(Disclaimer : I am not paid nor am i endorsed by Yumu for this article. My thoughts remain mine own.) Recently, Yumu head honcho Parker Yu has been teasing shots of his new ken design, dubbed the Eclipse. I haven't had the chance to get one in my hands, since the asking price is a little on the high side. Perhaps some other time. But i must digress. A little bit about Yumu. They're a lesser known (by the consensus, i believe) kendama company originating from Taiwan. Back in 2008, they opened up their factory (called Fucheng Kendama Factory), and later got affiliated with Sweets and KenCo in 2013 to produce some of their earliest products. They've used whatever they've picked up and learned in that time to come up with pretty awesome stuff, and which latest product is the Eclipse ken. Parker has been slowly trickling details about this ken, but i'll do my best to compile as much data as i can into this thread. The data we know so far about this new ken, is that there are three distinct characteristics. Firstly, the raised bevel. Parker says this helps the ken "hook" on to the tama hole for birds and provide better grip for stilts, but we won't know till we try. The concept is a different take than what the market seems to gravitating towards - engraved/slotted cup edges (like the ones on the recent Musou Grooves.). Second item on the menu would be the new slip stop. Parker recently posted a clip on FKC of him doing an inverted axe (that's where the slip stop kinda grabs on the edge of the tama hole, hanging on for dear life). Parker says that this design allows you to do tricks that other kendamas can't do, but that's not really the case, since the Legaxis is already able to do this with their inverted slip stop (inverted axe was invented by the late Takumi Okada, by the way). Either way, this opens the Eclipse up to several new possibilities, and things people probably never thought of before. And lastly, the kensaki indent. Given time, and usually after you've jammed your ken for a good while, the sarado starts to get loose. The sarado moves up and down the ken, making it difficult to get a good, consistent ken balance. Parker included this indent (or, a line, as he calls it), to remind players where to place their sarado, in relation to the player's style. If the sarado rests above the indent, you could do most tricks easily, and when the sarado rests on or goes beneath the indent, then it gets easier to do lunars. I think for this to actually happen, the weight variances between the sarado and ken must be kept to a minimum, and i think that it shows that Yumu cares (don't know to what extent) by making sure that the sarado and ken are evenly (or closely) weighted to allow for this to happen. So, what do i think of this? Err i have no idea, really. I kinda dig the raised bevel, but i remain doubtful on the slip stop. It's really a hit or miss kind of situation on this one. And as i said at the beginning, i don't have one to try out and feel for myself, since these things can get highly subjective. What do you folks think? Comment below, i'd love to hear your thoughts on this one.