Kendama is a Japanese game that has been sweeping through the UK juggling scene and beyond in recent years. For those that don’t know, a kendama consists of a wooden T-shaped body with two cups, one bigger than the other and a spike in the centre. Attached to this by a length of string is a ball with a hole on it. The idea is to catch the ball, or tama, in a variety of ways in the cups, on the spike or balanced in other ways, or even catching the body, or ken, on the ball.
The game of kendama is similar to the cup and ball game, otherwise known as balero in Latin America. Serious players rise through the ranks of kendama in a similar way to martial artists rise through the grades of belt. Most people play purely for fun but competitions do take place, increasingly in the UK as well with the British and Scottish Kendama Open contests taking place at the British Juggling Convention in 2012.
We stock a range of kendama, from cheaper, unofficial models to the Japanese Kendama Association (JKA) approved Master TK-16 which can be used in competitions.
Playing this fun game can help to improve your fitness, concentration and persistence. In fact, in Japan a high level in kendama can even be an advantage when applying for jobs.
For more information on this addictive activity, check out the British Kendama Association’s website.