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Takeda Toshihiro (竹田 敏浩), a sport trainer and former firefighter from Gifu Prefecture, Japan, is a SASUKE All-Star best known for his incredibly consistent performances and his trademark orange pants. In November 2013, Takeda resigned from his job as a firefighter; he began working as a sports trainer in 2014 after obtaining his license.

He has advanced to the Third Stage a total of thirteen times, a SASUKE record, including seven consecutive times from SASUKE 11 to SASUKE 17. His height and weight are recorded at 171 cm and 63 kg respectively.

Despite his impressive Third Stage advance rate, he has never managed to advance to the Final Stage, the only one of six All-Stars to have this dubious distinction, and he is the only All-Stars never to have worn #99 or #100. Despite never making it past the Pipe Slider, it has been speculated that he would have been a strong competitor in the Final Stage due to the amount of climbing his job requires.

Though he has never reached the Final Stage, he is arguably the most consistent All-Star, having the most First Stage clears (19) and tying with Nagano Makoto and Morimoto Yūsuke for the second most consecutive First Stage clears (each eight), only behind Satō Jun who had ten consecutive clears. He is also the only All-Star to make consecutive Shin-SASUKE Third Stage appearances, doing so in SASUKE 23 and SASUKE 24.


Beginnings and Early All-Star Career

Takeda made his debut in SASUKE 5, just after Akiyama Kazuhiko's Kanzenseiha in the previous tournament. Wearing #74, he surprised many when he became the first man to complete the redesigned First Stage, doing so with just 1.08 second left. In the Second Stage, however, his run was short lived as he failed the Spider Walk shortly after starting the obstacle.

He returned in SASUKE 6, wearing #93. He confirmed the expectations by clearing First Stage with over ten seconds left. Then he redeemed himself on the Spider Walk and though he started the Wall Lifting with less than ten seconds left, he smashed through the obstacle and cleared the stage in time. In his Third Stage debut, he would, like the Kosugi brothers later on, struggle on the Body Prop, and after many signs of struggling, he fell into the water near the end of the obstacle.

In SASUKE 7, many expected him to complete again the First Stage, but he ran into problems in the Soritatsu Kabe, taking three attempts to clear it, even coming off the course after the second attempt, though not disqualified, and he ran out of time near the end of the course.

In SASUKE 8, though the entire course was plagued with rain, he managed to return to the Third Stage with ease. There, he beat the Body Prop after his previous fail and even clear the Cliffhanger Dansa in his first attempt, but on the Pipe Slider he failed to keep the bar stable in order to do the final jump to the finishing platform, and ultimately his grip gave way. This performance was enough to introduce him as a new All-Star.

In his first tournament (SASUKE 9) as an All-Star, he wore #97 and despite taking two attempts on the Soritatsu Kabe, he again returned to the Third Stage. In a heavily redesigned Third Stage, Takeda lost his grip halfway the new Lamp Grasper. He was able to recover, but unfortunately he definitively lost his grip at the penultimate lamp.

In the 10th Anniversary tournament, he shocked many failing a revamped Jump Hang (an obstacle that he always passed before), in which the net was more further than any other tournaments, a fate that will soon meet the new member of the All-Stars, Nagano Makoto.


Third Stage Trips

The tournaments prior to SASUKE 17 consecrated Takeda as one of the most consistent competitors ever, reaching the Third Stage an incredible seven times, a streak that stood for several years until it was matched by Satō Jun in SASUKE 38. Unfortunately, Takeda never managed to reach the Final Stage in any of these attempts.

In SASUKE 11, his run came to an abrupt end when he failed near the end of the Body Prop, his second fail of this obstacle. Unlike his previous fail, he showed no signs of fatigue, however it was implied that he felt a pain to his right shoulder that forced him to let go. Takeda, like Yamamoto Shingo, has a history of shoulder problems and while not fully foreshadowing what was to come later on, this would be the first of many times in his career wear he would run out of stamina due to his shoulder.

In SASUKE 12, he managed to take his revenge on both Body Prop and Lamp Grasper and made it again to the Pipe Slider. This time he was able to perform a dismount, but he landed too away to the mat and during his fall he hit the bottom support of the obstacle, causing it to dislocate. It was said that Takeda had surgery done on that exact shoulder about four months earlier which confirmed his history of problems with it, as well as being the probable reason for his slip up in the previous tournament.

In fact, because of the aforementioned injury, SASUKE 13 was the beginning of his troubles on the Cliffhanger. He was able to do the second transition, but his grip gave way just before he could land on the platform, while in the next tournament, he even failed to make the second transition. He finally beat this obstacle in SASUKE 15, only to be done by the new Devil Balanço. Despite he had the left hand on the Pipe Slider's bar and the right one on the Devil Balanco's trapeze, he ran out of stamina and he could not transfer the other hand to the Pipe Slider.

SASUKE 16 saw yet another fail on the Cliffhanger, the third of his career, but his last fail on any given variant of the obstacle.

SASUKE 17 would ultimately be the last of this streak of seven Third Stage attempts and once again he would fail the Pipe Slider. It was very painful as his family came to support again after three years (the last being SASUKE 12) and they had to see yet another failure. He stated in his interview afterwards that he thought it would be better if his family didn't came to support him as they make him nervous, but he was wrong as he feel the presence of his family is the one that eventually make him go far. Incidentally, all his Pipe Slider's attempts happened when his family came to support. However, Nagano's Kanzenseiha later that night turns out to be the killing blow of his hope to reach Final Stage as he even won't ever touch the last obstacle of the Third Stage again after this tournament.


Shin-SASUKE

After SASUKE 17, originally Takeda had considered retiring from SASUKE, but was convinced otherwise by his children.

In SASUKE 18 he arrived late to the tournament. As a result, he had no bib and ran between #86 and #87. He successfully cleared the newly-redesigned First Stage and was out of breath afterwards. With this, he extended his record of consecutive First Stage clears to eight. However, he struggled at the new Salmon Ladder in the Second Stage and fell before the last, largest gap due to making a fatal mistake of not throwing enough momentum. It was the first time he had failed the Second Stage since his debut.

In SASUKE 19, he had to attempt the Pole Maze twice, wasting valuable time. Though he made it to the Soritatsu Kabe, he failed to scale it multiple times (perhaps because of the added height and stamina being spent after attempting Pole Maze twice) and though he eventually cleared it, he timed out immediately after.

In SASUKE 20, though he had no problems for most of the course, he lost a lot of time trying to transfer to the cargo rope in the Flying Chute, causing him to time out on the Rope Ladder, suffering his first second consecutive First Stage defeat.

In SASUKE 21, he cleared the First Stage with 15.79 seconds to spare. He exacted his revenge on the Salmon Ladder, passing it with ease and made his way for a record 11th time to the Third Stage (surpassing Yamamoto Shingo). Despite his nagging shoulder problems he would become the first to clear the Shin-Cliffhanger, but his shoulder problems would ultimately lead to him failing the Hang Climbing.

In SASUKE 22, he shocked many when he mis-stepped the trampoline on the Jumping Spider in the First Stage and failed there. He was able to return to the Third Stage in SASUKE 23 (earning him a record 12th Third Stage attempt) and was able to clear the Hang Climbing that eliminated him before, but failed the very next obstacle, the Spider Flip by not gaining a grip on the second I-Beam. This would be prove to be Takeda's best result in the Shin-SASUKE era.

SASUKE 24 was a pivotal tournament for Takeda, as expectation was high for him to finally break the Third Stage curse. He performed well in the First Stage and was even able to clear the Slider Jump without jumping before clearing the Stage altogether, being the only All-Star to do so, while several Shin-Sedai members advanced with him. In the Second Stage he was able to clear the Salmon Ladder to Unstable Bridge connection easily and the Second Stage, even took his time to stroll to the finish button. Takeda returned to the Third Stage for a record 13th time. Five subsequent competitors cleared the Third Stage before Takeda's run, further increasing everyone's hopes. Carrying the expectations of everyone and especially the All-Stars, Takeda went into the Third Stage as the last challenger. He performed well on the new Rope Junction like the six competitors before him. He then beat Shin-Cliffhanger for the third time, becoming the only person to do so. But on the Hang Climbing, he was losing stamina and was slow heading to the Spider Flip. In a now infamous moment in the Shin-SASUKE Era and the show in general, Takeda would reach the end of the bottom portion of the Spider Flip, however it was clear he was once again gassing out. Knowing the repercussions if he did fall, the competitors and the audience cheered for Takeda to hoist himself up, but slowly but surely Takeda was losing his grip. In the end, his feet let go of the obstacle and after dangling with his arms for a few more seconds, Takeda would fail the Third Stage for the 13th and last time in his career. In an emotional interview afterwards he stated that Nagano had been doing a lot of work for the All-Stars to keep their name. He express his sadness over how he can't join the five finalists together in the Final Stage and he wish them all the best of luck. He then walk to other side, meet the All-Stars and crouch in front of Nagano, stating only one word, "Sorry". And in the ironic story, the history repeat itself as he watch Urushihara Yuuji achieve Kanzenseiha later that night that would proven to be another killer blow to his hope of a Final Stage attempt as the course is renewed once again and this tournament turns out to be the last time he will ever stepped into Third Stage.


Kanzen Renewal

He returned in SASUKE 25 and he drew #70 from the lottery, his lowest start position ever and his lowest since SASUKE 8. In the First Stage, with Yamada Katsumi's and Shiratori Bunpei's absences he was the first All-Star to attempt the First Stage. He performed well, and cleared with eight seconds to spare. In the Second Stage, he failed due to making the same error as he did in SASUKE 18 and unexpectedly failed on the last rung of the new Double Salmon Ladder. Due to a scheduling conflict, he was unable to attend SASUKE 26, ending his run of 21 tournaments in succession. Takeda did attend SASUKE 27 as a spectator, but did not compete due to him not wanting to making new injuries as he was being promoted on his firefighter department.


SASUKE RISING and Afterwards

Takeda returned in SASUKE 28, failing the Rolling Escargot when he struggled on it and jumped to the ending platform, but his foot touched the water in the process. In his speech afterwards, he stated defiantly that he performed terribly and wanted to return.

Ηe returned for SASUKE 29 wearing #95. He started in good shape, clearing the Long Jump and Log Grip with ease. However, on the Hedgehog, he lost his balance near the end of the obstacle and fell sideways, holding himself from the mat next to it. A few moments later, he could not hold on and failed there, marking his second First Stage consecutive failure streak.

In SASUKE 30 he was wearing #2980. He cleared the First Stage (breaking his two consecutive First Stage failures) however he was disqualified on the Swap Salmon Ladder when the bar missed the rung and fell to a lower level, making it the 3rd time that he failed a version of the Salmon Ladder.

In SASUKE 31 he shocked everybody failing the very first obstacle, the Rolling Hill. He tried to jump from the top of the Rolling Hill like Yamamoto Shingo, but would come up short and land in the water, just like Yamamoto did.

In SASUKE 32, Takeda wore #98. His run was digested (but shown on Challenge). He started strong despite going at a slower pace. He had to take two attempts at the Double Pendulum and then ran out of stamina at the Soritatsu Kabe, timing out there after three attempts, marking the first time he ever fail this obstacle.

In SASUKE 33, Takeda wore #90. He cleared the First Stage with 12.7 seconds to spare. He failed the Salmon Ladder Kudari in the Second Stage, failing on the last rung. This marked the fourth version of the Salmon Ladder he would fail on.

In SASUKE 34, he once again cleared the First Stage with just under ten seconds left on the clock, becoming only the second person to clear the First Stage in consecutive tournaments in his 40s, with the other being Okuyama Yoshiyuki (SASUKE 26 at age 40 and SASUKE 27 at age 41). In the Second Stage, he struggled with the Salmon Ladder Kudari when the bar landed lopsided with one side two rungs down. Takeda struggled to correct this and ultimately failed due to fatigue. This marked the first time Takeda failed the Second Stage in two consecutive tournaments.

In SASUKE 35, he cleared the first few obstacles, but on the new Dragon Glider, though he cleared the trampoline jump he didn't let go of the bar when doing the transition to the second track and ultimately timed out there.

In SASUKE 36, he started off strong, however on the Wing Slider he slipped on the obstacle and injured his left shoulder. Although he managed to clear the Fish Bone it was evident he was in pain. He withdrew from the tournament just before the Dragon Glider to prevent further injury. He thus did not compete in SASUKE 37 due to his injury acting up numerous times and stated he might consider retiring due to said injury. However, on his YouTube channel, he confirmed that he would return in SASUKE 38.

In SASUKE 38, he had an incredible, vintage performance showing signs of his younger self at various points, and he amazingly cleared the First Stage, however he skipped the last pedestal on the Fish Bone which was against the rules, thus he was disqualified. It is known through Paravi that he continued his First Stage run, with the disqualification being placed after his run. From there, he cleared the stage with 14.83 seconds remaining; had he been allowed through, he would've broken the record of being the oldest competitor to clear the First Stage, at the age of 45, a record set in SASUKE 1 by Inoue Kiyomi.

Retirement

In June 2022, Takeda would upload an update on his YouTube channel explaining that he has officially retired from SASUKE. During August to late September 2021, Takeda has experienced various heart problems which has worsen over time. Upon medical check-up by the end of September, it was known that Takeda had the case of Atrial fibrillation in which he must take a surgery as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the schedule of the surgery was pushed back into early November, making it hard for Takeda to prepare for SASUKE 39, thus one of the reasons why he did not compete in the competition.

Takeda also updated that the surgery was a complete success, but his heart would still have problems when he does heavy training. This coupled with the fact that he hasn't done well in the past few tournaments, Takeda has decided to retire from SASUKE. However, he still has a feeling of competing again if possible and he made a decision to go to SASUKE 40 in the sidelines to cheer on the competitors.

Trivia


SASUKE Results

SASUKE # Result Notes
5 74 Failed Spider Walk (Second Stage) Failed Spider Walk just after finishing the Tackle Machine.
6 93 Failed Body Prop (Third Stage) Struggle long before dropping out centimetres from finish platform.
7 96 Failed Rope Climb (First Stage) Time Out.
8 71 Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage) Didn't attempt the jump.
9 97 Failed Lamp Grasper (Third Stage)
10 997 Failed Jump Hang (First Stage)
11 97 Failed Body Prop (Third Stage)
12 95 Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage) Failed Jump. Injured his shoulder during dismount.
13 98 Failed Cliff Hanger (Third Stage) Injured.
14 97 Failed Cliff Hanger (Third Stage) Injured.
15 96 Failed Devil Balanço (Third Stage) Had one hand on the Pipe Slider and one hand on Devil Balanco when he fell. Last Man Standing.
16 98 Failed Cliff Hanger (Third Stage)
17 91 Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage) Failed Jump.
18 Failed Salmon Ladder (Second Stage) He did not have a bib, but was around 86th to run. Sixth Level.
19 96 Failed Flying Chute (First Stage) Time Out after he beat the Soritatsu Kabe, but before he attempt the Flying Chute.
20 1995 Failed Rope Ladder (First Stage) Time Out.
21 98 Failed Hang Climbing (Third Stage) First to beat the Shin-Cliffhanger.
22 92 Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)
23 97 Failed Spider Flip (Third Stage) Failed to flip to the second wall.
24 98 Failed Spider Flip (Third Stage) Exhausted.
25 70 Failed Double Salmon Ladder (Second Stage) Fourth Level, Second Ladder.
28 97 Failed Rolling Escargot (First Stage) Course Out. His foot skimmed the water while landing.
29 95 Failed Hedgehog (First Stage) He completed the obstacle, but lost his balance and fell.
30 2980 Failed Swap Salmon Ladder (Second Stage) Disqualified. Bar fell to lower level.
31 93 Failed Rolling Hill (First Stage)
32 98 Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage) Time Out. First time failing the obstacle.
33 90 Failed Salmon Ladder Kudari (Second Stage)
34 91 Failed Salmon Ladder Kudari (Second Stage)
35 91 Failed Dragon Glider (First Stage) Didn't let go of the bar when doing the transition. Time Out.
36 85 Withdrew, Dragon Glider (First Stage) Withdrew due to shoulder injury on the Wing Slider.
38 87 Failed Fish Bone (First Stage) Cleared the Stage with 14.83 seconds left, but disqualified for skipping the last pedestal.


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