SASUKE (サスケ) Stages
The 2ND Stage has traditionally been used to test a competitor's speed, however when the Salmon Ladder obstacle was added in Sasuke 18 upper body strength became important too.
Those with enough skill to complete stage one then take on an even more grueling set of obstacles in stage two. 283 competitors have reached the Second Stage. Like stage one, 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. The obstacles determine the time limit, and it is usually between 50 and 100 seconds.
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. If the competitor busts open the gate without hitting the button, they are disqualified. 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" Katsumi Yamada had done in the 12th competition.
On average, 10 to 15 competitors attempt the Second Stage on each competition. A record 37 competitors attempted the Second Stage during the 4th Competition. Also during the 4th Competition, a record 11 competitors cleared the Second Stage. During the 5th Competition, however, only three men made it to the Second Stage due to new, tougher obstacles in the First Stage. In the 19th Competition, 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.