Yamada Katsumi (山田 勝己) is a SASUKE All-Star who first competed in SASUKE 1, making it to the Second Stage but ultimately failing the Goren Hammer. He would go on to compete 25 more times, missing only SASUKE 13, SASUKE 25 and SASUKE 29. He was given the nickname "Mr. SASUKE" because he was once thought to be the most likely competitor to clear all four stages. Recently, he has been plagued with a string of First Stage failures.
He is particularly notable for his unusual devotion to SASUKE. He has sworn to retire several times after failing to complete the 1st Stage, but the draw of kanzenseiha is too great for him and he always manages to resurface again. Earlier on, he competed with the support of his family, but after he lost his job prior to the 6th competition because the factory where he worked (as a propane tank delivery driver) was closed, he did nothing but train for SASUKE, alienating his family in the process. He continues to train at his home even today. He has constructed several SASUKE obstacles and trains there daily.
He has held various jobs over the years, including delivering propane tanks and working in the steel industry, but he now devotes all his time to SASUKE training, only holding a part-time job. He has also vowed to retire several times (after SASUKE 8, SASUKE 17, and SASUKE 24 for example), but has only missed two tournaments. Out of the 26 tournaments he has participated in, he has cleared the first stage ten times, the second stage four times and the third stage once. Though he showed good consistency in the early tournaments, since his comeback in SASUKE 14, he has never cleared the First Stage.
Yamada was one of the strongest competitors in the early competitions. He passed the First Stage in the first six SASUKE tournemants. In the first tournament he failed the Goren Hammer. In SASUKE 2, he struggled on the Spider Walk and failed there. In SASUKE 3, he was one of the five people to reach to Final Stage and Yamada did the best, missing the victory by just a meter. In SASUKE 4, he wore #100. His dreams of Kanzenseiha ended where he failed the new Cliffhanger. In SASUKE 5, when he attempted the Rolling Maruta, the log fell off the track but Yamada amazingly didn't touch the water. He advanced in Second Stage before failing the new Spider Walk. In SASUKE 6, he advanced to the Third Stage and took his revenge to the Cliffhanger. On the Pipe Slider, he landed on the mat, but losing his balance and fell on the ground.
SASUKE 7 was the first time that Yamada was unable to clear the First Stage, timing out on the Rope Climb. Before the 8th competition, Yamada had announced his retirement. But he returned for the eighth tournament. He took on the 1st Stage, and ran out of time on the Soritatsu Kabe. Clearly emotional, Yamada just stood there in defeat for a few seconds. Then unexpectedly, he ran and climbed over the wall with ease and completed the Rope Climb quickly. It was a very emotional moment in SASUKE.
Yamada's retirement did not last long; he returned for SASUKE 9 and reached the Second Stage, only to time out (see below). In the 10th Competition, Yamada was the only All-Star to complete the First Stage and the only one who made it to the Pipe Slider, however he failed the Pipe Slider and since then hasn't returned to the Third Stage. His emotional interview after his failure prompted him to say one of the most famous lines in the history of the show, "俺には…、SASUKEしかないんですよ" which literally means, "For me, there is nothing else except SASUKE."
He would clear the First Stage in SASUKE 11 and SASUKE 12, but would fail the Second Stage both times. In SASUKE 11, Katsumi fell off near the end of the Balance Tank. In SASUKE 12, he made it through the Second Stage, but was disqualified when he forgot to take off his gloves before the Spider Walk. Yamada would not compete in SASUKE 13, even though he earned a spot during the SASUKE 13 Trials, but would re-appear at SASUKE 14, failing on the Jump Hang.
First Stage failures
After SASUKE 14, Yamada has had a long string of First Stage failures. In SASUKE 15, he failed the Cross Bridge when he fell off the side of the mat after completing the obstacle. He then had a string of three straight time outs: on the Rope Climb in SASUKE 16, the Soritatsu Kabe in SASUKE 17, and the Rope Ladder in SASUKE 18.
In SASUKE 23, Yamada would move easily through the first half of the course. On the Half-Pipe Attack he would carry too much momentum, and almost go off the mat. On the Soritatsu Kabe he would take many tries to scale the wall, and once he cleared it he was low on time. When he reached the Slider Jump he griped the bar with a reverse grip, then slid down, but similar to Nagano Makoto in SASUKE 22 he sliped from the netting, and failed, making it his tenth consecutive First Stage defeat and even if he had cleared the Slider Jump, he would've timed out while still in the netting.
In SASUKE 24, Yamada, took on the first stage once more. He cleared the Jumping Spider which he had failed three times, and easily cleared the half pipe attack, showing good speed. However, he suffered another heartbreaking defeat when he timed out attempting to clear the Soritatsu Kabe.
Yamada again vowed to retire after SASUKE 24 and missed the following tournament, only to return for SASUKE 26. He performed quickly through the first two obstacles, but stumbled on the Rolling Escargot. Though he cleared, he then failed the Jumping Spider for the fourth time, though this was the first time since the 10th competition that Yamada progressed the furthest of the All-Stars (tying with Nagano in the process).
Before SASUKE 27, Yamada finally raised his Soritatsu Kabe 20 cm higher, but he kept grasping the lower bar before scaling it. During the tournament he performed well through the first few obstacles. On the redesigned Half-Pipe Attack Yamada had to go back for a second try at the obstacle and he made the landing. Yamada once again struggled on the Soritatsu Kabe and timed out on the obstacle for the fifth time.
Before what wound up actually being his final tournament, SASUKE 28, Yamada's home course had not been maintained and he opted to tear it down. In the tournament, Yamada lost about 20 seconds on the Rolling Escargot and wound up having virtually no time left on the Ni Ren Soritatsu Kabe. He slipped on the first wall on his first try but climbed to the top as time ran out. In an all cut interview, he revealed that he injured his leg prior to the tournament, explaining why he was slow throughout his run. He has also stated that he will not retire yet and he will return when he feels he's ready.
POST SASUKE RISING
For SASUKE 29, instead of competing, he formed a team of 4 newcomers to SASUKE; Yamamoto Koshige, Watanabe Yousuke, Okada Satoma, and Mizukawa Keishi. They were called the "Black Tigers" and wore #'s 47-50, respectively.
Also, in that tournament, just for fun, Yamada ran the Third Stage (in the daytime) for the first time since SASUKE 10, but fell from the second ledge of the Crazy Cliffhanger. However if he competed in the actual tournament, he would be disqualified at the Iron Paddler as he used the metal supports to hold on and not fall in the water.
|1||92||Failed Goren Hammer (Second Stage)|
|2||91||Failed Spider Walk (Second Stage)|
|3||89||Failed Tsuna Nobori (Final Stage)||Time Out. 14.5m up.|
|4||100||Failed Cliff Hanger (Third Stage)|
|5||100||Failed Spider Walk (Second Stage)|
|6||99||Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage)||Yamada landed poorly on the finish mat and toppled sideways onto the ground. Last Man Standing.|
|7||100||Failed Rope Climb (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|8||100||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out. Cleared Soritatsu Kabe and Rope Climb after defeat.|
|9||99||Failed Wall Lifting (Second Stage)||Time Out. Second Wall.|
|10||1000||Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage)||Last Man Standing.|
|11||100||Failed Balance Tank (Second Stage)|
|12||98||Failed Spider Walk (Second Stage)||See Yamada Katsumi's Glove Disqualification.|
|14||99||Failed Jump Hang (First Stage)|
|15||99||Failed Cross Bridge (First Stage)||Course Out.|
|16||99||Failed Rope Climb (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|17||100||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out. Was at the top as time expired.|
|18||73||Failed Rope Ladder (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|19||91||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)|
|20||1999||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)|
|21||96||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Injured, Time Out.|
|22||81||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)|
|23||71||Failed Slider Jump (First Stage)|
|24||80||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|26||90||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)|
|27||91||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|28||99||Failed Ni Ren Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out. First Wall. Was on top as time expired.|
|2||99||Failed Cannonball (First Marine Stage)|
|3||81||Failed Captain's Cabin (First Marine Stage)||Time Out.|