Third Stage, he reached the Shin-Cliffhanger, but attacked it with a different strategy. He used his long armspan to grab the third ledge rather than jump to it. He is the only competitor to complete the Shin-Cliffhanger without jumping. This unorthodox strategy, which some refer to as the Kong Cross, allowed him to easily complete the obstacle. This was also the first time he ever cleared any version of the Cliffhanger. After clearing three obstacles that were new to him, he fell just short of the finish mat on the final obstacle, the Gliding Ring.
In SASUKE 24, Takahashi again performed exceptionally. He cleared the First Stage with 24.06 seconds remaining, and on the Second Stage he swiftly defeated the new Salmon Ladder and Unstable Bridge combination, and easily defeating the stage with 32.11 seconds remaining, the fastest time in that tournament by far, also the 2nd fastest in SASUKE history before Levi Meeuwenberg's 38.54 seconds in SASUKE 20. In the Third Stage, he focused his energy and beat the Gliding Ring that he failed in the previous tournament and beat Stage Three for the first time ever. In the Final Stage, he scaled the Heavenly Ladder rather quickly, but on the G-Rope his safety rigging tangled up and he timed out about halfway up the rope.
In SASUKE 25, Takahashi received a low Start Position in the lottery, #40. During the tournament, he beat the First Stage and Second Stage once again. In the Third Stage, he was the first to attempt and beat the new Roulette Cylinder, Doorknob Grasper and Floating Boards. He eventually failed the Ultimate Cliffhanger while attempting the transition from the first ledge to the second ledge.
In SASUKE 26, he shocked many when he slipped off the Rolling Escargot that had claimed many strong competitors including Yamamoto Shingo and Kanno Hitoshi. His run was digested along with Kanno's failure of the same obstacle (although G4 aired both of their runs in full).
Although present in SASUKE 28, he did not compete for unknown reasons. In SASUKE 29 he managed to clear the First Stage for the first time since the 25th tournament, doing so with 23 seconds remaining. He then became only the second man to clear the heavily hardened Second Stage, doing so with 5.14 seconds remaining, the fastest time of the night. On the Third Stage, he started off well, showing unbelievable speed and power on the Iron Paddler by speeding through the obstacle in just 3 seconds. However, he failed the transition to the 2nd ledge in Crazy Cliffhanger due to overreaching, as his left hand was far from the end of the first ledge.
SASUKE 30, he cleared the First Stage with ease, but on the Second Stage, he was disqualified on the Swap Salmon Ladder in a rather controversial matter. Although he landed the bar properly on the second jump, the left landing ledge pulls back causing the left side of the bar to drop down to the landing ledge and then pops back in after the left bar drops. Takahashi was greatly angered with this circumstance and even complained about it. Unfortunately it fell on deaf ears and his 100% Second Stage clear record was ruined.
In SASUKE 31, Takahashi cleared the First Stage with just one second left due to struggles on the Soritatsu Kabe, and made it back to the Third Stage, but failed at the Crazy Cliffhanger for a second time. This time he made it to the jump, but couldn't hang on to the 4th ledge.
Takahashi then competed in American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. The World 2, as part of the reformed Team Japan which was modified to include taller competitors (such as himself and Kawaguchi Tomohiro) to adapt to the height-biased American course. Takahashi competed in Stage 1, up against Tim Champion and Kevin Bull. He went second, after Champion had failed the final obstacle, the Triple Swing, however he failed earlier on the second obstacle, the Propeller Bar and so Team Japan lost that round. He then went up against Drew Drechsel and Sean McColl in Stage 2. Drechsel had gone first and set a time of 1:23 seconds. Takahashi clearly rushed the Double Salmon Ladder as he attempted to clear 2 rungs at a time. He landed lop-sided in doing this and eventually the bar fell off the ladder, plummeting Takahashi into the water, costing Japan a win.
In SASUKE 32 he failed the TIE Fighter, a new obstacle. The last few runs were postponed after Drew Drechsel's run, who went directly after Takahashi. Drechsel had complained that the course was too wet towards the end of the day when he ran, implying that Takahashi's run, and resultantly the obstacle that he fell on was wet and slippery.
In SASUKE 34, Takahashi got his revenge on the TIE Fighter and managed to clear the First Stage. In the Second Stage, his run ended on the Reverse Conveyor, where he struggled and eventually fell off the belt due to fatigue.
- Takahashi has attempted the most versions of the Cliffhanger with 5.
- Takahashi, Urushihara Yuuji, Takeda Toshihiro, Kanno Hitoshi, and Morimoto Yusuke are the only five people who attempted the most Salmon Ladder variations at 5.
- In addition, Takahashi, Urushihara, Kanno, and Morimoto completed the most Salmon Ladder variations at 5.
- Takahashi is the first competitor to fail the Reverse Conveyor by not timing out.
- Takahashi holds the record for the most Second Stage clears for a non-all star, only surpassed by three All-Stars Nagano Makoto (11 times), Yamamoto Shingo (11 times) and Takeda Toshihiro (13 times), with all of these competitors having competed in several more competitions (Nagano competed in 26 competitions, Takeda competed in 30 competitions, Yamamoto competed in 37).
- Takahashi is the only competitor to complete the Shin-Cliffhanger without using the traditional transition to the third ledge, as he reached over the 1 meter gap of the last two ledges.
- Takahashi achieved the second fastest finish in the Second Stage, as he completed the stage with 32.11 seconds remaining in SASUKE 24.
- Takahashi and Kanno Hitoshi are the only Shin Sedai who have never attempted the Flying Bar
|5||76||Failed Rolling Maruta (First Stage)||All Cut. External Information.|
|6||67||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||All Cut. Time Out. External Information.|
|7||46||Failed Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Touched down the mat with one foot, but lost his balance and fell back into the water. Second and Third Stage runs digested on g4.|
|16||66||Failed Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Failed Transition.|
|18||98||Failed Shin-Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Last Man Standing.|
|19||84||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)|
|20||1988||Failed Flying Chute (First Stage)|
|21||85||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)||Digest.|
|22||80||Failed Rope Ladder (First Stage)||All Cut. Time Out.|
|23||84||Failed Gliding Ring (Third Stage)||Failed Jump.|
|24||94||Failed G-Rope (Final Stage)||20m up. Twisted up the G-Rope and got the safety wire tangled, causing him to stop.|
|25||40||Failed Ultimate Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||First Ledge.|
|26||96||Failed Rolling Escargot (First Stage)||Digest. Full run shown on G4.|
|27||15||Failed Spin Bridge (First Stage)||Digest. Full run shown on G4.|
|29||87||Failed Crazy Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Failed Transition to 2nd Ledge.|
|30||2995||Failed Swap Salmon Ladder (Second Stage)||Disqualified. Technical error. First time failing the 2nd Stage.|
|31||89||Failed Crazy Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Failed Jump to 4th Ledge.|
|32||92||Failed TIE Fighter (First Stage)|
|33||87||Failed TIE Fighter (First Stage)||Digest.|
|34||83||Failed Reverse Conveyor (Second Stage)||Digest. Fell off the belt.|
|35||93||Failed Dragon Glider (First Stage)||Course Out. Dislodged bar and his feet touched the water.|