“Natty” refers to the way that a kendama is unpainted, or “natural”. A Natty kendama has no paint at all on the ball, so all of the wood is exposed. Playing a natty kendama can be more difficult and is a totally different experience than playing a painted kendama. Since there is no paint, there is no added stickiness or grip that assists in the playability, which makes for a slick, what some would call “icy”, feel when doing balance style tricks. Playing a fresh Natty kendama adds an extra challenge to the game.
This added challenge that is a feature of a Natty kendama is something that some kendama players love and is very reminiscent of the kendamas that we used to play, years before kendamas had any kind of grippy or sticky paint added to them. As you play it and break it in, the denting from play mixed with your natural hand oils will help the grain pop and add more grip. The BOOST shape still slaps out of the box, but a Natty kendama takes a bit of work to unlock its full potential!
Natty November is a personal/community challenge wherein Kendama players participate by pushing themselves to meet the goals of the challenge. There are no rules or penalties for not participating or quitting early, there are no trick requirements, and there’s no limit to how creative you can be. Natty November, much like JKA Month Challenge or the 28 Tricks Later Challenge, exists for players to have a fun goal to set for themselves and to provide a rigid structure for growth that forces participants to think creatively and push themselves farther than they thought possible.
The month is begun with a new, natural, unpainted Kendama and players perform a new trick on this Kendama every day of the month, usually posting a video each day on Instagram, compiled into an edit at the end of the month, or sometimes even both! Each day, you can do any trick at all, as long as it's new to you!
While there are no rules against it, it’s generally frowned upon to stack clips ahead of time for the challenge, as it goes against the goals of the challenge itself; we strongly encourage players to stick to the challenge’s guidelines of one trick/video per day. It’s perfectly acceptable to post multiple tricks in a day if you are doing a make-up trick for a day(s) you may have missed, however, in order to catch up.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that while this is a community challenge, it is more so a personal challenge; it provides you with an interesting experience, reminiscent of a portion of Kendama history that has long since past, and hopefully provides you with a well broken-in, extremely honed natty Kendama by the end of November.
If you’re looking for something that will reward you greatly for the time and effort put into it, the challenge of Natty November might just be for you!