Shout out to Alan aka @trashbeatsalan for putting me on to Kendama. I’m by no means “all in”, but have developed a real fascination for it. It’s a pretty basic ball on a string, attached to a stick game, but there’s so much room for creativity. I like to compare it to skateboarding. The equipment is very simple, and the concept is easy to understand, yet people still make the possibilities seem boundless. From either flipping or spinning the board to just landing the ball in a cup or on a the spike.
I think what I really love about it and so many other niche things, is the learning curve from beginner to high level. If you don’t already know, I love to slack line. And I discovered it when I went to California earlier this year. From afar it seems to defy physics and almost looks mystical. And once I tried, I realized it was extremely harder then they made it look. But after trying for a few hours and buying one when I got back to Jacksonville, I became pretty proficient at it myself. I’m far from professional, but certainly competent at that skill.
It started when I was younger, and my dad was teaching me how to play different instruments. He would tell me, “If you have 10 fingers and they have 10 fingers, the only difference between you and them is time.” I understood what he meant at the time, but even more so now. Music was so easy to relate too because it’s something you can emulate exactly. I had favorite athletes, but as much as I wanted to be like them, I could never recreate their greatest moments. But with music, you can play the exact song played by the artist, note for note, in time and all. There is an objective benchmark.
The reason why I love the learning curve is because it teaches you that anything really is possible if you dedicate yourself to it. When you pick up a kendama, you barely know how to hold it, but you instinctively know to put the ball on the cup. At first your pull is everywhere, until you start to find patterns and see what works. Then you start to hone your attempts until you can generate some consistency. From there you try more and more tricks, slowly developing your skill. Like I’ve mentioned in other blogs, after doing this with a lot of different things, you get good at learning, and develop patience and discipline. Those skills can be applied to anything you want in life.
When I first saw people doing kendama, they were doing flips and spikes and swings and it seemed so far off it looked “impossible” even “pointless”. Sometimes just like our dreams and goals, they seem so advanced, it seems almost pointless to even try. But from trying and learning how to get good at small things like “Kendama and Slack line”, I feel like it mentally helps me take on big things like pursuing comedy and becoming a better person.
Here’s The Thing. Some people might see it as a pointless toy I’ve unnecessarily been keeping with me, but to me it’s a reminder that there’s always room to grow and learn, and most importantly to have FUN.