All Kendama Tricks Are Bangers

November 23, 2020

All Kendama Tricks are Bangers Feature Image

bang·er  /ˈbaNGər/
noun - Informal
  • An impressive feat or trick, usually that which the player has not landed previously.

"Bro, I just laced a banger; you've got to see the clip."

A term you'll hear from kendama players, banger is a word used to signify a fantastic trick, whether it's performed by them or another player. The word denotes encouragement and positivity when being used to describe someone else's trick, but shows joy, happiness, and pride in oneself when describing your own trick. We can see from breaking down the word to a base definition that it's used with a broad stroke, applying to many tricks. The question that could be asked: okay, so if some tricks are bangers, does that mean there are tricks that aren't bangers?

Well, no, actually. My feeling is that ALL tricks qualify.


Based on our general definition of the word "banger", it's entirely subjective, meaning it depends on the perspective of players. A professional player may have a much more limited idea of what counts as a banger in their mind, but this is reflecting on what they believe they can or should be able to accomplish. If a pro player lands a trick, but then lands a trick they believe is not as hard, they are not likely to refer to the "easier" trick as a banger. It could lead new players observing this behavior among professional players to assume that there is truth in our earlier prompt, believing there are inferior tricks or that they cannot do "bangers". The important thing to remember, for veteran players and beginners alike: banger is a general term and applies to your own ability.

Kendama is a personal game. Even when we are competing against one another, we are competing against ourselves first and foremost. As players, we live in this constant state of growth, pushing our bodies to perform the way our minds perceive. For a novice player, landing a trick like pull-up spike is a banger because they've never landed it before. For a pro, landing a trick like triple tap juggle spike might be a banger because they've never landed it before. While these tricks are vastly different, both players emote similarly. By avoiding the temptation of comparing ourselves to players we believe are better at kendama than we are, we may better appreciate our own accomplishments. 

self reflection

Too often I hear of new kendama players who lose motivation and look down upon themselves because of this pitfall in thinking. By adopting this mindset, hopefully it will benefit new players who join our lovely community in feeling more joy in the journey that is kendama, as well as help community leaders shepherd and encourage the next generations of players to come.

The path to kendama enlightenment is wide and forks often. The routes you can take towards your personal goals are vast, but all roads lead to the same end; we play because we enjoy it and it's fun. Always remember: every trick is a banger if it is a banger for you. 

Thanks for reading! Continue this mindset conversation by checking out Episode 9 of Coffeehouse Season 1, wherein Chad & Shelton talk at length about the metaphorical slump and how comparing yourself to others can be detrimental.
Cody Booth is a kendama player of 5+ years from Huntington, WV who helps with multiple organizations pushing kendama forward. Cody's Instagram.