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Lunar/Moon Lander Techniques

Started by AlexSmith, 07 July, 2011, 00:15:41

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So just some food for thought on lunar lander techniques.
I know two different ways to pull the ken up to a lunar. The first is i guess the 'normal' way, which usually involves spinning the ken slightly before pulling it up, so that when you let go of it it spins slightly in a preferred direction. This allows big cup to be in the correct orientation as the ken is pulled up into the air.
The second way I usually call 'hanging'. This involves hooking the string under the bottom of big cup, so that when you let go of the ken it hangs somewhat horizontally, with big cup facing more or less upwards. From there you can pull the ken up so that it rotates about 180 degrees, leaving it in the correct orientation at the top of the arc. I learned this method while looking through a book of kendama tricks a friend brought me back from Japan.

I can do both techniques, but I favor the string hang for two reasons:
1. I find it is waay easier to be consistent once you have the technique down. If I'm playing well I wont miss many pull up to lunars using this technique.
2. With the normal technique if I'm using a good ken that allows the bead to move freely I find the bead is prone to popping out of the hole. This can be annoying if you land the ken on the bead/string, or if youre doing a trick line with lunar flips, etc (as the string is more likely to tangle). This isnt a huge issue, and tilting the ball to the side as you pull it up can help keep the bead in but hey...

So in closing, if you've never tried the hanging technique I suggest you give it a go. It makes stilts and flip up to lunars waay easier, as well as opening up the doors to new variations not possible with the normal pull up. (Such as pullup 'kickflip' up to lunar).

The Void

Yup, the 'string hang' or 'string hook' is the method I use, also gleaned from Japanese sources.
It occurred to me recently though, that if you want to learn a Suicide Moon Landing, then maybe the straight hang version would be a good thing to practice, as you don't get to put a string hook in in the middle of the Suicide!

I also use the string hook for Stilts[nb]I suppose I'm going to have to give up calling this Bamboo Horse, which is the literal translation, rather than the translation of the meaning of 'Takeuma'[/nb], but when I met Yusuke Ito, he told me that they use an Aeroplane grip for this, giving a slight twist to the ken on release. I find this difficult though, as surely this involves catching the ken whilst it is rotating (albeit slightly) on its long axle? Oh well.....
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Suicide Lunars seem to be all about the time you pull with your right hand. Orientation wise you need the string towards you hand the big cup on the left. after a few attempts it will start to look very possible. and then its all about catching the damn thing!!!!


I'd have to agree about suicide lunars (which I'm assuming is what I've been calling spacewalk to lunar), I learned them a month or two ago and I find that getting the Ken in the proper orientation is all about a well timed tug on the string. I've been trying suicide stilts but they have eluded me so far...


Quotewhich I'm assuming is what I've been calling spacewalk to lunar
I thought suicide was, tama grip throwing it so it does a 360, catch the tama again then going to whatever
and spacewalk is when you add stuff in like the under the legs buisness, 180's, 540's and such?


Suicide is a class of trick: anything where you throw the kendama completely in the air (letting go totally) is a suicide trick. There are many variations, so Suicide Aeroplane... Suicide Lighthouse... etc.

"Space Walk" is the literal translation of the Japanese name (Uchuu Yuuei) of the trick we call Suicide Aeroplane. I think some people have used this to describe the class of trick (that we call "suicide tricks"), but I believe the Japanese refer to this class of trick as "Air tricks".

Greg the Strangler

I'd like some general insight on what makes a kendama good for lunar's.

I  just got a brand new red Kendama USA Primer kendama, and have had the worst time trying to land lunars. I can land pull up lunar's consistently on an Ozora, and my Neon SunRise. I can get pull-up stilts on the ken-USA, but lunar's evade me. The paint on the ball is great, I believe that is has to do with the thick rim on my big cup. It remains very hard and also reduces the diameter of the cup itself. I can barley balance it placed in lunar stance. What makes a kendama prime for lunar landing?

—Is it the balls texture?
—Is it the stickiness of the paint?
—Is it the rims of the cups?
—Is it the placement of the sarado on the spike?
—All of the above?
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Hmm I would say it is largely the stickiness of the paint. Beyond that a beat up ball will help a bit, the placement of the sarado maybe a teensy bit (but your sarado would have to be way off normal to make a big difference I think), and in my experience the cup edges don't seem to matter all too much. I've had crisp new ooz kens that lunar amazingly, and beat up ole KC Winner IIs that do the same

The Void

Quote from: Greg the Strangler on 30 July, 2011, 00:05:10
I can barley balance it placed in lunar stance.

I believe this is the key. If the ken won't stay in the balance when simply placed and held there, then its balance is not right. I recently passed on an unused Taiyo to Mr Jumpshoe, and he discovered that he had to have it sit at a much sharper angle for it to stay 'on the Moon'. This was obviously more unstable, and made the trick harder. I have 2 large Mugens and one very early Taiyo, and none of those has the same problem.

[Conjecture begins]So it sound to me like your Premiere[nb]Is that the name of the model itself? I'm assuming so, since it's not quite clear form the KUSA site (to me at least).[/nb] is not balanced right. I have no idea if you've got a dud, or if they're all like that.[Conjecture ends]
If you don't want to BUY MY BOOKS 😉, then why not ask your local library to order them in, and read them for free? That would help too. Cheers!

Greg the Strangler

Quote from: The Void on 30 July, 2011, 12:51:51
I have no idea if you've got a dud, or if they're all like that.

From what we've seen out here, the Kendama USA Premiere kendamas are fairly inconsistent, and I believe I just got a dud.
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@ Void.  I still haven't been able to lunar that Taiyo.  It's just too bottom-heavy.  It is great for lighthouse/suicide lighthouse tricks, though.  I've even been trying the elusive stilts walk.  Not quite nailed it, but I know it's possible with the Taiyo.

It's been a while since I tried a regular suicide lunar, as I've been practising suicide 1-turn lunars.  Jeffrey was showing me how to do them at the BJC and I can land it, say, 1 or 2 times out of 20.  The trick to it is this:

1.  Hold the ken straight down and with the string-hole facing you.
2.  Twist the ken horizontally to a 45 degree angle (so the big cup is closer to your body than the small cup).
3.  Give the ball plenty of swing (almost horizontal), but don't swing the ken out very much.
4.  When you swing out, let go when the entire kendama is horizontal.
5.  Catch the ball when the entire kendama is vertical (ball at the top, ken at the bottom).
6.  Give a slight tug away from the ken to make it turn.
7.  With practise, the ken will be in the lunar position, so you just have to catch it at the apex of its arc.
8.  Bend your knees!

If any of this doesn't make sense, let me know.
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I find my TK16 near damn impossible to lunar, and I've had it for over a year so it's super-worn in. Managed it a few times, but compare it to an Oozora or a Sunrise which I can do straight out the packet, it seems a little harsh! It's still slippier than an eel in a jelly bath (not that I've experienced that)...


My red tk was my first dama, and the first time I did pretty much any basic trick you can think of was with it. Lunar took a loong time, they definitely are slippery damas.

Also, I don't think I've ever tried suicide lunar, only ever sui one turns. Might have to give that a go... I was trying two turns over the weekend but didn't quite catch one clean.


I have 1 flip lighthouse and lunar independently sussed.

But i have no way of getting control when tring 1 flip lunar.
I use the normal/twist technique.
I read in the thread that sing the hanging technique helps.

But if i want to do it using the twist method what do i need to consider?


Tetsuya Takahashi

are hardwood and galaxy oozo damas good for lunar or the new 2013 pro models?