Kendama USA

Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

Player of the Month – Nick Dodenhoff – April 2022

Meet April Player of the Month Nick Dodenhoff, from Marietta, Georgia. Nick started playing Kendama in 2011, “kendama was especially popular the high school I was attending; Cherokee. Everyone was playing it, and everyone got good enough that we were making edits. For most people, it was a fad, but for me, kendama stopped being fun.”

Nick Dodenhoff - Player of the Month - April 2022 - Kendama USA

“Currently, one of my favorite setups is the nova shape craft ken with a saucy coral tama, that is the move. My favorite kinds of tricks right now are stalls and strings, the Sweets’ Special has a place in my heart as the first advanced trick I ever learned. My left index finger actually has a callus from ‘em, haha.”

So many shoutouts. Shoutout to Ryan Plourd for coming to my jams at KSU and introducing me to so many people. Shoutout to Christian Fraser for being the first kendama player I looked up to and helping me plan so many GA Kendama events. Shoutout to Jero for believing in me years ago and showing up out-of-the-blue to a jam just to hand me my first ever prizes for our jams (and not to mention the WHOLE GA DAMA COLLAB Ken we did years later). Shoutout to Corey Sipes for being the biggest Kendama homie ever and pushing me to get better in those early days. Shoutout to Chad Covington for giving me the roadmap to hosting great Kendama competitions. And probably most importantly shoutout to Nick Fisch, Aidan Smith, Aidan Hitz, Jay Garland, Jonah Holcomb, George Marshall, Austin Johnson, Juwan Shields, Katarina Dodenhoff, T Mac, Alissa DeCoteau, and all the Georgia homies that come out to the jams on the regular. You all are the reason I play and do what I do for GA Dama.

“Georgia has one of the best squads in the nation (the world!?).  Any time you are in our state, hit us @gakendamaplayers and we will make things happen for you! Hope to see you all in September at ATLO 2022!, Much Love & Respect to Kendama USA, the community, & everyone pushing to help it grow.”

 

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KUSA x GA Kendama Collab Peach Kendama Now Available

We’ve teamed up with our friends in the Georgia Kendama Community (@gakendamaplayers) to bring you this special Peach-themed Kendama. The GA Kendama Club has been actively growing and supporting the Kendama scene in our home state, and we couldn’t be more proud to collaborate with them!

Kendama in Georgia has a long history, and the GA Kendama Players have roots going back as early as Dama Fest in 2011. Community leaders like Nick Dodenhoff have made large efforts to get the word out and host local jams and events. As the scene has grown, they have created their own logo, T-shirts, stickers, and even their own podcast “Georgia Kendama Radio. The podcast itself has hosted everyone from Jeremy Stephenson (Kendama USA) to Chad Covington (of Sol Kendamas) and Matt Jorgenson (of Sweets Kendamas). In 2018 the Georgia Kendama Players Club hosted the Georgia Kendama Open (GKO), followed by the Atlanta Kendama Open (ATLKO) in 2019.

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Making this collab Kendama seemed like a great idea after so many years of mutual support. It features a unique GA Peach themed tama with KUSA Silk paint, a Maple SHIFT Shape Ken with a new base cup hole, custom engravings, and much more. This club hopes to spread the excitement and community of Kendama to even more people in the south. If you are ever in Georgia, make sure to attend one of the jams and meet all of the incredible people that make up the Georgia Kendama Players.

 

Georgia Kendama Players hopes to spread the excitement and community of Kendama to even more people in the south, and the support of companies like Kendama USA has been huge. If you are ever in Georgia, make sure to reach out to them to get a Jam going and meet all of the incredible people that make up the Georgia Kendama Players.

 

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Jarvis Lawrence is TRIBE

Jay Lawrence is TRIBE

Meet Jarvis a.k.a Jay, the newest member of the Tribe team! His quick wits and even faster hands will have yous guys blinking in disbelief. The ‘Scansin native, has been playing kendama for 3 1/2 years and first encountered kendama at school when a kid in his class pulled a kendama out and started playing it; after that Jay picked up his first Kendama a green & black Tribute Kendama and the rest is history.

Jay is constantly challenging himself and those around him to improve. His flow, consistency, and dedication to both the sport and the Kendama community are inspiring and we can’t wait to see more from him.

Watch his Tribe announcement edit below and help us welcome him to the family!

A few years back Bryan Scagline first met Jarvis and saw the potential of being a great role model and leader in the community.  Not only has Jay’s skills evolved since then but he hosts jams in his home state of Wisconsin with his crew 608KEN.

Current Favorite Setup: null X Kaizen Red/White Half Split!

- Much Respect -

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Player of the Month – Colin Hislop – July 2020

Meet July Player of the Month Colin Hislop, from Sandpoint, Idaho. Slaying since the 8th grade, the first kendama he put his hands on was a friend’s.

Kendama USA Player of Month July 2020 Colin Hislop

“I was instantly hooked! Soon after, (June, 2012) I visited the @sportscreel in Spokane, WA and picked up my first dama: a Purple Shenzhu! I love simple tricks with spicy tech thrown in. Late goons, grip trades, and fast hands all get me juiced. My favorite setup is whatever feels good! Currently,I am loving the null.”

Kendama USA Player of the Month Colin Hislop 2 - July 2020

He’s currently working on a year-long project, filming a trick every day. Over 200 tricks deep, Colin believes it will likely release on January 1st, 2021! We can’t wait to see it!

“I’m so incredibly grateful for this tool and everywhere it has brought me. It’s been an unforgettable 8 years, and I can’t see myself ever stopping.

The shout-out list is endless, but to start: the day one homie @_samcannon_, @asapcrvst, @mikey_schelling, and the sensei @benherald. From friendship, to motivation, to tutoring, these dudes have inspired me more than I can put into words.

Love to Kendama USA, the community, & everyone pushing to help it grow.”

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The Race Horse Named Kendama

Racehorse Kendama Wins at Maryland

Meet the racehorse named Kendama; a beautiful, three-year-old Colt from the prestigious Audley Farm. General Manager Turner Kobayashi, a Japanese-American, who’s been part of Audley Farm for over 20 years now, tells us that they named the horse’s pedigree; after his mother, a mare named Bilboquet.  Kendama won his last race on Friday, July 10, 2020.  It was a mile and one-sixteenth turn stretch at Laurel Park in Maryland. Check out our favorite racehorse in action below.

A little more about Audley Farm,  a 3,000-acre historic farm in Berryville, Virginia founded in 1749. George Washington’s adopted daughter; (Martha’s granddaughter), Nellie Custis lived here. Once the very first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton was a stallion at Audley back in the 1920s. Currently, Audley Farm is a champion thoroughbred racehorse breeder and owner as well as a registered Black Angus seed stock and beef producer. To learn more about the racehorse named Kendama and Audley Farms check out www.audleyfarm.com.

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Josh Kim is TRIBE!

It’s been almost 3 years since Josh Kim picked up his first Kendama.  Since then,  Josh’s passion & determination to lace Kendama tricks has fast-tracked his skill progression and he is now on Kendama USA’s Tribe Team! Josh’s play style is fast & technical, so try not to blink when watching this edit. With trick combinations including but not limited to boarders balances,  123 variations, & even tightropes, Josh’s gravity-defying lines will definitely blow your mind.

Back when I used to yo-yo around 2013, I would always learn tricks from yoyoexpert.com. I saw they were selling Kendamas, so I watched my first Kendama video on the site, which was the Kendama USA 2012 Japan Tour. Still one of my favorite videos to this day. However, I did not get a Kendama until 2015 where just kept it on my desk, and did not start playing until February of 2016. My first Kendama USA dama was a black silk Kaizen Kendama. My current favorite setup is a Watermelon Slim X Dwesty Ken; throws absolute face melters.

Kendamas USA - Josh Kim - Tribe Team

A year later Josh met Wyatt at the 2017 Grand Central Station Jam, where he won a Spike-Off and almost bested Wyatt in a game of Ken.  Wyatt saw potential in Josh and sent him a few kendamas after the jam.  Since then Josh has helped host a number of events and plans on continuing to throw jams and events in the NYC area.

Kendama for me is just an amazing sport that I love. To be able to receive so much support from the community is phenomenal. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in the past, and special shout out to my day 1′s; my parents. Without them supporting me everyday I play, I never would be where am I today. So grateful to be blessed with this amazing opportunity to play for Kendama USA. Can’t wait for what happens next!

Welcome to the team! Keep shredding.

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Player of the Month – Danny Rankin – February 2019

This month’s player is Danny R in Florida! We took a minute to chop it up with the @kendamagoat and this is what he had to say:

Waddup it’s Danny / Kendama Goat! I was born n raised in San Jose, CA. I lived in Portland for 6 years, then in my van for a few years with scattered months in Philly, New York, Thailand, and Mexico. Now I reside in Florida but I’m always driving back and forth to Nashville, TN.

I found Kendama from my buddy Zach. (@kendama_odyssey ) He posted a video on Instagram that I thought looked really weird so I asked him about it. He sent me a dama and now I trip border balance first T every time switch. Outside of kendama I like to make weird rap videos, play piano, beat everyone at chess, sometimes skate, but kendama is better, shmob my scooter to the beach, thrift, go down weird conspiracy holes, read the taco bell subreddit, eat taco bell, ride by bike, Rubik’s cubes, stuff like dat. A few people I wanna shout out / thank – My buddy Cameron (@kendamalicious ) shreds super hard, is always posting clips, loves the game and just has a lit AF genuinely great personality so he’s one I look up to. Scags (@bryan_scagline) I’ve always looked up to that dude. He has a super fresh style and really comfortable flow, like not just clacking around, but actually hitting the cups and doing a lot of grip changes. Anyone that flows really..


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Some quip simplistic flow #crispy . . #kendama #kendamausa #kaizendash #kendamalovegang #kendamaodyssey #kendamagoat

A post shared by WHRL GVD (@kendamagoat) on

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Daunyé Synigal is TRIBE!


Daunye Synigal, a 21-year-old Kendama whiz from Modesto, CA, has been playing Kendama for seven years and is now on Kendama USA’s Tribe Team! Daunye was introduced to Kendama in Vacaville by a friend at their middle-school bus stop.

“I remember some of the kids at the stop being super hyped on trying it out. I thought it was a super cool toy that he stole from his older brother who was in high school. He soon showed me videos of professional/highly-skilled kendama players and told me that he was a part of a kendama team called Balanced Kendama Team (check them out on Youtube). It really interested and amazed me that my friend was on a team, especially considering everyone else on that team was in high school while we were middle schoolers. Their Youtube Edit had over 1000 views (in 2012!) and that made it seem super legit.”

The same friend gave Daunye his first Kendama which was a natty Sunrise Kendama which he played for 3 months before buying his first Kendama from Kendama USA; a Black TK-16 Kendama.

BONUS: My next three kendamas were a sky blue ozora, a blue on black triple stripe KUSA Tribute, and a Zack Yourd 2012 Pro Model.

Daunye is an all-around Kendama player who has an appreciation for all tricks and styles. He was sponsored by Dave Mateo onto the Tribe team. Daunye met Dave for the first time at a Learning Express jam hosted by Dave, and Logan Tosta in Roseville CA.

That event was an amazing experience for me. I won second place at a mini game and there wasn’t a prize for second place so Dave took it upon himself to give me his personal Grain Theory kendama. I was stoked!

Daunye helps host kendama jams at Japan Town San Francisco every Friday from 5-9pm called KG Fridays.

We jam inside the Peace Pagoda in the center of Japan Town Plaza and when the weather is bad we jam near the Kinokuniya Book Store inside Japan Town Mall. These jams are a homage to KG Tuesdays that KUSA’s Jake Wiens hosted for years.

Kendama USA - KG Jam CA Japanville Peace Pagoda

Daunye’s current favorite setup is anything with a Shift shape and a long string. ;)

Help us in welcoming Daunye to the team! We hope to see Daunye continue to spread the game, push his limits and those around him.

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Player of the Month – Lisa Komatsubara – January 2019

Kendama USA Player Spotlight January 2019 Lisa K

This month’s player is Lisa K all the way from New Zealand! We took some time to catch up with her and this is what she had to say:

My name is Lisa Komatsubara, and I’m from Auckland, New Zealand! As a child, I grew up owning a traditional Japanese Kendama, and funnily enough, I actually thought it was a boring toy because all I could do with it was cups and spike.  In 2016, I met Joe & Todd from @kumafilms and they showed me that you can do so much more with a Kendama! They taught me how to do Airplane and Juggle, and that’s how I fell in love with Kendama!

I literally practiced only those 2 tricks for a few months, then I played on & off then only occasionally. It wasn’t until August 2018 that I decided to start practicing properly and introduce myself to other tricks. Since then, my love & passion for Kendama has been growing bigger & bigger! When I’m not playing Kendama, I’m either juggling, capturing photos & videos, painting, or doing anything creative!

From the beginning, my Kendama inspirations have been @hbishhh & @dwesty_. They were the only 2 players I knew about when I first started. Another big inspiration is a fellow player Nicholas Jennings also from New Zealand. He continues to inspire me every day!”

Lisa’s progression is inspiring! Be sure to check out her feed and practice!

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Zach Magnuson is TRIBE

Zach Magnuson, a 19-year-old Kendama phenom from Motor City; Detroit, MI, has been playing Kendama for four and a half years and is now on Kendama USA’s Tribe Team! When he isn’t playing Kendama he’s either out shooting pics or making videos about Kendama! In his 2nd year of college at MCC, Zach claims to love school more than DWesty and plans on graduating with a degree in photography and video work.  Zach’s progression, passion, and community involvement have propelled him into the limelight and he’ll continue to leave a positive impact on those around him on KUSA’s Tribe team.

“I was introduced to Kendama by a high school classmate who had recently returned from a trip to Japan. My 1st Kendama was a red Duncan Kendama from Toys R Us. I describe my playstyle as very fast paced & new school but I’m still being creative with it. Wyatt asked me to be on Tribe at this year’s Dama in the D comp.  Wyatt and I actually met at Dama in the D2 but it wasn’t until D4 that we got to know each other. By the time D5 rolled around, I had honed my skills like never before and I placed in the top 10, even besting Wyatt in open 3-0.”

Current Setup:  Kendama USA Craft Shift Maple Ken x Ash Tama

” I love kendama and all the people I’ve met through it. I try and spread my joy for this truly amazing sport wherever I go.”

BTW, I host a jam every Thursday in Marysville, MI between 4 – 8 pm at Municipal Park. So if you’re in the area come on by and jam with us!

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Dama Dice – Game of K.E.N App – iOS

Dama Dice - iOS - Kendama Game of KEN App

Dama Dice gives slayers a new way to enjoy games of KEN. The Dama Dice app, available on iOS, gives you a random Kendama trick in Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulty modes. It also helps you learn about new Kendama tricks with the integrated Kendama Tricktionary. Just tap on one of the dice, and you can read about how it’s done or view tutorial videos from the best Kendama pros in the community.

We caught up with the app’s creator whos is also a local Utah slayer; Theodore B., and here’s what he had to say:

“I created Dama Dice because it’s fun to shake things up every now and then. I got started building these apps for snowboarding and skateboarding. My friends and I were always daring each other to try new tricks, so it’s really a product I built to have more fun with them. Dama Dice is great for games of K.E.N. when you don’t know what trick to try.

The app works through a process known as “procedural generation.” That’s fancy computer science talk for lots and lots of random numbers. If the number is “1″, the app gives you a different trick than you’d get if it’s “2″ and so on.

Dama Dice has over a hundred random trick components that it draws from. It puts those components together to make new and interesting combinations of tricks every time you shake your phone.

Dama Dice also has a Combo Mode that combines tricks together in lines of three. It uses the ending grip from the previous trick to figure out which trick to flow into. Combos are natural and fun to try. The app will keep surprising you with the combos it creates. It’s sort of unreal and nothing like the kinds of combos you can think up yourself.

So yeah, enjoy the app. Have fun! Send me your feedback too.  I can add in new tricks and move things around. I built the app for the community, and I want it to be something everyone loves to play with.”

 

“I’ve decided to do a free version so people can try out the app before getting access to all of the advanced tricks and combo mode.”

Dama Dice iOS Link

 

You can get that here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dama-dice-kendama/id1384971400?mt=8

Full version:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dama-dice/id1382452487?mt=8

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Player Spotlight: Caleb Rush – Greenville, SC

Our 1st Player Spotlight of 2018 is on Caleb Rush (slayleb_) in Greenville SC.

“I’m 13 years old, I live in Greenville SC, and I’ve been playing Kendama for about three years. The main reason that I love playing Kendama is mainly all of the amazing people I get to meet and talk to. There’s really no scene here in SC so getting to go to jams in GA is always an amazing experience. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for all the amazing people I’ve met through Kendama. (Shoutout Ryan Plourd, Charles Rager, Nick Drummer, Zach Porter, Corey Snipes, C Fraser, & Palmer) These people have always inspired me to keep doing what I love.”

(Photo Cred @palmertrees_)

KENDAMA PICTURED:

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