Posture plays an important role in kendama. There is the "straight stance" and the "angle stance." In the straight stance, the stick is held in the hand and the ball dangles directly below. In the angle stance, the ball is held in one hand while the stick is held with the other at a 45-degree angle. In both stances, the feet are kept slightly closer together than shoulder width, and a right-handed player puts his or her right foot one step ahead of the left. (The reverse is true for a left-handed player.) It is important to keep your center of gravity forward, relax your shoulders, and stand naturally.
No matter which trick is performed, the player should follow a 1, 2, 3 rhythm. At first, the knees should be bent. Then, while the trick is being performed, they should be straightened. And finally, they should be bent again when the ball is caught. This rhythm is the key to kendama.
(Photo assistance: Maruishi Teruki, a member of the board of directors of the Japan Kendama Association)