When starting out on your kendama journey it can be a little overwhelming deciding which tricks to learn first. After teaching people how to play dama for over 10 years we feel confident that we have a solid path for you to follow. Technically there is no right or wrong way to play/learn kendama. You can learn the tricks in any order you wish. If you practice these basics first we promise you will increase your kendama skills faster and easier than if you didn't. 

1.) Spike

There is no better feeling in the world than getting your first spike. We have an ongoing Instagram Hashtag campaign named #firstspikechallenge where people focus on teaching new players to get their first spike! People are more likely to keep playing if they have success their first time. Learn to teach the spike to get your friends and family interested!


2.) Big Cup

Next to Spike this is the most crucial thing to learn right away. It is the base of many tricks you are about to learn. So hone in on this trick before you move on. 


3.) Small Cup

You have to focus on your arm positioning to make this cup a little easier to get. Hoping back and forth from small to big cup is really good practice for this trick. 


4.) Bottom Cup 

Arguably the hardest cup to learn. Your arm has to make a movement that it is not used to making. This can make learning this cup much harder than the others. Just remember to shoot your Spidey Web and you won't miss it. 


5.) Penguin Catch

I added the penguin catch to the list because you still have to challenge yourself even when you are just beginning. A lot of players actually do this first as base cup because it feels more natural to them. When starting out this catch can help you spice up any combo you are working on. 

6.) Airplane

Its time to learn your first Tama (ball) trick. One of my favorite parts about kendama is the ability to switch back between the ken and the tama. Landing your first airplane is going to take a few tries but feels amazing when you finally get it. This is one trick that should be practiced until you can get it 7 out of 10 times. Being efficient at this trick will help you a lot as you progress in kendama. 


7.) Clack Back 

Another new grip. This is a classic Japanese grip called Sara Grip. This grip is used the least in kendama but can be cool to land certain types of tricks. Clack back is a trick that is all about fun. Clack it is hard or soft as you want. Just try to have fun and be a little creative with it. 

8.) Earth Turn

Once you get the spike mastered Earth Turn is your new best friend. Every time you get the spike or complete a combo try and add an earth turn. It is a trick that only gets easier the more you practice and figure out the timing. 


9.) Candlestick

One of the goofiest grips in all of kendama. Even though it looks a little weird it is a good beginner trick to hone in on. Many mini games and contests include this trick in the beginner level. 


10.) Big Cup Spike 

In order to move on from beginner moves and combos you will have to get good at spiking the kendama from all of the cups. Big Cup to spike is one that is crucial to moving forward.