lunedì 13 maggio 2013

KendAlex & Dutchkendama #Mini Aluminium Kendama けん玉

one year's gone yet…guess i'll have some time to update the blog a little bit…i've recently got a bad bike accident and my right hand has been badly hurt leading me to a forced i stand still on both legs lucky enough to talk about it...sick edit with mini aluminium kendama!

martedì 23 agosto 2011

Kendama Edit 2 - William Penniman

Kendama Edit - James Mikes

Mr. James "Crazy Tricks" Thorsteinson from Grimsby(UK) gave me the opportunity to put in here his edits.
Startin' with the one i like the most - Edit IV.
More to come and if you cannot wait just click HERE 





Thanks James

venerdì 17 settembre 2010

Speed Trick B

to get the 6 Dan license you'll be required to complete a speed trick series in a certain amount of time.
here's a list of the speed tricks B with a couple of videos related.

giovedì 16 settembre 2010

Dutch Kendama Edit#24

seriously addicted with tshirt and hat this guy rulez

Usa Team Edit - Colin Sander

collecting all Colin's stuff on a single post,the last edit is pretty cool and you'll find great tricks on the others too…the earliest ones are not pro enough but i guess you can get some fun lookin'at those.







Advanced Tricks Edit

one more edit with all the advanced tricks including moshikame i've found on vimeo

kendama 1-6 dan tutorial( from KENDAMACN.COM on Vimeo.

Super Performance :)

hanging around the web i've got the address of this website sponsored by the JKA with a bunch of supertricks inside :)

in the next posts i'll try to take care about the UK and USA team edits.
lotza good guys over there and edits to share.


Freedom Kendama

this is the japan kendama ace "Riceball" Takumi, he goes for jugglertakumi on utube and is one of the greatest 6 dan masters...
enjoy the two edits!

freedom kendama vol.1

freedom kendama vol.2

sabato 11 settembre 2010

Kendama 6Dan

6 Dan Masters are few...
it means that it requires a lot of time to get there...anyway i love to look at the small and smooth movements since it helps in learning how to reach our goals.
The video is related to the previous post with all the tricks required for the advanced level.

Advanced Tricks

These are the tricks you will need to learn to progress through the JKA's Pre-Advanced and Advanced Level Tables. . Make sure you've learned all thebeginner's tricks first!

Around prefecture or 'Ken ishuu'
Hold the kendama using the Ken Grip so that the spike points upwards and the ball hangs at the end of the string. Pull the ball straight up and scoop the kendama underneath to catch the ball in the base cup. Then throw the ball up again and catch it on the spike.

Slip-on-stick or 'Ken saki suberi'
Hold the kendama using the Ken Grip so that the spike is parallel to the floor and the ball hangs at the end of the string. Pull the ball straight up and move the kendama underneath to catch the ball on the side of the spike, with the hole downwards. Then, without losing contact between the ball and the ken, slide the ball onto the spike.

Earth turn or 'Chikyuu mawashi'
Start with a Furiken, then spin the ball off the spike with exactly one turn, and catch it back on the spike.

Falling or 'Saka otoshi'
Perform a Toudai, and then finish by flipping the ken to catch the spike in the hole.

Reverse swing in or 'Ura furiken'
As Furiken, but the ball is swung in the other direction (ie towards you).

Around the cosmos or 'Uchuu ishuu'
Hold the ball in the Ken Grip and execute the following catches in order: Body catch (resting on the side of the spike); Spike; Small cup; Spike; Big cup; Spike; Base cup; Spike.

Bird or 'Uguisu' - view
Start as for Tomeken, but catch the ball with the hole resting on the edge of the big cup, and leaning against the spike. The ken is angled slightly for the catch. Hold still for 3 seconds.

Hanging pull-up-in or 'Tsurushi tomeken'
Hold the string so that the ball hangs down resting against the curve of the body of the ken (The top of the ball must be no higher than the tip of the spike). Throw the kendama up by the string, and with the same hand, grab the ken and catch the ball on the spike.

Jumping stick or 'Haneken'
Start with Hikouki, then flip the ken out of the hole 360˚ and catch the spike back in the hole again.

1 Flip aeroplane or 'Ikkaiten hikouki'
Start as for Hikouki, but give an extra tug on the string to make the ken flip an extra time before the catch.

Swing in Lighthouse or 'Ikkaiten toudai'
Swing the ken into a lighthouse catch, and hold for 3 seconds.

Slip grip special or 'Suberidome gokui'
Hold the kendama using the Secret Grip and pull the ball up to land balanced on the slip grip ridge. Hold for 3 seconds.

Bird fly over the valley or 'Uguisu no taniwatari'
Start as Uguisu, then throw the ball straight up and catch on the small cup edge, then catch on spike.

Lighthouse somersault or 'Toudai tonbogaeri'
Start with Toudai, then flip the ken 360˚ and catch back in lighthouse.

Hanging 1-flip aeroplane or 'Tsurushi ikkaiten hikouki'
Hold the string so that the ball hangs down resting against the curve of the body of the ken. Throw the kendama up away from you, then catch the ball, then catch the spike in the hole.

Swing flip lighthouse or 'Nikaiten toudai'
As Ikkaiten toudai, but the ken makes an extra flip before landing on the ball.

Please visit
Clicking on 'View' will link you to the Japanese Kendama Association's gif animations for the individual tricks

JKA Skill Levels

The Japanese Kendama Association have official skill levels. To qualify for any given grade, you have ten attempts to achieve each trick listed the required number of times. Example: to qualify as a grade 5 beginner, you have 10 attempts to hit Rousoku 3 times, another 10 attempts to hit Tomeken twice, and another ten attempts to hit Hikouki once. For grade 1, you also have two attempts to achieve 50 catches of Moshi kame.

All tricks at all levels must be performed with a JKA-approved kendama.

venerdì 10 settembre 2010

Beginners Tricks

a series of easy tricks to give it a go!!!
all the ones with whom i shared my time playing kendama in italy really don't need this anymore :)
we must keep in consideration it's a starting point for everyone who's going through the first steps,learning techniques and tricks name.


The Japan Kendama Association

The Japan Kendama Association was founded by the children's book author Issei Fujiwara in May 1975. His goal was to standardise the various different forms of Kendama competitions and to catalogue the increasing number of tricks.

Therefore he defined a uniform set of rules which deals with the requirements, execution and judgment-criterea for competitions. In cooperation with a few Japanese manufacturers he, until today, has official Kendama made which are lisenced by the JKA.

Besides standardised rules for competitions he created a graduation-system to classify for "Kyû" (stundents ranks) and "Dan" (master ranks); one of the reasons for that was to enable players of the same skill level to mess with each other. The requirements for passing graduations in the "Kyû-Dan System" were also determined and by passing tests a player can climb up one rank after the other.

In 2002 the JKA got registered as an Non-Profit-Organisation (NPO) and since then works as an umbrella association for local Kendama groups in Japan. The JKA hosts the annual Japanese Kendama Masterships and plans the first international Kendama Meeting in Japan 2009. Furthermore it supports in collaboration with the Japanese "Ministry for Education, Sports and Culture" the use of Kendama in primary and secondary schools and publishes books on Kendama.

The 5 main goals of the Japan Kendama Association

1. The tradition of the Kendama's history and the perservation of the Kendama as a part of Japanese culture.

2. The further development of the art of playing Kendama as well as its promotion as a sport and freetime occupation.

3. The cooperation to advance the usage of the Kendama for educational purposes in schools and clubs.

4. The advancement of the Kendama as a health-promoting sport, which can be practised throughout one's whole lifetime.

5. Promoting the Kendama globally to contribute to international understanding.

The JKA's graduation system

The graduation system has 10 stundent levels, the so called Kyû, followed by 10 mastergrades called Dan.

After mastering all tests from the 10th Kyû up to the 1st Kyû, the Dan-exams follow.

While the Kyû are easy to archive and often are accomplished while being a youth, the Dan grades represent much more of a challange. The 1st Dan can be seen as an entrance which certifies the knowledge of the fundamentals and the real learning of the art of playing Kendama starts from here. Usually the next Dan-exam can only be tried for the first time after having practised for the same number of years as the current Dan, meaning:

The 2nd Dan can only be tried after 1 year of practising, the 3rd Dan 2 years after archiving the 2nd Dan, thr 4th Dan after 3 years of having the 3rd Dan and so on...

Due to the long practicing-time and the increasing difficulty there are only a few players who have reached a high Dan. Mr Takum (Youtube Video:jugglertakumi) , for example, currently has the 6th Dan.

The table below shows the tricks which are needed to archive all the Kyû and the 1st Dan.

When executing the tricks for graduational tests the following rules apply:

all tricks start with the ball or the sword hanging down

all tricks have to be executed without using the other hand or any auxiliaries, the Kendama must not touch the player's body nor clothes

at combinations of tricks correcting the position of ball or string by using the second hand is not allowed

a player has 10 tries to execute a trick for as many times as is indicated in the table; for Moshikame a player only has 2 tries starting from the 1.Kyû to archive the indicated number of repetitions

a trick counts as passed if it can be maintained, without any movement, in the end-postition for a minimum of 3 seconds

Moshikame is usually executed with a speed of 135 repetitions per minute or more.Starting from the 1st Dan this speed is mandatory.


A bit of history

History of Kendama

The game known as Kendama refers to a Japanese game of skill. It is made up of a wooden ball (Jap.: dama) which is attached to a wooden handle (Jap.: ken) by a string.

It has three cups of different size to catch the ball and a a spike to spike up the ball.

Kendama is much like a combination of similar games from many cultures. Almost everywhere on earth there were at some point in time similar games. For example in France there is bilboquet, in Britain cup-and-ball, in Germany it was called Kugelfang or in many Spanish speaking countries there, for hundreds of years, has been a game called balero.

All these games are based on the same principle: catching one object with another and both object are attached to each other with a string

The origins of Kendama

The direct origins of Kendama can not be traced back to one singel origin. The basic principle is so natural and universal that from the very beginning of mankind there have always been similar games in all hunting cultures as skills for hunting animals were vital the eye-hand -coordination had to be trained from early childhood onwards.

E.g. the Canadian-native people called Inuits' game calledPommawonga (spike the fish),this is one of the oldest known version. They made their game from animal-bones. Presumably the game was first used in hunting rituals, for example to ask an oracle about the outcome of a hunt.

With some of the native peoples who were living in the area which is now part of the USA a Kendama-like game was popular as some sort of gamble as well as training tool for hunting skills.

The more recent origins which are prooven go back to 16th century France, where a game called bilboquet was a popular past-time enjoyment at the court of Henri III. In an aristocrat's diary it says: "in the summer of 1585 the children were enjoying themselves in the streets by playing bilboquet". It is assumed in course of history the variety of Kendama we have today has developed from bilboquet. In Europe "Kendama", or its European forerunners had its heyday in the latter half of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century.
Even though Japan's native people, the Anui, already had invented their own Kendama-type game, the Kendama version we know today probably goes back to an import from Europe. It is assumed that the Kendama came to Japan at about 1777 during the Edo-dynasty (1603-1868),via the Silk Road it got to Nagasaki, the only town open to foreign trade at the time. In his "essay on pleasureable and fun games" Kita Muranobu described the game of Kendama in 1830. Back then the game was called
„Sukuitamaken“ (spoon-kendama) and to win a player had to catch the ball with 5 or 3 tries.

Games like that were wide spread as convivial drinking games in Japan's entertainment districts at the time of the Edo-period. One player after the other tried to catch the ball and who failed had to drink.
At the time of the the Meji-period (1868-1912) Kendama was especially popular with women as a past-time. In 1876 it was mentioned in the „Girls’ Own Book of Amusement“ as „Sakazukioyobidama“ (Sake-cup and balll). As the name suggests it is a translation of the English term "Cup-and-Ball" , because the Dutch translator obviously didn't know the term „Sukuitamaken“ (spoon-kendama).

The book was about the latest trends in Europe. So in Japan the Kendama had its revival thanks to the West. In the same year the Kendama, for the first time, was part of a report on child-education by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

During the Meji-period the game became more and more polpular among younger people and the drinking games for adults became a game of skill for children.

The modern Kendama

Today's Kendama comes from the so called "Nichigetsuboru"(Sun-and-Moon-Ball). It first appears in the Taisho-period (1912-1926) and its name derives from the red ball which remindes one of the sun and the cups looks like a sickle moon. Between 1919 and 1920 Mr Hamaji Egusa from the Hiroshima area refined the Kendama from the Meji-period, improved it and registered his new design as"Nichigetsuboru". It has a handle with a sharpened spike to which a ball was tied as well as a small, medium- an large cup to catch the ball. This was the invention of the modern Kendama. At the time every Kendama was made with a foot lathe and by hand, so only small numbers could be manufactured. After the introduction of the motor lathe the Kendama's production capacities kept on growing rapidly and "Nichigetsuboru"fast became popular all over Japan. At the end of the Taisho-period , in 1926, toy stores in all bigger cities were selling red and white versions of the game. To advertise the game competions for children were held in public place and the winners got over-sized Kendama as trophies. 25 different tricks were judged and who out of a group of 5 or 10 players scored the most points with a predetermined number of tries won. Many of the tricks developed back then are still typical tricks, like "Uguise" (sparrow), "Hikôki" (airplane) or "Tôdai" (lighthouse). Until today these tricks are part of the standart repertoir of every Kendama player.

At that time it was also common for children to sing songs to the rythm of "Moshikame" (a trick where the ball is catched in two cups alternating quickly).

Though the term "Tamaken" (ball-sword) alread was phrased in the Edo-period, today's term "Kendama" (sword-ball) was only commonly used after WWI.

After WWII Kendama first fell into oblivion as there wasn't much time to play, but it remained a part of most Japanese households as a traditional children's toy. In the mid 1960s the game of skill was rediscovered, this time by adults who were forming Kendama-clubs and spread the Kendama another time. They elevated the technical level of the game, developed new tricks and layed the foundation for a new Kendama-boom in the late post-war era. For the first time Kendama was approached in a professional, sport-like manner.

Today's Kendama

As time went on the number of players, the number of differnet tricks and the number of different forms of competition increased.
Therefore in 1975 Issei Fujiwara founded the Japanese Kendama Association, JKA. He standardised size, form and shape of the Kendama and had licenced Kendama produced to these norms. Furthermore he defined a goup of standart tricks and based on them he developed a set of rules for attaining graduations like in Judo or Karate. He also created the regulatory framework for official competitions on a local and national level. Due to his professional background as a children's book author he also was determined to make Kendama popular among younger people. These innovations quickly made Kendama a game people from all age groups enjoyed and kept on playing throughout their lives. Since then graduations and annual competitions are held up to national levels. Under the patronage of the "Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture" a national competition of elementary school children is held every year. The official masterships for all age classes are organised by the JKA once a year and are open to Kendama players from all over the world.

Because there is a large variety of trick-combinations, the freestlyle-scene has been getting larger and larger and is developing new tricks and integrating tricks from other games like juggling. That's why there is a continuously increasing number of Kendama tricks. In Asian countries this relatively young form of Kendama is spreading quickly as a trendsport.In Europe and America the Japanese Version of Kendama only became known recently but since then is getting increasingly popular. An ever growing international community exchanges Kendama tricks over funsports websites and Youtube, where a great number of Kendam Edits can be found. In 2008 the British Kendama Association, BKA, held the first European Kendama opens and in in 2009 they did it again. Looking at the recent developments one can well call it an international boom, there are Kendama websites springing up like mushrooms all over the world: China, Taiwan, Russia, Poland, Czechia, USA, UK, France just to name a few. This shows that in times where children learn to play football on a PlayStation before they actually learn to play football,people see the Kendama as a welcome change.

Here we are

I'm going to setup the first italian blog about kendama.
To be honest it will be not so creative...
At first i'm just going to collect articles,infoes,edits from well known kendama websites in order to add one more access point for italian fans to the quickly growing network about this great game.
You'll find links to groups,associations,online stores and other web resources.
Hopefully in a future we can start to put in some Italian edits but actually i dunno how many of us can be able to challenge people we love to look at trough the videos that have been spread around the web...
kinda lamers over here but we enjoy anyway sharing love for our favourite toys.
all the best