The kendama けん玉 -Meaning Sword and ball in Japanese is a Classsic Japanese toy.
It consists of three parts - the first being a ball (tama), secondly a mid section which has 2 cups -small and larger size (sarado) and the third part the long Ken. They are put together with a string to enable movement of the ball on the mid section of the sarado. The Kendama is a variant of the classic cup and ball game thus to enable the catching of the ball into the cups
Today the Kendama is popular in many parts of the world. Tournaments are held particularly in Japan where national tournaments are held.
Around the year 2005 Kendama started to get recognized outside Japan with KendamaUSA and the British Kendama Association (were founded). It was promoted in North America and Europe and was particularly welcomed into the Juggling community. The Kendama can also be played with in a more juggling style or a more hand held style
The Kendama game itself a person holds the toy and pulls the ball upwards so that it can be caught in one of the cups or it can also be spiked into the hole on the ball. There are also more advanced tricks which include balance and juggling combinations. There are also gradings which have levels of tricks to be performed in order to achieve the particular level. There are a few different hand positions which can make for new exciting trick possibilities.
Most people enjoy to play the Kendama for personal satisfaction and physical condition training. Whilst others will endevour to achieve a competition level status. The Japanese Kendama association has held competitions since 1979. The British Kendama Association was the first formal Kendama competition to be held outside of Japan. In 2008 the BKA held the show in Doncaster, UK and for every year since. The contests have a variety of endless trick combinations which look brilliant when mastered for the spectator. It strengthens hand and eye coordination and also balance and reflex training.
Modern day legends include - Alex Ruisch (Sweets Kendamas) aka supernog73 on Instagram, Chaz Edwards and Oase (romania)
Alongside these players include Pro team members suchas: Christian Fraser, William Penniman, Matt Sweets Jorgenson, Max Norcross and Cooper Eddy.
European Pros include: Bonz Atron, Thorklid May, Philip Eldridge, Matthrew Ballardand Jake Fischer.