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Click Clack Radio S1 Ep. 5 – Ben Herald Interview

Ben Herald is one of the newest Grain Theory pro kendama players and the pro division champion of the Sakura Classic Championships this year.
In this interview we learn about the annual Sakura Classic contest held in Japantown, SF, his pro model design and more!

Head to shop.kendamausa.com/ and use the code: CLICKCLACK to get 10% off your next order.

Special thanks to:
Ben Herald
Jack Baker
Molly Harney
Haley Bishoff
KendamaUSA
Grain Theory
Josh Flow Grove – Rhythm kendama sounds

Sakura Classic recap -
kendamausa.com/2017/04/21/sakura…assic-2017-recap/

“Going pro the night before and winning the contest the next day creates a story for the ages.” – Ben Herald

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Back to Basics | Kendama Base Cup Trick Variations

Wake up & base cup people! Don’t neglect the cup that makes your Kendama stand tall. Yea it’s a little harder to land tricks and variations may not be as straight forward but, if you practice landing in base cup, you’ll find cupping, in general, to be a lot easier.

In Vol. 2 of Back to Basics, Haley & Molly show you over 25 different base cup variations to incorporate into your flow and hone your skills with. Check it out!

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Sakura Classic 2017 | Recap

The Sakura Classic is a Kendama event that focuses on the original reason why we play Kendama. FUN! No fees, no pressure, all vibes. This year, the sun was shining and the players were out in full force. This Sakura Classic had the most pros yet, 28 Sponsored players came out to join the 100+ amateurs. The pros hosted workshops and gave advice to the young competitors trying to reach the main stage to become the Sakura Champ.

The speed ladders are always intense. Players were focused and honed this year, finishing the ladder within fractions of a second within each other requiring slow motion replays to determine the winner. Win or loose, everyone was smiling. At the end of a full day of speed ladder battles, we had our top 16 competitors for the next day.
Congrats to -
Matthew Stacy, Hartej Sinjh, Jordan Vargas, Keilan Cancino, Casey Cristabol, Anthoney Leary, Jack Shores, Eli Kertel, Hayden Brickman, Joshual Yanga, Mason Santos, Elmer Juen, Andrew Taldlip, Omrishi Jonnala, Jordan Petiesta &Tim Chow

The Pro / Sponsored speed ladder was a mix of a Kendama contest and a comedy show. As I looked around me, I would call out 5 pros at a time. Mixing up sponsors, friends, and rivals. During each round, I would roast each player.The crowd was laughing and the players were trying to focus while I talked about a modeling agency battle with Kristian Aynedter, Max Norcross, and Tj Kolesnik.

After day 1 in Japantown SF, everyone met at the Hatch in Oakland, a small bar and restaurant with neighborhood vibes in Oakland. Upon arrival, the place was packed with kendama players and Kendama videos were projected on the wall. Drinks, burgers, tacos, and wings were flowing like water. It was great to have everyone in one place for a party. Usually at some point during kendama events the young ones and the adults get split up due to age restrictions. Pancho, the owner of The Hatch opened his doors to all ages that Saturday night and made it a memorable event for everyone. Towards the end of the night, the music changed and a video started to play that ended up being the pro announcement for Kristian Aynedter and Ben Herald! People were cheering and applauding as waves of smiles rushed over the crowd. The goal was to create the “skate video premiere” feeling. Mission accomplished.

Day 2 of the Sakura Classic was the “hone in’ day. The day started with workshops for the top 16 ams that were in the classic. The pros helped each player tighten up their tricks and gave advice on how to stay cool and collected during the contest. While the players were warming up, the rest of the crowd watched the 9 and under and the 30 and up contest. The 9 and under featured a big cup off as well as ken drop and other fun mini games. All competitors walked away with prizes. The 30 and up class were competing for an Original Grain watch and Kendama USA kanji brush shirt. The competition was made up of dads of players and other adult players. The vibe was amazing and everyone had a blast.

The amateur contest began at 1 and players were ready. At the Sakura Classic, there is no stage, only the street. The players paired up and battled in the middle of post street in Japantown. The crowd gathered quickly to watch the young competitors face off. The battles went on until we had the top 4: Jordan Vargas, Keilan Cancino, Hartej Sinjh, and Matthew Stacy.

While the am players celebrated their victory, the pros started gathering for the pro contest. This years pro contest featured some of the most amazing players and match-ups I have ever seen. It is amazing to watch 2 of your favorite players go head to head. In the end it came down to Ben Herald and Josh Grove that would battle it out on the main stage later in the day.

Right after the pro classic, the pace switched to pro freestyle / exhibition. Music was bumpin’ and the crowd formed a circle in the middle of the street. I called 4 players into the circle and they threw down free style for 4 min. If you mess up twice you step out and some one else comes in. After 4 minutes, the crowd judges who will stay and who will go. This years freestyle had some of the most epic bangers laced and the crowd was going nuts. The highlight was when I decided to have all of COTK battle it out in the ring. Wyatt, Stodd, June, and Caleb all jumped in huddled up and then broke into one of the most legendary freestyles. Stodd hitting impossible lunar combos, while Chris June redefined the definition of bird combos, Caleb slinging his way into the next universe, and Wyatt going ham with the most vicious down spike combos. After all the smoke settled from all the rounds, it came down to Gavin Harvey and Micha Logan to battle on the main stage.

At 5:30, the entire squad mobbed up to the main stage that sat under the pagoda where we jam every Tuesday. I grabbed the mic and started to explain kendama to the people. I asked “who knows what a kendama is?” I did not expect the roar that came from the crowd. I then asked “who has never seen a kendama before?” Only a few people in the audience had never seen one!

After some tricks on a normal sized Kaizen and a KROM XXL I brought up the freestyle finals. Micha and Logan were on another level of honed. Both players landing unique tricks that are the definition of modern kendama. After both players had their runs it was judgement time. The crowd undeniably decided in favor of Gavin. Micha lifted Gavin up off the ground and Gavin’s hands when in the air with victory!

Next we went into the Pro Classic Finals. Ben Herald faced off With Josh Grove. Both Ben and Josh were landing the tricks left and right, match for match. It was match point for Ben and the card drawn was the hanging inward flip down spike. Josh came within millimeters of the lace and Ben had a chance for the win. Ben took a breath and landed the trick first try! The crowd cheered and there was a new Sakura Pro champ! Ben was awarded the custom champion Hapi Coat custom made for the contest. Going pro the night before and winning the contest the next day creates a story for the ages.

For the finale, the amateur players made their way to the stage. Round one was Hartej vs Jordan Vargas and Hartej takes the win to move onto the finals. In round two was Matthew vs Keilan and Keilan took the win. Fun fact: Keilan has placed in the top 3 every Sakura Classic!

The finals were two competitors who have trained and worked for the spot both Hartej and Keilan have dreamed of being the Sakura Champ. Just like the pros Hartej and Keilan were matching trick for tricks building the suspense. Hartej had 3 points and needed 1 more for the win. Keilan drew the infamous Handlestall hop to slip on stick. Keilan missed and it came down to Hartej. Hartej hits the handle stall and the hop over. The moment of truth is the slip on stick and he lands it perfectly. The crowd rushes in and the audience applauds the new Sakura Champion. Both players walked away with amazing prizes form Kendama USA and Grain Theory and Hartej was awarded the Sakura Champions Hapi coat.
Sakura Classic Champions - Hartej & Ben w/ Hapi Coats

The weekend was full of kendama, friends, an amazing contest, and all of this in the middle of a 200,000 person festival celebrating Japanese arts and culture. Kendama continues to grow in northern California and the Sakura Classic is the time when everyone comes together from all over the west coast to enjoy kendama together.

See you there next year.

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Back to Basics | 37 Ways to Big Cup Your Kendama

Let’s face it, people love “power moves” or flashy techniques and often will skip the basics and jump right into trying to land the more difficult ones like taps or juggles. While there may be no right or wrong way to learn Kendama, you may progress a lot faster if you don’t rush things by trying to learn everything at once or trying advanced tricks when you haven’t mastered the basics. You’ll want to learn the basics so you can get to the more difficult aspects sooner and also develop a style as well.

“First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule Daniel son, not mine” - Mr. Miyagi

Our very own Haley Bishoff & Molly Harney have started a new series called “Back to Basics” to show us some of the basics that seem to have been lost with new creative twists. This new series is for everyone, whether you are a beginner or a pro and really focuses on one of the basics of Kendama.

Check it out!

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Click Clack Radio – Season 1

Click Clack Radio - Kendama Podcast - Logo

Haley Bishoff and Molly Harney have teamed up to create the first ever co-created Kendama podcast series; Click Clack Radio.

Click Clack began early February 2017 and features players within the Kendama community on their show as well as frequent giveaways.  In season 1, you’ll hear from Joshua Flow Grove, Matt Rice, and Jake Wiens.

Be sure and tune into the next season b/c we’ve got plenty more great interviews coming your way.

Subscribe & Follow Click Clack Radio to hear some amazing conversations between unique players and your lovely co-hosts Haley Bishoff and Molly Harney.
IG: @ClickClackRadio

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Jake Wiens on NBC | Asian Pacific America w/ Robert Handa

Jake Wiens was recently featured on NBC’s Asian Pacific America w/ Robert Handa. Jake talks about the art of Kendama & the upcoming Sakura Classic competition.

 

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Where to buy Kururins ™

We’ve teamed up with the inventors of Kururins ™ to help make them available for sale worldwide.
Kendama USA is the exclusive supplier of Kururins ™ in North America and we are proud to be working with & supporting those who created it. While there may be many imitations, there is only one original. Learn more about Kururin ™ here.




Kururin

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Wyatt Bray Pro Turns Pro for Kendama USA

We are honored and excited to announce Wyatt Bray as the newest member of the Kendama USA Pro Team.  Wyatt’s contagious positivity, energy and love for the sport has made a significant impact across the Kendama community. His disruptive style and mind-blowing trick combinations have influenced freestyle play by not only raising the bar but also growing the community at home and abroad. From organizing local jams, demonstrating at schools, touring the country for various events, participation in tutorial videos, edits, etc… we’ve watched Wyatt grow; not only as a player but also as a contributing member of the Kendama community.  Wyatt has used his platform as both a world champion and a member of our team to share and spread Kendama worldwide.

Wyatt Bray Lacing a UFO on his Pro Model

Wyatt continues to challenge not only his own limits, but also the laws of physics in general when playing Kendama. He pushes those around him to reach for new heights and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next.
Please join us in welcoming Wyatt Bray to the Kendama USA Pro Team.

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Emmy Evans is TRIBE

Kendama USA Presents Emmy Evans - Tribe Team Announcement

Emily Evans, nearing 14 years old, has been playing for Kendama for just two years and is now finding herself on KendamaUSA’s Tribe Team. She spends most of her time practicing Kendama, reading and playing Ice Hockey for the Anaheim Lady Ducks 14AAA team as the goalie. Emily was asked to be on Tribe after her win in the advanced bracket at the Lez Dama 2 event, summer of 2016. The previous year she also took 1st but in the beginner ladder. Her progression and persistence have gotten her far, as she continues to amaze those around her. Emily was Haley Bishoff’s second tribe pick and is now the third female to be added to KendamaUSA.

Emily Evans Haley Bishoff Half Split Kendamas USA

“I first met Emily at the Lez Dama 2 event after seeing her videos on Instagram and facebook. Right away, I knew who she was because of her incredibly long hair and the fact that she was wearing her large purple KendamaUSA t-shirt I’ve seen in all her videos. We hung out throughout the whole event and I soon came to realize that Emily is one of the most down to earth, kind, talented and humble young girls I’ve ever met. After she won the advanced bracket, she didn’t stop smiling for probably the rest of the day and handled the win with such a level head. She is truly something special and I am so happy to have her a part of the team.” – Haley Bishoff

Welcome to the team! Keep shredding.

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Battle at the Border (BATB) 2017 Recap

Battle at the Border 2017 was an awesome event hosted by Chad Covington of Sol Kendamas. This year’s turnout exceeded expectations, with almost 100 Kendama players in attendance. BATB17 was held in the historic Foundry building near downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The weather was pretty crazy in the southeastern U.S with snow and freezing rain but that didn’t stop groups like DKT, Grande Squad, Pineapple Kendama and others from making the drive. There were twenty two sponsors for the event including Kendama USA, Sol Kendamas, Sweets Kendamas, KROM, Terra Kendama, Grain Theory, RWB and more. As a result, there were tons of mini games and prizes given out throughout the event.

The freestyle competition had some of the most creative tricks around and some of the craziest bangers thrown on stage. The finals came down to a match between Jake Fisher & Max Norcross. Max Norcross nearly won however Jake Fisher came away with the win. Pictured below are the winners of the freestyle event:

From left to right: 4th – Christian Fraser, 3rd – Cam Herrero, 2nd – Max Norcross, 1st – Jake Fischer

The Open division was intense from the first match up to the final round with Liam Router and Ben Herald going head to head for the title of Battle at the Border and Liam taking the victory.

4th – Johnny Kress, 3rd – Blair Sylvester Wesley, 2nd – Ben Herald, 1st – Liam Rauter

 Kendama-USA-2017-01-20-Battle-At-The-Border-Open-Division-Top-Four-Johnny-Kress-Blair-Sylvester-Wesley-Ben-Herald-Liam-Rauter

There were also beginner, intermediate, and advanced ladders that were done during the event as well. Here are the winners for those divisions:

Beginner: 3rd – Lilly Kosicki, 2nd – Alex Jorgenson, 1st – Fame Cristobal

Intermediate: 4th – Tristen Wareham, 3rd – Dalton Hodge, 2nd – Carlos Castro, 1st – Walker Lifsey

Advanced: 4th – John Coffman, 3rd – Antonio Cecchetti, 2nd – Nick Dodenhoff, 1st – Caleb Rush

Again congratulations to all who placed in any of the divisions this year and thanks to Chad Covington and Sol Kendamas for throwing a fantastic event!

 

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Kendama USA Presents – Kaizen Craft

We’re excited to launch the newest development from Kendama USA:  The Kaizen Craft.  This line of Kendamas is designed and hand crafted by Kendama players and manufactured right here in the USA. We are introducing 2 entirely new shapes: The Kaizen 2.0 and the Kaizen Slim.  Numerous improvements include larger cup sizes, arched cup rims, a refined slip stop, and a new sarado shape that slings amazing while keeping prime lunar balance.  The exceptional craftsmanship is unlike anything we’ve created so far, and we know you’re going to love it.  This is our Craft.

Get yours today from our Online Store HERE.

 

 

 

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Rain doesn’t dampen Sakura Classic…

San Francisco’s Chronicle covered the Cherry Blossom Festival and although it rained it didn’t deter anyone from enjoying the festival. Tony Bravo, SFGate & Chronicle contributor, ran into Jake during the festival and had this to say…

Away from the food bazaar, the Japanese skill game Kendama, in which a player juggles a ball on a string between three cups and a spike on the same stick, attracted its own crowd as some of the 90 competitors in the festival’s Sakura Classic demonstrated their techniques.

“The sport has been around for about 100 years,” said Jake Wiens, a professional Kendama player from Oakland.
“This is my third time as part of this competition. It’s a really great event, and we get a lot of support from the Japanese consul general to make it happen. We literally have players as young as 8 years old from all over the Bay Area that have discovered it.”

Read the full story here.

Stay tuned for the Sakura Classic recap!

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