Kendama USA

Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

Kendama Club Spotlight: Cherokee Kendama Club – Canton, GA

Meet the Cherokee Kendama Club!

In August of 2017, a young James Matheny had a genius idea…  to start his very own kendama club at Cherokee High School and (with the help of administration) made that dream a reality!

Cherokee Kendama Club has now grown to 20+ members in just over a month, the club meets bi-weekly in the morning before school starts. It takes some serious dedication to get up extra early to jam some dama, but we know it’s worth it.

Cherokee Kendama Club likes to give back to the community by giving kendamas to kids who can’t afford them at school! Isn’t that just the nicest thing you’ve ever heard?

We asked James what his favorite part about kendama is, his response: “The community aspect, it’s just fun to meet new people who share your passion.”

We could not agree more!

And of course, we had to end the interview knowing what players and mod James loves:

His favorite Pro? TJ Kolesnik

His favorite mod? Wyatt Bray Champ Mod

Solid choices.

Keep up with this club on Instagram! @cherokeekendama

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Kendama Club Spotlight: MKGA – Mailtand, Florida

MKGA Florida - Kendama Jam Meetup | Maitland, FL

MKGA is a Kendama club in Maitland, Florida which is part of the greater Orlando area. MKGA has over 30 members and was started by Andrew Kokol.
We caught up with Andrew and had interviewed him during an event we held in their area; check out what he had to say!

Q: When did you create the club?
A: December 2016

Q: How many members are in your club?
A: Over 30

Q: When is your next jam and where does your club meet?
A: I’m not sure when our next jam will be, but we are located in Maitland, FL near Orlando and we usually do them at parks.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Kendama?
A: I love the way that everyone has their own unique way of Kendama and I love all tricks you can do and the possibilities are endless!

Q: Favorite Kendama USA Pro and why?
A: It’s between TJ and Jake. I love how TJ travels everywhere and teaches Kendama and makes everyone love it, but Jake has his own style in Kendama which I love!!

Q: Favorite Kendama USA Kendama?
A: I really like the Kaizen Silks and the Crafts because you guys created it yourself, and I like all different shapes.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: “If you are content, you will always have enough.” – Lao Tzu

MKGA Florida - Winter Park Kendama Jam | Winter Park, FL

You can keep up with their club happenings on their Instagram @m_k_g_a and join in if you’re in the area!

Want to start a club in your area? Contact us to get started!
Want your club to be featured? Make sure to tag @kendamausa & #kendamausa on your posts so we can see your club.

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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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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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Dama Talk – Episode 2 | Kendama Podcast

Dama Talk Logo

DamaTalk is back?! The first episode was made a little over three years ago by Kendama USA Pro Alex Smith and featured Keith Matsumura and covered a plethora of topics.
In vol. 2 Alex interviews Philip Eldridge, Rodney Ansell, and Craig Langkass. The conversation ranges from life in Denmark to Terra’s new retail shop in Vancouver. Alex even cover some ‘would-you-rather’ questions, and more…
Hit the play button below and take a listen!

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Click Clack Radio S1 Ep. 7 – Miya Song Interview

Miya Song is a Kendama USA Tribe member, living in Oahu, Hawaii.  Not only is she one of best female players in the game, she’s also an artist and is known for her Strawberry mark when signing damas!

Listen & enjoy this mellow & humorous interview with the one and only, Miya Song.

Special thanks:
Molly Harney (@mollmollz)
Haley Bishoff (@hbishhh)
Miya Song (@_Miyasong)
Jack Baker – Production (@freewheelinfilm)
KendamaUSA – Premiere Sponsor (@KendamaUSA)
Click Clack Radio (@clickclackradio)

Don’t forget to use the code “CLICKCLACK” to get 10% off your order at www.KendamaUSA.com

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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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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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Derek Astin Featured in Local Magazine

Tribe member Derek Astin recently had a column written about him and his Kendama skills in a local Utah magazine called “Draper Lifestyle.”

Kendama used: Wyatt Bray Champ Mod
Link to Dereks Article

Special thanks to Draper Lifestyle and columnist Kelly Erickson for writing such an amazing article about Derek.

 

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Community Spotlight – Kim Sturdavant Social Kitchen and Brewery

With the launch of crafts we wanted to shine some light on some really crafty like hobbies like our favorite toy

Social Kitchen and Brewery, Kendama, Kendama USA, Craft Beer,

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Catch & Flow 2016 Interview with Wyatt Bray

Jake Wiens got a chance to catch up with Wyatt about their trip to Japan for Catch & Flow 2016:

Jake: Yo Wyatt! We are back in the states after an epic trip for Catch & Flow. You were all over the place. From late night sessions to the podium on the main stage at Catch & Flow.  Lets talk about your trip. How many times have you been to Japan now?  It seems like you are a regular. 

Wyatt: Wassup Jake. Yeah this trip to Japan was epic. As of this trip it has been my 4th time to Japan now, I swear each trip seems to get better and better. Once you start to understand how to ride the train, order your dinner, and find the venue it’s a lot easier to feel less like a tourist and more at home haha!

Jake: What makes Japan trips so epic for you?   

Wyatt: Everything! Most of the time you are there you don’t get to just hangout. Each day the crew mobs to different places. Some days I would just find sick film spots and grind, others with the whole KUSA crew checking out the city (sometimes shopping with Weins&Fuegz), playing ken with Nobu, clubbing with the GT Crew, being there with the COTK team, climbing roofs with Bonz, Competing etc. Almost everything you do there is just so insane haha! You are always on your feet, always moving. It’s a lot at first yeah, but Japan really is the most epic place for a kendama player.

Jake: What specifically is special about Catch & Flow? 

Wyatt: Catch & Flow is a very special and unique freestyle event. Its not world cup,  it’s the gritty, cutthroat, do or die world championships. You give it all you got and hope to come out on top, but sometimes you don’t. No one is telling you what tricks to do, or giving you a list to practice,  you choose how you want to play kendama, you choose the tricks that you want to do and you choose how you want them to look. The next guy does the same thing and then the judges decide who was the dopest.

Jake: How was it battling Fish in the finals?  I was on stage right next to you guys and I could hardly contain myself it was so epic. 

Wyatt: Amazing! I love Fish, I have been playing with him for years now. It makes me really happy  knowing that he is a great friend of mine. Going against him in the finals of Catch & Flow was so great! Both of us were pretty nervous, we both wanted to give a great performance and show whoever watched the finals how sick kendama is. I think we both laced hard and gave a good show for everyone. So knowing that,  it was just sick to be up on that stage experiencing that with such a close friend of mine.

Jake: I have never seen you so stoked during a contest.  What made your stoke level 11 during this battle?

Wyatt: Haha I dunno! I guess I was just really stoked that I was lacing all my tricks. It’s a lot of pressure being on stage and its hard sometimes to really focus in and land the tricks that I want to. But during this comp I dunno, I just felt good, like I was in my natural habitat. I took all my nerves and tried to use them as fuel. Instead of being so nervous it just got me more excited I was able to stay positive . After that all the pressure lifted and I felt comfortable to go for what I wanted to and what I thought was fun.

Jake: What was the craziest thing you saw this trip to Japan?

Wyatt: The Underground BMX Battle at Club Asia was pretty insane. Nobu hopped on the mic and started MCing it! Then after words when we hopped on stage and started lacing! That was so wild!

Jake: What are your plans for next years Catch & Flow?

Wyatt: Stay Hungry!

Jake: Give the kids one piece of advise on how to never be soft.

Wyatt: Always play kendama how you want to. And work hard, forward moons ain’t easy!

Jake: Thanks Wyatt! 


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