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Current-gen and JKA-kendamas for beginners

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by avalanch, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. avalanch

    avalanch n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2021
    Greetings to everyone!

    A couple of weeks ago I got myself a simple and cheap kendama with the glossy tama - kinda Japanese style I guess. It was rough at the beginning but with some yoyo and juggling hobbies in the past I eventually got into it and decided to buy some modern thing...

    And I got a question to those, who remember their early steps (or have some experience with JKA certified kendamas which will be explained later)...
    Do you think, it is fine to start with such kendama as Krom | DJ Pro Mod | IJI?

    I mean modern shapes are getting bigger and playing is even more easy because of the sticky paint. As a beginner I have two opposite tendencies in my mind: 1) wanna learn new stuff much easier (and years earlier) than it would be without western dama and 2) want to slowly get better within classic Japanese system and have my simple joy out of it, not going to compete (in my late 30's)...

    So is iji mod good for the beginner to start with (in terms of skill improving and durability) or maybe krom pop/boost radar is equally fine and it's more important to try as many ones as possible early (including JKA ones)?

    I will appreciate any kind of opinion/advice =)
     
    Aug 24, 2021
  2. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Location:
    Metro Manila, Philippines
    I'm perhaps a bit bias since I started my kendama journey with a JKA TK16. They're well known for their durable but icy paint. FWIW I like to think of the JKA and similar kendama as part the honing process (coarse: current gen, medium: smaller designs with tacky paint, fine: Ozora standard with glossy paint). If you can do a trick on the JKA then pretty much anything you pick up afterward will seem easy. If you want to work on consistency, again same thinking.

    The variety of kendama out there now means you can have various versions for different things; different tools in your toolbox. If the opportunity is available to you then I'd suggest getting both a JKA and a current gen kendama. Try switching back and forth to find the functions and fit of each to your goals; which may change daily.

    Also if you're interested the JKA website has a bunch of information, trick lists, and tests. The focus there is more on consistency but there's no reason not to sample from a broad range to find what fits you best.
     
    Aug 24, 2021
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  3. avalanch

    avalanch n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2021
    Thank you very much for your response. You have confirmed my thoughts, but now I feel more confident about it than before. Some things need time and repetition in order to become clearer, just like in playing kendama!
     
    Aug 24, 2021
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  4. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Location:
    Metro Manila, Philippines
    No worries at all, glad to help. Good luck on your journey and let us know what you get next and what you think about the differences.
     
    Aug 24, 2021
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  5. avalanch

    avalanch n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2021
    I ended up getting Krom Strogo w.i.p. and I like it its long string and tacky paint (fine enough for lighthouses, does not seem like cheating or anything)... but I must admit, my cheap kendama with glossy paint and about 1.5 fingers' string is still playable because it does not make my arm tired after holding tama high when the string is fully extended and after all - doing simple tricks using harder equipment feels better while I'm not yet capable of doing harder tricks on easier equipment.

    So now I'm satisfied about having current gen, but would like to buy some Ozora kendama online in near future, so as to have something JKA certified and Japan-made... but I will have to choose (another dilemma) between uncompromising glossy classic kendama and variants with slightly more modern paint...
     
    Sep 14, 2021
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  6. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Location:
    Metro Manila, Philippines
    Hehe, that's pretty good. I'll have to remember the extended arm for long strings as a negative on my running total for long vs short strings. Maybe you should try standing on a chair with the long strings. :D

    If you're looking for JKA options Ozora have the most variations and are all made in Japan. I'd probably go with a red Ozora classic (glossy), then try one of their matte and/or premium painted "nintei" seal (traditionally sized) kendama. Then if you like what you try out the latest Reshape 3 in Keyaki natty would be pretty nice. I've got the 3 in Ash but I'm really fond of Keyaki having one in the classic shape and the original Reshape style (hence trying out the Ash).

    My second choice and one of my favorite JKA models is the Meijin Takumi which is the offspring of the famous TK16 Master (green JKA seal). It's made of Birch (also a favorite wood of mine) and has pretty icy paint. It's a perfect hone machine. It is however made in China though it's the same maker as the JKA green seal TK16.

    If you ever doubt that 'modern' tricks can be done on JKA's with glossy paint remember that Boarder's Balance (yes that's the correct spelling of the trick) was invented on one.
     
    Sep 14, 2021
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  7. avalanch

    avalanch n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2021
    Thanks a lot for your suggestions, I really appreciate it! I hope I will have chance to put my hands on these...
    For that I have to show to myself that I can do tricks... something way, way, way easer than the Boarder's Balance, tho! =)
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
    Sep 14, 2021
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  8. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Location:
    Metro Manila, Philippines

    No worries. There are literally thousands of tricks to try out that aren't Boarder's Balance level of intensity. You mention juggling and yoyo also being past/current interests. This may sound a bit odd but I'll just throw it out there. If you find that you're getting stuck on a particular trick or not having a good day with kendama in general. . . swap hands. Use your off-hand to try tricks, even if it's not the one you're currently working on. For some reason I've found that it can sometimes reset your brain. It also slows you down and makes you look at things clearly because of that slowing down. Sometimes we get into a speeded up rut where we already thinking of the next attempt instead of thinking of what we're doing at the moment. Of course, as always, YMMV. :D
     
    Sep 14, 2021
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  9. avalanch

    avalanch n00b

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    Aug 24, 2021
    You raised an interesting question! I was wondering whether it makes sense at all - playing kendama with off-hand.. which seems strange and clumsy at first; but I remember how I used my "dominant" right hand (being actually left-handed) for all sporty activities, like darts... and once I decided to throw with my left hand - it took me less than a week to completely switch... But I see that your point is not switching (which would require resetting the string), but rather - resetting the mind... I'll use it sometime!
     
    Sep 15, 2021
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  10. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

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    Just out of curiosity do you know which of your eyes is dominant? That can have a bearing on things that require targeting/accuracy like darts, archery, and kendama.

    This self-test works. . . sort of. I prefer just to point or cover a distant object with my thumb and then close each eye to see if the object is still covered. (still covered means you have your dominant eye open).

     
    Sep 15, 2021
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  11. avalanch

    avalanch n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2021
    It's right one. I actually haven't thought of it for a while since my darts days, so I had to pass the test to remember!
    I must admit it was a lucky coincidence for my throwing left hand, as you need to look intently (with a dominant eye) to the tiny point on the board you aim for, but I liked to "aim" by seeing the back of the dart's flight pointing at the same spot.

    If it were the right throwing arm - I would see my hand and the back of the flight with my dominant right eye instead of the precise point on the board. And with left throwing arm - I was able to see the board and still see a "transparent" dart there, although of course it's not necessary for aiming - it's just a matter of preference.

    However, so far my experiments with kendama did not quite show me how this difference works for the spike and tama's bevel =)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
    Sep 16, 2021
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  12. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Try doing just a pull up spike with one eye closed. You should see a difference. It's also often noticeable with Airplane. I had surgery on my right arm a while back and I'm also right eye dominant so I played crossed for ~6 months; left hand right eye. Airplanes in particular I noticed were missing in the same place slightly to one side of the tama hole. It took me a while for swing-in, airplane and related tricks to feel right and hit more consistently. I also noticed that when I do tricks with 2 kendama I generally do better if I look at my left hand. Anecdotal for sure so as always YMMV. :D
     
    Sep 16, 2021
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  13. avalanch

    avalanch n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2021
    I think I probably wasn't good enough to notice it with tama hole tricks, because there were Lighthouses where I noticed it most. =)

    Now following your advice I got my red classic Ozora - and I like it very much! Tama is significantly lighter (I dunno whether it may be heavier and lighter by chance because of different parts of wood, but I prefer to think that all Ozora classics are like that) which feels great and in spite of JKA tama bevel being even smaller than my first (classic-like glossy) kendama and JKA tama coating was EVEN glossier - I kept on getting furikens more than ever... and because of the new dimension it gave me, I recently learnt Lighthouse on JKA kendama (and on older glossy one - couple of days earlier), which feels great every time manage to get it...

    P.S.: I wonder, if it's possible to rename the topic for something like: "Current-gen and JKA-kendamas for beginner" or whatever =)
     
    Oct 21, 2021
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  14. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Location:
    Metro Manila, Philippines
    Done: This thread was formerly known as - Krom | DJ Pro Mod | IJI

    JKA weights from all makers are generally random. To some extent their theory is that players should be able to pick up just about anything and play well. It also cuts down on costs if you don't have to spend the extra man-hours rifling through parts to match weights and then throwing away the ones that don't work out.

    JKA paints have to withstand 10,000 strikes to pass the reqs for the nintei seals; so slick but durable is kind of a thing. Here's the Ozora testing setup (animated).
    Ozora MK test v2 sm.gif

    "JKA glossy, the ultimate hone."
     
    Oct 21, 2021