The basic idea of flying fighter kites is pretty much the same the world
over. The last kite in the air wins, and this is usually achieved by
cutting the flying lines of the other kites. By friction against other
flying lines, not with scissors!
However, a pair of scissors did make an appearance during one highly
irregular Rokkaku Battle. That was during a South Australian kite
festival some years ago, here in Adelaide! So a little birdie told me.
Speaking of the Rokkaku, we can help you make one of these, in various styles and sizes...
The Big MBK Book Bundle is a collection of printable e-books. Each one is a PDF file download.
Most other fighter designs are actually unstable in the air while there is low tension in the flying line.
As mentioned earlier, flying fighters is not necessarily 'kids
stuff'. However, huge numbers of kids in the countries with a
kite-fighting culture do participate. The skills, in both construction
and flying, have been passed down for generations.
In addition to
Japan's Rokkaku, a number of other countries have one or more
distinctive local fighter kite designs. Here are the main examples,
followed by the name of the traditional kite:
- India and Pakistan, with the Patang design. See the photo over there. Other Indian Fighter designs exist, which are not so often flown by children.
- Afghanistan, with the Gudiparan design - Afghan Fighter to
most of us. These are made in a range of sizes, all much bigger than the
Indian kites. I can't imagine the very biggest Afghan fighters being flown by children!
- Korea, with the Pangp'aeyon design - or Shield Kite. These have a distinctive large hole in the middle. There's lots of good info in this Korean kite blog, which refers to this type of kite as 'Bangpae'.
- Brazil, with the Piao design. Known as Top Kites since the
shape and traditional patterns make them look like spinning tops. Tails
are used on these kites.
- Cuba, where kites are known as Papalotes.. Children fly fighters that are rather small, 6-sided designs that also use a tail for stability. No fighting kite is too stable though! That would make it an easy target.
Here is a picture of all 5 types, in order corresponding to the points above:
Fighter kite designs from around the world
Now, getting back to those child fliers, in all cultures... The kids
make fairly crude designs from whatever materials are available. Crude
in comparison to what can be bought from the local kite makers...
Kite masters or designers and their assistants turn out extremely
neat and well-balanced fighter kites for sale. Often these kites are
exquisitely attractive to look at too! The smallest and cheapest of
these are often flown by kids. Bamboo still dominates as a great
traditional spar material, but the traditional sail materials of tissue
and silk are starting to give way to more modern materials such as
nylon, mylar and plastic.
At a recent kite festival, we took a video of a small fighter being expertly handled over the sand...
The Big MBK Book Bundle is a collection of printable e-books. There's a number of different Rokkaku designs in there.