Thinking of Buying a Kendama

About three months ago I got into the yoyo scene and I’ve really been loving it. It got me thinking about what other skill toys I’ve been missing out on. The kendama seems like a cool and different toy to work into my rotation.

I was looking at the Sweets f3 Marble with the cushion finish in Hawaiian sunset. I was also looking at the Roots custom Ozora Honeybee…

They run about the same price ($30). So if I were to make the jump, is one the objectively better choice?

For a first kendama the Sweets Cushion finish is what I would recommend. Ozora is always a great choice too, but the tama will take longer to break in while the Sweets Cushion tama will play nice and grippy from the start.

That’s good to know Garrett. I think I ran into this exact issue with my first kendamas and didn’t realize why. My first was a Sweets marble finish and yeah, it was pretty slippy. But since I had nothing to compare it with I didn’t know. Then I bought a KendamaUSA pro model with a paduak ken and that mint green satin finish tama and it make a HUGE difference immediately.

The marble is still a nice kendama, it just took a while to break it in.

I just had a realization: When you ding a yoyo you think “Oh No! Not another ding!” When you ding a kendama you think “Cool, now it will grip even better.”

thanks for the info! I am super excited.

I really like the cushion paint too. One of my favorites. It’s noticeably tackier than the standard Ozora will be even broken in imho, unless you go with a rubberized Ozora of course.
The 1st Sweets marbles were a clear coat and slippery as glass new. The latest ones are cushion clear coat and have a bit duller appearance but are tacky.

Even in the short time I’ve been playing I’ve come to appreciate both types of paint. With cushion you won’t be able to make some adjustments quickly without throwing the ken around in tama grip or vice-versa as it sticks that well while the slicker ones you can move around much more which seems to have helped me learn how to adjust from a crooked catch better.

Which is better for someone starting out? Like, is there something else I should be looking at?

I’m the wrong one to ask I think. :slight_smile: I just bought several to try, hence some in my BST, and started out to find my own preferences. But like yoyo they do change.
I started on a Catchy Street. Really liked it and even though it is oversized base cup and small cup I could land tricks on it and then quickly transition to a normal sized kendama so I’m not sure how much it was necessary now.
The natty’s, or complete naturals are still a challenge depending on the wood type. Until broken in they are very slick in my experience other than Ash. Ash it sticky then slick then back to more tack. Natty’s still help you dial in tricks though, but I would rather have a rubberized, cushion, or the likes 1st so you wouldn’t be so discouraged. But you may pick it up way quicker than me and slay a natty just fine???

I really like the silk paint that KendamaUSA uses. Feels like a nice balance of stick and slip.

Hope it’s been too long and you’ve already been jamming a dama. If you haven’t decided, pick which ever you like best. As far as “best for beginners,” that’s a double edged sword.

I always tell people to start on a normal painted tama that will be very nice and tacky once broken in. My reasoning is learning to play from slick to tacky helps you learn to balance and adjust correctly and will make you a better player. Which is what I did and am very happy.

Starting on a cushion or rubber paint will def make learning easier since it just sticks. However the drawback here is that sometimes that stick is bad. Let’s say you go for a one turn light house. The base will stick but the momentum will end up pushing the Ken over cause it to tip. So you have to adjust appropriately.

as you see there are pros and cons for both. I love both equally. I will say that I have been playing my cushion more lately. So, my opinion, get both.