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Beginning Kendama

Welcome! If you're new to kendama (or even if you're not), this section will take you through the basic grips and stance most commonly used when playing kendama.

After you have set-up your kendama, here's how to start using it:


Sara Grip or 'Pen Grip' - Grip the body of the kendama with your thumb and index finger the same way you would hold a pen. Your second and third fingers rest on the side cup opposite that which you're going to catch with. The little finger remains free.

Ken Grip or 'Common Grip' - Grip the body of the kendama with your thumb below the big cup on one side of the ken, and your fingertips on the other. (Note: Left-handed players may need to re-string their kendamas so that the string comes out of the other side of the cross-piece.)

Tama Grip or 'Ball Grip' - Hold the ball with your thumb, index and middle fingertips. The hole should be pointing upwards.

Rousoku Grip or 'Candle Grip' - Hold the kendama by the spike using the thumb, index and second fingers.


When playing kendama you should stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet about shoulder width apart. Your dominant foot should be placed a little forward of the other. It's important when playing kendama to use your entire body to make the pull up to catch, and because of this a proper stance can really improve your kendama play.

Okay, now you're ready for some tricks.
Sara GripPenSaraGrip

Ken Grip

Tama Grip

Rousoku Grip

pic stolen from the sensei
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