Beginner Kendama Tricks

These are the most basic tricks that you can do with a kendama. There are an unlimited number of trick possibilities with kendama but you have to learn the basics. This trick guide includes tutorials, tips, and a trick description for every different trick. They are listed in order of which tricks you should learn first. Check out the INTERMEDIATE TRICKS once you can do all of these!


Big Cup: Big cup is the first trick you will learn with a kendama. It involves pulling up the ball and catching it in the big cup.


1. Pull the ball straight up instead of swinging it.

2. Bend your knees and hold the Ken loosely. ( Pretend that you are catching an egg in a spoon. )


Small Cup: Small cup involves catching the ball on the opposite side of the sarado than the big cup. 


1. Use a similar technique as when you do big cup.

2. Turn the ken counterclockwise to make it easier.


Bottom Cup: Bottom cup is the third trick you should learn. You can do this trick in either sara grip or ken grip. 


1. It is easier to learn this trick in sara grip. ( learn it in ken grip after some practice )

2. Use a similar technique as when you do big cup and little cup.


Spike: Spike is a step up in difficulty compared to the cup tricks. It involves landing the hole of the ball on the spike of the ken.


1. Spin the ball to keep the hole pointing down. ( Learn to do it without spinning after some practice )

2. Pull the ball as straight up as possible.

3. Hold the ken straight up and down.


Moshikame: Moshikame involves switching between big cup and bottom cup repeatedly while in sara grip. Moshikame is an extremely popular trick in Japan and is a great way to practice focus and consistency.


1. Bend your knees when landing each cup.

2. Speed up the pace of going between cups after some practice.

3. Try to beat your record of most moshikame. 


Orbit: Orbit is a beginner trick that involves doing big cup, orbiting the Ken around the ball then landing it back on big cup. 


1. Try orbiting clockwise and counter-clockwise. See what works better for you.

2. Bend your knees when landing the second big cup.

3. Make sure that the Ken circles around the tama. 

Slip on stick: Slip on stick is a trick that looks cool and it is fun to do. Slip on stick involves landing a frying pan than sliding it onto the spike.


1. Learn frying pan and spike.

2. Land the frying pan with the tama hole pointed directly down.

Ladybug: Ladybug is a unique trick that is fun to mess around with.


1. Use a kendama with a flat spike and a sticky tama.

2. Be gently when landing the ladybug.


Earthturn: Eart turn requires a lot of practice and focus to learn. It involves doing a spike than flipping the ball and landing it back on the spike.


1. Get consistent at spike before you learn earthturn.

2. Use a Kendama with a Stripe to make the trick easier. Watch for the hole.

3. Bend your knees!



Cup to Spike: Cups to spike require you to be able to control where the hole of the ball goes which is a new skill to learn. Once you are good at big cup to spike the other ones be much easier.


1. Watch for the hole and practice controlling how to get it to go where you want.

2. Use a Kendama with a Stripe to make finding the hole easier.

3. Get good at all of the cups and spike before you learn this trick.


Gunslinger: Gunslinger is my favorite Kendama trick. It is fun because once you learn how to do it you can learn doubles, triples, and so on. The possibilities are endless!


1. Try holding it in different grips to find what works best for you.

2. Practice doing gunslinger in your hand ( while holding the tama ) first. This helps you understand the motion before you try the real trick.

3. Keep trying until you get it and never give up!


Airplane: Airplane is basically doing a spike while holding the ball.


1. Watch the spike while trying to spike it.

2. Swing the ken outward.


Kenflip: Kenflip involves flicking the ken so that it does a flip than catching it and landing a big cup.


1. Hold the ken with your thumb on the handlestall to make it easier to flip.

2. Practice doing the kenflip while holding the tame to learn the motion.

3. Bend your knees.


Juggle: Juggles are a very common trick amongst serious kendamas players. You will need to learn this trick if you want to have a chance in beating other players in competitions and games of ken.


1. Keep the ken on the right of the tame to avoid string tangles.

2. Learn to juggle with 2 tamas ( stringless ) first.

3. Watch this tutorial!


Tornado: Tornado is a string trick that looks cool and is great for performances and showing people kendama. Even though tornado looks very difficult it is actually pretty easy to learn.


1. Practice with a t-shirt or rag first to learn the motion.

2. Use a kendama with a ken and tame that are similar weight to make it easier.

3. Learn Handroll and spacewalk after this to start doing some cool spacewalk  combinations.


Swing Spike: Swing Spike is a trick that you need to learn before you move onto harder spike tricks. Almost every advanced player likes swing spike better than regular spike.


1. This trick is easier with a striped kendama. Get one HERE

2. Swing the ball up instead of pulling it up.


Turntable: Turntable is a fun trick that involves spinning the ken on your finger while the tame is on big cup. Turntable is a very impressive trick with endless possibilities.


1. Spin the ken on the tip of your finger. ( have your finger in the small cup )

2. bend your knees. 


Downspike: Downspike is a trick that involves spiking the tama downwards while in Sara grip. Before learning this trick make sure that you can do a regular spike consistently.


1. Hold the Kendama in Sara grip.

2. Use your wrist to make the ball spin inwards.

3. Watch for the hole.

4. This trick is easiest when using a Striped Kendama.


Stuntplane: Stuntplane is basically doing a downspike with the tama. It is a very difficult trick that takes a lot of practice to learn.


1. Make sure the tama hole is pointed straight down.

2. Use your wrist to tilt the Ken back once it is in the hole.

3. Look at the spike while doing the trick.

Check out the INTERMEDIATE TRICKS PAGE and ADVANCED TRICKS PAGE once you learn all of these tricks!


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