HIGH QUALITY! Traditional Bamboo Kendama, Full Size - Sensei Kendama
Item Description: SENSEI KENDAMA, Bamboo Kendama, Full Size
Kendama (けん玉 ?, also written as 剣玉 and 拳玉) is a traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ken (sword) and tama (ball) connected by a string. The ken has three cups and a spike which fits into the hole in the ball. Basic kendama tricks consist of catching the ball in the cups and on the spike. However, a huge variety of kendama tricks can be performed by juggling the ball between the cups, balancing it in various positions on the ken, balancing the ken on the ball and juggling the kendama.
Kendama bears similarities to the classic cup-and-ball game, and the Hispanic world toy known as boliche or balero. The principle of these toys are the same: catching one object with another, where both are joined by a string. However the modern kendama style takes influences from a diverse range of skills including yo-yo, diabolo, juggling and dance.
Structure and terminology
- The main body of the kendama is called the ken
- At one end of the ken is a spike, the kensaki
- The cross-piece or sarado has two opposing cups on either side; one is smaller than the other. The larger cup is called the ōzara ( "big cup") and the smaller cup is called the kozara ( "small cup").
- The sarado is usually separate to the ken and tama and held on by the string and friction against the tapering ken.
- At the bottom of the ken there is a smaller cup, called the base cup or chūzara ("center cup").
Around the edge of each cup in a rim wide enough to balance the ball on. Close to the base cup is a small ridge called the slip-stop or slip grip(suberidome). Between the slip-stop and the base cup rim there is often a seal or mark showing the brand or model of the kendama.
The ball, called a tama,, features a hole drilled partway through, enabling it to be caught on the spike. The hole or ana, is chamfered allowing the ball to rest neatly on the cup rims and slip stop. The ball is connected to the ken with a length of string measuring 38 to 40 cm.
To play with a kendama, one holds the toy, and pulls the ball upward so that it may either be caught in one of the cups or land with the hole on the spike. More advanced tricks include sequential balances, juggles, and catches. There are eleven prescribed moves on the kendama trick list for achieving a kyu ranking and several more for a dan ranking. A 10-kyu rating (the lowest beginner grade) is attained by simply catching the ball in the largest cup. A book published by the Japan Kendama Association lists 101 different tricks for the toy and there are supposedly tens of thousands of trick variations. Different stances and grips are required to perform different tricks.
While most people play with kendamas for personal satisfaction, competitions do take place, especially in Japan. Participation in such competitions entails performing lists of tricks in sequence or completing particular tricks repeatedly for as long as possible. Additionally, tricks may be performed head to head with a rival to determine a winner. The first competitor to fail a trick loses.
In the trick moshikame, the ball is juggled between the big cup and the smallest cup at the bottom repeatedly. A Japanese children's song of the same name is often sung to help with timing.
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