All images and designs: Copyright 1995-2009 - Kai Griebenow. All rights reserved.


 Short intro on Fighter Kites: Fighter kites come in many different shapes and sizes and the fighting style varies somewhat. In this gallery you will see small fighter kites with a diamond like shape. Kites with such shape were used mostly in Asia, e.g., Japan (Hata), Indonesia, and India among other nations and regions. Traditionally they were made from split bamboo spars and great accuracy has to be given to the balance and bend of these spars. Those spars were secured with lines and the sail was made of rice paper mostly. Finally, they were painted with water colors in traditional styles. The Japanese Hata (meaning is Flag) traditionally employs the Dutch colors blue-white-red (coincidentally now also the US colors). These days the sails are mostly made from light ripstop nylon and sewn. The cross spars are frequently made from solid carbon fiber rods of about 2 mm diameter, the spine is mostly made from wood. It helps if the spine is bend upwards at the nose between the crosspar and tip of the kite by about 15 degrees (maybe I shouldn't reveal all my tricks as I will have an advantage in battle with such a kite). But now to the fun part, the fighting. These kites were used with special lines. The last about 20 meters/yards of the otherwise usual line were coated with glass powder usually attached with traditional rice glue. You can buy such lines in speciality stores or on the internet but beware, they can cut - because that is their purpose! In combat oponents try to cut the lines of other fighter kites with their line by elegant manovering. I should mention that fighter kites fly in the direction of the nose when the line is tense but tumble when given line. This tumbeling can be used to change the flying direction - basically by giving line followed by rapid pulling. The following video from YoutTube shows this (not mine).


Today I received a big box with 100 Indonesian fighter kites from Yoni in Jember, Indonesia (Implan, On the right a selection of various colors and designs of the kites. Some have more sturdy spars than others what is good for stronger wind. Still sorting through them. All kites are in fine shape and made it in one piece here without any losses :).

I suggest to get fighter kites directly from the makers to support their trade. More helpful for the makers if we buy direct and also cheaper for us.


Fighter kites can also be used to make small pieces of artwork and in the following I show some of mine which are similar in design to those described above. The shape of the kite I call Black Orchid (developed in 1995) for the name of the original design, but I made various different variations of this kite with different motifs. 

 Black Orchid Fighter

Made: August 1995

Technique: Applique

Size: ca. 1.5 x 1.5 feet

Material: 0.75 oz ripstop

On the right you can see some possible color combinations. My fav is probably the one in the upper-right side. Not sure though, they all look good.

Name: Puffin Fighter

Applique Technique
Made: July 1996
Comment: Same Puffins as on Puffin Rock Rokkaku   

Name: Bird of Paradise

Applique Technique
Made: July 1996
Comment: Look at the pannels of Exit From Eden Part II.
Owner: Liz in Miami 

Name: Hummingbird Fighter

Applique Technique
Made: July 1996
Comment: Since the first is with my parents I made one for myself.
Owner: myself  
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