Kendama: 3 New Tricks In My Bag

I learned some cool new tricks this week on my kendama.

Building The Lighthouse (Airplane to 1/2 Turn Lighthouse)
One Turn Lighthouse

My poor choice of camera angle caused the tama to be obscured by my left hand. I promise I landed the tricks cleanly and without any hand contact.

Playing kendama is bringing me much joy. Its a great change of pace, and it is making me appreciate yoyos more than ever. You get an intense sense of adrenaline and satisfaction when you nail a big trick on a kendama… much more so than with a yoyo in my opinion. Throwing after a kendama session almost feels like a relief. The contrast between the 2 toys makes for a well balanced “play time” experience.

If anyone is considering taking up kendama as a secondary hobby, I highly suggest you go for it!

Dude, you must be practicing tons. I’m still working on Aeroplane and you and I took up kendama at about the same time. (Stuck at Kyu 4 in self cert. of course I can do way more than that but Aeroplane and Swing In are pretty hard tricks.)

I was actually thinking about it this morning over kendama and coffee. Did you just go straight for the crazy hard stuff right out of the gate, or did you nail all the basics and can hit them consistent already?

Sorry, stupid question; I know nothing about kendema, so how should I get started?

Right on, James!

Research online… there are many trick videos on youtube, and also lists of ladder skills you can build from beginner to advanced

Find any wood kendama, usually about $17-30. May help to start with an extra sticky one to help on certain tricks, or you can challenge yourself by going for an Oozora right off the bat,6.0.html

I have been playing upwards of 4 hours every evening (from about 8pm to midnight). I learned most of the basic tricks first (fairly consistently but not perfect)… but skipped a few intermediate ones for the moment. My goal was to be able to do the basics + Lighthouse, Bird, and Lunar. After I get those down solid I will go back and learn some more basic and intermediate tricks. The next tricks I want to learn are Bird Over Valley, Spacewalk, and Swirls.

I always document and list my yoyo and kendama tricks.

Here is my current kendama trick list:

Ken Flip
Pull Up Spike
Swing Up Spike
Spinning Top
Earth Turn
Slip Stick
Around The Block (Small Cup, Big Cup, Bottom Cup) [Ken Grip]
Around Japan (Small Cup, Big Cup, Spike) [Ken Grip]
Around The Neighborhood (Big Cup, Spike) [Ken Grip]
Around The World (Big Cup, Small Cup, Bottom Cup, Spike) [Ken Grip]
Around The Prefecture (Bottom Cup, Spike) [Ken Grip]
Around Hakone (Big Cup, Small Cup, Big Cup, Bottom Cup, Big Cup, Spike) [Sara Grip]
Moshi Kame (Big Cup, Bottom Cup, Big Cup, Bottom Cup, Repeat) [Sara Grip]
Cool Whip (Pull-up Orbit, Big Cup Orbit) [Sara Grip]
Jumping Stick
One Turn Lighthouse
Building The Lighthouse

Check out KendamaUSA, TheKengarden,, and SweetsKendamas. Good places to start researching.

I totally responded with a lengthy reply and it didn’t post. I bet it was awesome and insightful and profound.