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Kamui Chalk - MY Review
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Kamui Chalk - MY Review - 09-14-2011, 09:59 PM

So, finally I got my own cube. In fact on the same day I got TWO of them from two different places. Thanks guys!

I sort of feel like I should do a IPAD unboxing photo report on this stuff. But I won't because you all know what it looks like by now.

Getting into the vacuum sealed packaging required some effort. It LOOKS like there is a ziplock seal and if you tear along the dotted line that you will be able to open the zipped pouch. BUT I tore the package along the line and tried to open it - no chance, so I cut a little more with scissors above what looks like the ziplock. No chance. So I cut BELOW the ziploc and finally was able to get it open. So if the bag is supposed to be resealable I have to say that this one is not and someone should look into packaging that's a little easier to open.

That said getting a SINGLE piece of chalk in a vaccuum sealed package was a strange experience for someone used to taking chalk for granted.

So I just had to run to the pool room to try it out. "It's research honey." "When will you get home she asked", "when I miscue" was my reply and I don't think she was amused. (she knows the whole Kamui chalk saga)

At the pool room I wiped all the old chalk off my tip. My tip is very bald, not scuffed at all. It's a Black Diamond layered tip that was given to me a year ago.

I applied an even coat of Kamui chalk and decided not to chalk again until I miscued. I started out by shooting all sorts of spin shots while working through a couple racks. I was about four racks in before I miscued. I looked at the tip and decided to ignore and and kept shooting. About two racks later I miscued on a draw shot and then tried a few more and also miscued. So I chalked again with a lighter layer. Shot a few more racks and then the house pro asked me if I wanted to play a set.

I moved to his table and didn't chalk again. There were five cubes of Brunswick chalk on the table. I played the entire set without chalking and lost 7:5. Several times I found myself reaching for one of the chalks on the table and had to stop myself. All the shooting felt completely normal and comfortable. I did not miscue once during the set.

I did feel better by not having to reach for the chalk on every shot. This chalk did not leave any residue on the cloth, none on the cue ball and none on my hands. When I got home my hands were actually clean, or at least not visibly stained with chalk.

So to the question of whether it eliminates the need to chalk frequently.....YES IT DOES. With this stuff I feel that once per game would be more than enough. I played 14 games and never miscued once.

Does it increase the friction? I don't know yet. I really went to the edge of the ball and tried to see how far out I can get but I didn't spend any time marking the balls to see exactly WHERE I hit the cue ball. I will test that later on my table with my CueSight training ball that has precise markings for this purpose. I FEEL that it does allow for more spin but that could just be a placebo effect based on the built up expectation.

Is it worth it?

I think so and I don't say this lightly.

Disclaimer.

I don't have ANYTHING whatsoever to do with Kamui. I don't sell their stuff, Sterling doesn't sell their stuff. I think that some of their stuff like the $1800 cue case they sell is not worth the money being asked. I have told the owner of Kamui the same thing. However I LIKE the owner of Kamui a lot because he is passionate about his product AND he knows his product intimately. I know from speaking to him three years ago that he was then embarking on this quest to improve chalk and I respect anyone who tries to change things for the better.

So, why do I feel that this chalk is worth 100x the price of the market leader? Masters is about .25cts a cube.

1. It sticks to the tip even when the tip is not scuffed.
2. It goes on smoothly and doesn't take much to apply an even coat.
3. It lasts for many many shots before more needs to be applied.
4. It is not messy.
5. It is consistent and dependable.
6. It is much grippier. (based on my FEELING)
7. Using it allows me to establish a better rhythm.
8. Using it gives me confidence.

So for me it's worth it to own this and use it when I gamble and play tournaments. I really do feel that it is a big improvement over regular chalk. Would I like to see it be cheaper? Yes absolutely. While $25 isn't the world and chalk IS important I think that it's truly a premium price and the "elitism" that accompanies the advertising for it is a HUGE turnoff for me. I feel that Kamui should publish some actual data to back up the performance claims instead of making it a class thing, as in 'you must be a good player to appreciate our chalk'.

I think that this price leaves the door wide open for the competition to come in with cheaper versions and I hope that some folks start to research it because the stuff really does work and should be available to more people. The price is a deterrent so Kamui should be trying to get the price down so that their reach can be much greater.

Bottom line: The chalk works great.


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Last edited by JB Cases; 09-15-2011 at 01:32 AM.
  
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09-14-2011, 10:11 PM

I don't care for the chalk, but good review!


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09-14-2011, 10:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Cases View Post
3. It lasts for many many shots before more needs to be applied.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Cases View Post
6. It is much grippier. (based on my FEELING)
Let me jump to the front of the hater line and say: If you miscue it's your fault not your chalk's! Magic chalk won't make you a pro!

...even though you never claimed otherwise in your post, those are the tired counter-arguments by people who are mortally offended by $25 chalk and can't respond to what people actually say.

Now, seriously, as a Kamui chalk user these past 1-2 months or so, I agree with all points. I'm not 100% convinced it is worth the hefty price tag but I do like it quite a bit and the cube is still, after lots and lots of play, nearly full, so I won't have to make a decision whether to buy another piece for a while yet.
  
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09-14-2011, 10:53 PM

Fantastic post John.
I got a cube. I now don't use anything else.
The other week, I forgot the cube.Left it on the book shelf.
Played to the end of the torny, got 4th out of 34. Best I have done in a while.
Despite not chalking since the last outing, I was really impressed.
I find for the same tip offset, the Kamui chalk definitely imparts more spin to the cueball.With the tip system, I am able to back to back testing.
I have played more than 100 games since I got the chalk. I have hardly used it from the edge of 1 corner.
Even though it is $30.US or so including postage,the money in my view is well spent.
I am happy to pay $0.25 each time I go out, my hands stay clean. It may not even be that much for the amount I am using.
Normal cue shafts stay clean as well.
So much so, my wife thought I did not play on a few nights.
Neil


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09-14-2011, 11:35 PM

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I don't care for the chalk ...
For what reason(s)?
  
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09-15-2011, 02:26 AM

Nice review, just a few counterpoints/opinions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Cases View Post
So, why do I feel that this chalk is worth 100x the price of the market leader? Masters is about .25cts a cube.

1. It sticks to the tip even when the tip is not scuffed. I think scuffing is more of an "in the player's head" problem. I never scuff with normal chalk, and never have problems.
2. It goes on smoothly and doesn't take much to apply an even coat.I see this as true with masters as well
3. It lasts for many many shots before more needs to be applied. I still think you'd need to apply it before critically off-center shots, especially if you are interested in playing top level pool, and mind you there are MANY shots with normal chalk you don't need to rechalk if you were inclined (eg close to center hits), but we do chalk. I just think if there is an advantage here, it is less than people think. It's personal I guess. All I know is i'm chalking every shot if i'm playing important pool, i dont care what chalk im using, if for nothing else than to satisfy my subconcious/mind
4. It is not messy.
5. It is consistent and dependable. I would argue masters is very consistent and dependable as well
6. It is much grippier. (based on my FEELING)
7. Using it allows me to establish a better rhythm. Again, if you were thinking right, you could probably do this no chalking routine to at least a certain extent with normal chalk (center shots, rolling balls)
8. Using it gives me confidence.
The points I didn't address I think are stronger reasons to buy it, if inclined. This is a very successful business model nowadays, you see it everywhere -- people providing a fraction better product for triple, quadruple (or more) the cost. People want that edge. Thanks for the post.

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09-15-2011, 03:00 AM

Well, I just gave it a work out against Masters chalk. There IS something to it regarding getting more spin. I was able to play certain shots with more spin using the Kamui chalk. In fact it reminded me of when I had my Predator P2. With that cue I could make the cue ball do crazy things but I just hated the way the shaft felt and counldn't get it out of my head. And in case you think it's all in my head I had other people out at my shop and let them try the P2 as well and they all concurred that they could get more spin with it.

So I am pretty impressed with this stuff.
  
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09-15-2011, 03:10 AM

I too have recently picked up some of the Kamui chalk. Ive been telling people about it, letting them play a few games to feel the difference.

The biggest thing I could say about the chalk is a question.

Would you pay $25 to not miscue? If you say yes, give the chalk a try. If you say no, then you arent all that serious about not miscueing.

The only real problem Ive had with the chalk is it leaves a bit of a mess when you're constantly breaking from the same spot and your hands end up with a white-ish greasy type coating after a couple hours of play. (it comes off easy, just something I noticed)
  
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09-15-2011, 03:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chinchilla View Post
Nice review, just a few counterpoints/opinions....



The points I didn't address I think are stronger reasons to buy it, if inclined. This is a very successful business model nowadays, you see it everywhere -- people providing a fraction better product for triple, quadruple (or more) the cost. People want that edge. Thanks for the post.
For me it's not about having a psychological edge because that works against me about as much as it works for me. Going in thinking I have the nuts because I have super chalk isn't my thing. Not having to worry about the chalk is the edge.

your points:

1. It sticks to the tip even when the tip is not scuffed. I think scuffing is more of an "in the player's head" problem. I never scuff with normal chalk, and never have problems.

This is partly because regular chalk is very abrasive so the act of applying it also scuffs your tip slightly. Scuffing is certainly an art into itself and is required when it's really needed and when that it depends on the player and the actual surface of the tip. I stopped scuffing years ago when someone turned me on to the abrasiveness of it. Now I only do it maybe once or twice a year.


2. It goes on smoothly and doesn't take much to apply an even coat.I see this as true with masters as well

Yes but the thing is how much comes off when you tap the table? With Masters and other "normal" chalk enough comes off that I have to wipe it off the table. With this nothing leaves the tip that I can see.


3. It lasts for many many shots before more needs to be applied. I still think you'd need to apply it before critically off-center shots, especially if you are interested in playing top level pool, and mind you there are MANY shots with normal chalk you don't need to rechalk if you were inclined (eg close to center hits), but we do chalk. I just think if there is an advantage here, it is less than people think. It's personal I guess. All I know is i'm chalking every shot if i'm playing important pool, i dont care what chalk im using, if for nothing else than to satisfy my subconcious/mind

Well maybe so but that's not my experience so far. The pros don't chalk every shot now and they play important pool all the time. I felt liberated not having to grab the chalk every shot or every couple shots.


4. It is not messy.
5. It is consistent and dependable. I would argue masters is very consistent and dependable as well

And I would argue that it isn't. Especially if you live somewhere where you aren't sure that real Masters has been provided.

6. It is much grippier. (based on my FEELING)

7. Using it allows me to establish a better rhythm. Again, if you were thinking right, you could probably do this no chalking routine to at least a certain extent with normal chalk (center shots, rolling balls)

Thinking right? What makes you think I haven't done this already? I have been playing for 30 years. In that time I have played around with every form of chalking habits you can think of. I used to practice with no chalk just to find out what I could and could not do and what the limits are. It's not about not having to chalk every shot, I don't do that now. It's about not having to worry about WHEN to chalk. Being able to chalk once and then play a whole rack with whatever spin is needed is the type of rhythm I like. I don't like to have to hunt for chalk, don't like it to be in my way, don't like to have to clean excess off my tip, don't like to have to brush chalk dust off the rail. All those things are eliminated except for having to move other people's chalk out of my way.


8. Using it gives me confidence.
  
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09-15-2011, 03:36 AM

Let me say something about miscuing. There is a limit to how far out you can go without miscuing. I believe that most miscues happen because people are outside this limit. That place is between 2 and 2.5 tips from center. I define a "tip" of spin as moving the tip a half tip off center when the tip is dead center cue ball to begin with. At 2.5 tips you cannot avoid a miscue no matter what.

The other way to miscue is to be within the miscue limit and not have enough friction with an off center hit. But this is uncommon. I have tried it with very little chalk and no chalk. With no chalk you cannot go more than 1.5 tips without miscuing. With just a very light dusting you can go to the limit.

Without chalk you will not miscue if you stay within one tip of center ball. So the danger zone is more than 1 tip of spin up to 2.5 tips. That is where it is critical to ALWAYS have a layer of chalk between the leather and the cue ball.

And this is the entire premise of the Kamui chalk. That it stays on longer in sufficient quantity to prevent the miscues that happen between 1-2.5 tips of spin. I really need to get paid for this.

Masters is fine as long as it is constantly applied. Although I would certainly argue that Kamui provides more friction after the last round a little while ago. Those who study materials know that friction can be adjusted to infinity on the microscale. But to prevent miscues I think regular chalk is fine for the most part if enough is applied.

EXCEPT that I would BET LARGE that no one wants to gamble with me if I get to provide the chalk. I am positive that anyone on this forum INCLUDING all the pros would want to pull up if I could make them use the crappy cheap K-mart "chalk". So there is a difference between those and chalk we depend on like Masters. And I feel that there is a major difference between Kamui and Masters.

It's a game changer but not at $25 a cube.
  
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09-15-2011, 03:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Cases View Post
For me it's not about having a psychological edge because that works against me about as much as it works for me. Going in thinking I have the nuts because I have super chalk isn't my thing. Not having to worry about the chalk is the edge.

your points:

1. It sticks to the tip even when the tip is not scuffed. I think scuffing is more of an "in the player's head" problem. I never scuff with normal chalk, and never have problems.

This is partly because regular chalk is very abrasive so the act of applying it also scuffs your tip slightly. Scuffing is certainly an art into itself and is required when it's really needed and when that it depends on the player and the actual surface of the tip. I stopped scuffing years ago when someone turned me on to the abrasiveness of it. Now I only do it maybe once or twice a year.


2. It goes on smoothly and doesn't take much to apply an even coat.I see this as true with masters as well

Yes but the thing is how much comes off when you tap the table? With Masters and other "normal" chalk enough comes off that I have to wipe it off the table. With this nothing leaves the tip that I can see.


3. It lasts for many many shots before more needs to be applied. I still think you'd need to apply it before critically off-center shots, especially if you are interested in playing top level pool, and mind you there are MANY shots with normal chalk you don't need to rechalk if you were inclined (eg close to center hits), but we do chalk. I just think if there is an advantage here, it is less than people think. It's personal I guess. All I know is i'm chalking every shot if i'm playing important pool, i dont care what chalk im using, if for nothing else than to satisfy my subconcious/mind

Well maybe so but that's not my experience so far. The pros don't chalk every shot now and they play important pool all the time. I felt liberated not having to grab the chalk every shot or every couple shots.


4. It is not messy.
5. It is consistent and dependable. I would argue masters is very consistent and dependable as well

And I would argue that it isn't. Especially if you live somewhere where you aren't sure that real Masters has been provided.

6. It is much grippier. (based on my FEELING)

7. Using it allows me to establish a better rhythm. Again, if you were thinking right, you could probably do this no chalking routine to at least a certain extent with normal chalk (center shots, rolling balls)

Thinking right? What makes you think I haven't done this already? I have been playing for 30 years. In that time I have played around with every form of chalking habits you can think of. I used to practice with no chalk just to find out what I could and could not do and what the limits are. It's not about not having to chalk every shot, I don't do that now. It's about not having to worry about WHEN to chalk. Being able to chalk once and then play a whole rack with whatever spin is needed is the type of rhythm I like. I don't like to have to hunt for chalk, don't like it to be in my way, don't like to have to clean excess off my tip, don't like to have to brush chalk dust off the rail. All those things are eliminated except for having to move other people's chalk out of my way.


8. Using it gives me confidence.

On that point 7 I was saying "you" as in a pool player, not you JB. Anyway, my point was just that I think players have always had the ability to not chalk once in a while, yet I tend to notice they do chalk even when they don't need to. AND, I think it is probably prudent to do so if you are talking percentages.

I like the chalk too, I just don't think it is worth, to me, infinitely more (masters is free for me), or would it be undefined more?? Haha, not remembering the math.

Again, it's a to each their own thing. I personally am going to chalk every shot, I think that is prudent. So I guess a guy like me would have to weight the other "advantages," like hands not getting dirty etc.

The last thing i'll note is I feel this chalk has the potential to actually make someones game WORSE is 2 ways.
1) Normally when an athlete is taken away from any type of routine he has developed it is a detriment. Also could miscue when you normally would not have because developed a habit of not chalking and forgot when to.
2) Forced to use the "normal" chalk because you ran out of the kamui or just coincidentally showed up somewhere and forgot it etc. If the advantages of kamui chalk do in fact exist then it could be a detriment here, and if not it could screw you up in the head.


So, here's my concise review:

Not recommended. WAY overpriced. Yet does the job

Last edited by The Chinchilla; 09-15-2011 at 04:09 AM.
  
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09-15-2011, 04:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chinchilla View Post
On that point 7 I was saying "you" as in a pool player, not you JB. Anyway, my point was just that I think players have always had the ability to not chalk once in a while, yet I tend to notice they do chalk even when they don't need to. AND, I think it is probably prudent to do so if you are talking percentages.

I like the chalk too, I just don't think it is worth, to me, infinitely more (masters is free for me), or would it be undefined more?? Haha, not remembering the math.

Again, it's a to each their own thing. I personally am going to chalk every shot, I think that is prudent. So I guess a guy like me would have to weight the other "advantages," like hands not getting dirty etc.

The last thing i'll note is I feel this chalk has the potential to actually make someones game WORSE is 2 ways.
1) Normally when an athlete is taken away from any type of routine he has developed it is a detriment. Also could miscue when you normally would not have because developed a habit of not chalking and forgot when to.
2) Forced to use the "normal" chalk because you ran out of the kamui or just coincidentally showed up somewhere and forgot it etc. If the advantages of kamui chalk do in fact exist then it could be a detriment here, and if not it could screw you up in the head.


So, here's my concise review:

Not recommended. WAY overpriced. Yet does the job
I agree that if one develops a dependency on something and they don't have that something then it can affect performance.

I don't really agree that this will affect a player too much regarding their chalking routine. I think that chalking every couple shots is an easy habit to break.

I can't say it's overpriced since I don't know the costs. I know that the Rolls Royce that parks next to me in the garage and costs 10x what my car does will outperform my car in just about every category and feel more comfortable doing it.

As I said in the post above about miscue zones I think that the critical zone is between 1-2.5 tips. That is where inadequate chalk will cause miscues.

So with the "free" chalk one has to continuously apply it just to be sure. And even when continuously applied is it really providing the amount of friction one needs? Do we really know the difference between just enough to prevent a miscue and really grippy? I think we don't because no one has to date claimed to have created chalk that is major improvement over Masters.

I would love to see someone like Dr. Dave test this on his equipment. I am not sure how one measures friction but there should be a way to determine IF Kamui provides more friction and if so then how much more and what does it mean.

I believe that there is more performance. What does that mean for my pool playing? I don't know really and am unwilling to invest the time to measure it other than by going out and playing. I wanted to find out if the chalk was really better and to me it is. I am convinced that Mr. Hiraoka achieved his goal of greatly improving chalk. Without a signifcant change in price though it will never supplant Masters and similar chalks. This will create the divide of haves and have nots and probably cause frustration for those who do end up dependent on their Kamui Chalk.

I do plan to do one more experiment. I want to see how well the chalk combines with Master's. I want to see what happens if I put down a layer of Kamui and then a layer of Masters on top if it. My theory is that the Kamui will provide a layer for the masters to adhere to. Then I can see if it works to chalk with the Masters lightly every three or four games.

Anyway, I am chalked out.
  
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09-15-2011, 06:49 AM

Thanks for sharing you thoughts and experience with it, John.

I'll probably try a cube down the line, for the hell of it. My break cue has a phenolic tip, and from the reviews that I've read previously this should be a big improvement on that. So at the very least I can use it for that if I don't love using it all the time.


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09-15-2011, 07:16 AM

i think my biggest problem would be getting out of the routine of chalking between shots, it's so ingrained. i kind of like having something to do while you setup and contemplate the next shot. i'd probably have to give it a try though, perhaps over time the new rhythm could grow on me.

i did try the kamui chalk at SBE and it seemed good, though I didn't spend a ton of time with it. very different texture and it did seem to stick really well to the tip. though I don't really have a problem with miscues, I can't remember the last time I miscued, it's so rare. but i do maintain my tip well and I chalk between every shot. so for me, if i wanted to use kamui chalk, it would be to change up my shooting routine (eliminating chalking in between shots) and not to really eliminate miscues.
  
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09-15-2011, 07:29 AM

My buddy was talking to this gal who plays pool. She tried it and said omg i think i just came. lol. Then later this other gal who also is a pool nut tried it and said (totally independent of the other gal...wasnt around before)..omg i think i just came.

Me and my buddy both ordered a piece from Crowncitycorey yesterday.

On a more pool serious note, my buddy was in a crucial match last week. Was down on a 7ball with an easy out. Wins this game and the tourny is likely a chop for about 300 each. He miscues and the cb goes sideways into the side pocket. He told me later, yknow that 25 dollars for chalk doesnt seem so expensive right now. We both think that if this chalk works as advertised we will likely keep it in our cases and use it for tournaments and gambling. For practicing, masters will be just fine.
  
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