Kite fighting is the sport of piloting kites in aerial combat. It has its roots in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Japan, with followings in the United State and around the world. Match rules and the types of contests offered vary from one venue to another, but the goal is always to outmaneuver or disable an opponent's kite in some way. To make the kites easier to keep in the air and maneuver, the construction of fighter kites uses very lightweight materials, often thin paper and a frame made of bamboo and fiberglass or carbon fiber.
Things You'll Need
- Lightweight fighter kite
- Fly line designed for kite fighting
- Flying reel
Takeoff with Assistance
Stand with your back to the wind and place the reel on the ground in front of you. Hold the line in your hands. For proper flight, the reel should rest flat on the ground. Keep about ten feet of extra line lying on the ground beside you.
Stand about 50 feet away from an assistant holding the kite. The assistant should grip the kite lightly at the side corners, making sure that the nose is pointing upwards.
Pull on the line with an upwards motion. Your assistant should let the kite be pulled gently out of their hands. Continue to pull steadily and upwards, maintaining tension until the kite has caught the wind. Let out line and allow the kite to climb to about 50 feet.
Stand with your back to the wind and the gator reel on the ground, as with an assisted takeoff. Hold the nose of the kite, pointed upwards, with one hand. Hold the line with the other hand.
Let go of the kite and it let it blow a short distance in the wind. Pull up on the line and then let it out to gain height. Repeat this process until the kite is about 50 feet in the air.
Prop the kite on the ground fifty feet away from you if the winds are too low to launch. Point the kite's nose upwards. This determines the direction it will fly. Pull on the line as you would in the first takeoff method.
Hold the line with two hands. Place one hand higher than the other. This will help to pull the line in and let it out as needed. With the higher hand, anchor the line with the thumb and hold the line near to the tip of your index finger so you can sense its movement. Avoid flying with any slack between you and the kite.
Control movement by making quick, rhythmic tugs on the line in the desired direction.
Climb by pulling in the line a little. Let more line out when you feel the wind lift the kite higher.
Pull on the line in a hand-over-hand motion for more sustained flight. Pull sharply to make the kite move quicker and more abruptly.
Let out some line in a quick motion if the kite is going in the wrong direction. This will stop its progress, causing it to change directions or spin.
Loosen the line if the kite is falling. It will become unstable instead of heading towards the ground. Put tension on the line once the kite is pointing upwards again. Fight the instinct to pull on the line as the kite falls, as this will pull it to the ground faster.
Tips & Warnings
- Some practitioners attach razor blades, pieces of glass and other sharp abrasives to fighter kite lines for line cutting competitions. This is highly dangerous and is discouraged by the North American Kite Fighter Association and the American Kiteflier's Association.
- New York Kite Enthusiasts: Kite Fighting
- Fighter Kite Central; Flying Basics for Fighter Kites; David Gomberg
- Fighter Kite Central: Flying Line and Reel for Flying an American Fighter Kite; Bruce Lambert; August 2005
- Post-Gazette: Fighter-kite Flying is an Aerial Martial Art; Shannon M. Nass; June 5, 2011
How to Make a Kite
The leaves are rustling in the trees and the spring breeze is calling us out to fly a kite! Yes! It is...
How to Make a Butterfly Kite
Kites originated in China over 2,000 years ago. The foremost-recorded account of a kite was when Chinese General Han Hsin of the...
How to Make a Kite Like Those from India or Pakistan
Kite flying is a popular hobby in India and Pakistan. Peak season for flying kites in India and Pakistan is during "Basant",...