Kendama USA

Archive for the ‘Team’ Category

#BISHMOD Kendama Sports A Crisp New Look

The Haley Bishoff Pro Model Kendama has a new look and updates that are sure to help you progress. The new colorway and packaging around Haley’s new pro model mirror the changes she sees in her environment; moving from Oregon to Nevada, forest to desert.

Custom artwork captures the essence of the desert and the beautiful hues seen in the sunsets there. A UV topographical map of Zion National Park wraps around the packaging and art. On the back of the box, you can visually climb one of Haley’s favorite routes in the park called Moonlight Buttress. On the Kendama, there are cacti under the slip stop, an engraved OG Tribute logo on the base cup, Haley’s engraved signature along with the ken, and gold engraved SHCL tribute to a Kendama pioneer who positively changed the lives of many around the world: Dave Mateo. Spike Hard Catch Low Forever.

“There’s something uniquely special about the desert. It brings a certain kind of appreciation to how something so simple can be so vast. As of now, the desert is home. There are not many other places in the world that bring such rich reds and deep oranges. The desert always provides.” – Haley Bishoff

Watch the unboxing to learn more about the #BISHMOD and an in-depth comparison to the v1.
Follow Haley and the Girls Kendama Collective.

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Dama to the Death 3 Recap!

On the last day of February 2020, Dama to the Death 3 went down in Orlando, Florida at Dead Lizard Brewing Company. Pros as well as many local Kendama players travelled out for this event, including Christian Fraser and Bjorn Reece from Sweets Kendamas, Alex Mitchell, Chad Covington, Lyndon Whalen, and Kevin DeSoto from Sol Kendamas, Isaac Turner from Lotus Kendamas, and Zach Magnuson and Josh Kim from Kendama USA!

The weather was perfect for jamming Kendama outside all day. After some announcements and vending, the event was kicked off with the Amateur Ken Tournament. If you are unfamiliar with Dama to the Death, the event consists of an Amateur KEN Tournament, and a Pro Freestyle Tournament, both double elimination style. The twist though, is that once you are knocked out of either tournament, you have to cut your Ken from your tama and burn it at the end of the event! Controversial? Maybe. A lot of fun and a new way to play? Absolutely.

As the Amateur KEN Tournament came down to the finals, the event moved from outside to inside the venue, with a stage and seating for everyone to watch. In the Amateur finals were Troy Monteagudo and Jacob Ogden AKA Squid. Troy had won all of his matches so far, and Squid had been working his way up the losers bracket for another chance in the finals! The first match went hard. Squid was able to beat Troy the first game, extending the match to a second game to crown the final champion. As the final match played out, Troy was able to take the final game, winning the Amateur KEN Tournament! Congrats to Troy for placing first, Jacob for second, and Ean for third! So awesome to see Florida take the entire podium for this tournament!

The next part of the competition was the Pro Freestyle Tournament. The nine freestyle players went head to head, each with two rounds of forty seconds to show off their hardest and most tech moves to the judges. As the bracket began thinning out, Kendama USA Tribe team members Zach Magnuson and Josh Kim were the ones to make it to the finals. Finally the time came for the judges to pick a winner. The crowd went silent waiting to see who would take first. As the flags went up, the crowd roared as the returning Dama to the Death Champ Zach Magnuson was able to defend his title! Congratulations to Mags for placing first, Josh Kim for second, and Kevin DeSoto for third! Zach used a Nobu Pro Model to win Dama to the Death 3! Click here to purchase your own Nobu Mod!

 

 Dama to the Death 3 Tournament Podiums

Finally the Tournaments were over, and the moment everyone was waiting for was about to happen. The event moved outside with the fire pit and all the Kens ready to burn. Troy and Zach went up to the mountain of Kens and together started the blaze marking the official end of the event. Dama to the Death 3 was one of my favorite events to go to, with a much more laid back vibe and unique take on competition. Special thank you to Honed Media for throwing this event, especially Ryan Reese, Marley Griggs, and Monika Knotts for all the hard work they put into making Honed Media what it is today! Make sure to check out the Honed Media Documentary here! If you ever have the chance to make it out to the next Dama to the Death, make sure to pull through for an awesome day filled with fun and Kendama!

- Josh Kim


Dama to the Death 3 Group Photo



 

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Battle at the Border 2020 Recap!

Battle at the Border 2020 was the best yet. The turnout, venue, and obviously Kendama made this weekend an absolute dream.  My BATB weekend started off with a rainy car ride up to Nashville from Atlanta. Despite the weather, I was excited to see all my friends that I haven’t hung out with since NAKO! Riding with me were Bryan Scagline and Logan Tosta. Jamming out to Scags’ playlist and talking dama made the 3.5hr trip a breeze and I was in great company. Once we arrived safely in Nashville, we met up with Daunyé and Wes and checked in to our rooms for the weekend. Later that night, Dwesty, Mags, and Wyatt made their way to Nashville as well.  After hanging out with everyone that night, I went to sleep a little early to get a good start to the competition the next day!

I woke up a little earlier than most, and made my way to Rocketown; the event venue, with Scags to set up the Kendama USA booth.
We debuted our new Kaizen Super Stick Half Splits coming out later this quarter, and also the birchwood #DWESTYMOD available now.  The start of the competition was great and I was surprised at the number of entries. I was also excited to see the video releases and product launches at the event. The first video to pop off was Tribe member Zach Magnuson’s POV Edit 3 which will be released soon. So many unimaginable tricks were laced in this edit, and the setting was perfect.

Shout out to the new Quill Flow Team, new Sweets members Bjorn Sorenson and Jacob Eames, and the newest Sol Kendamas Pro Alex Mitchell. All of the videos at the event were amazing, congratulations to all these players this weekend.

The first day of freestyle competition began after all the videos were premiered. The freestyle competition was intense! It was amazing to watch my teammates and friends compete at the event. After the first couple of rounds of competing, the day ended came to an end and before I knew it, day 2 was underway.

The KUSA team made it to the venue in time for the competition. The competition flew by, and soon, the final four freestyle competitors stood on the stage. I was so excited to be battling for one of the top spots, along with me Kendama USA Pro Dylan Westmoreland, Tribe Team Member Logan Tosta, and Sol Pro Liam Rauter. The battle for first was amazing, and seeing Logan win first place was momentous. Congratulations to Liam Rauter for placing second, and Dylan Westmoreland for placing third! Having three Kendama USA players place in the top four for freestyle was incredible! Great job to everyone who competed in freestyle, and congratulations again to Logan Tosta for placing first.

Click HERE to check out Logan’s winning setup!

Freestyle Top 3

The rest of the day switched to the Pro Open division. Three matches were held on stage at the same time, and the bracket began to begin to narrow down to the top four competitors Dylan Westmoreland, Alex Mitchell, Kevin DeSoto, and Jacob Trebil. The battle for first was intense, with Kendama USA Pro Dylan Westmoreland and Sol Pro Alex Mitchell moving on to the finals! The match was intense and Alex Mitchell was able to clutch out the win! Congrats to Jacob for taking third, Dylan for taking second, and Alex for 1st place! I was so proud to see Kendama USA podium in both Open and Freestyle and can’t wait to see the things Kendama USA will do in this new year.

Open Top 3!

After the competition, during the awards ceremony, Kendama Cares took the stage with an amazing gift for the Kendama USA family. A shadow box for Dave was gifted to us, along with a purple candle in the shape of a hand making a peace symbol, and a quartz crystal dedicated to Dave. Thank you so much to Kendama Cares, and especially Arque for putting together this amazing memorial for Dave. Dave will forever be remembered in our lives. We miss you, Dave.

The final day of Battle at the Border 2020 was a nice day to unwind and chill. Everyone met at the Parthenon and jammed dama while people began slowly making their own ways. Tricks were filmed, people hung out, it was a great time. But like everything, this weekend had to come to an end. As we drove back to Atlanta that evening, I couldn’t be more happy with how this weekend went. Thank you again to Sol Kendamas for hosting this event! Kendama USA can’t wait to come back next year for Battle 2021. Make sure to check out last year’s recap of Battle at the Border HERE!

Until next time, keep shredding everyone!

Author: Josh Kim
Photography: Kota Kagoshima

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AGKO 2019 Recap

AGKO Girls!

I’m in a van full of Kendama players blasting early 2000′s Emo Punk music as we all take turns to yank spike a mini Kendama on our road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. That’s how my weekend started leading up to the All-Girls Kendama Open!

I got to join my friends @kmarqued @cho.dama @stephlussier @nikki_deo & @karendufus on our journey to AGKO. We rented a van, stocked up on food & drinks, (a whole lotta SunChips), good vibes, and a playlist full of nostalgic music! The first hour or so we were stuck in classic LA traffic but it didn’t matter at all because we were all having so much fun already, and everyone was just so hyped to be together in one place! In the car we would lace tricks with a mini Kendama we brought along, and during our pit stops, we’d have a film sesh or just jam to stretch out our bodies. We would even practice the AGKO trick list. It was honestly a Kendama road trip that I’ve always wanted, and I already knew at that moment that it was gonna be such a fun and unforgettable weekend!

The following day was the big day. We had a whole day of free time until the competition, so we decided to check out Seven Magic Mountains and film some tricks there. I ran into a group of Japanese tourists and they noticed my Kendama, so of course, I got them to try it out. They all took turns trying to spike, and one of them already knew how to play and managed to lace Around Japan first try! I taught him how to Lighthouse and he managed to get it after a few tries! He was so stoked and it gave me so much joy!

We then headed to the venue Distrct Arts where I was welcomed by a whole lot of familiar and unfamiliar faces. It was such a crazy experience meeting friends I’d known for over a year online and also meeting people I didn’t know but was able to connect thanks to Kendama. I was also welcomed by organizers Haley Bishoff, Carolina Herrera, and Kevin DeSoto. Some of them I was meeting for the first time but was warmly welcomed like we’ve known each other for a long time. The whole room was just filled with such good vibes and it was so beautiful to see so many purple colors everywhere and I could feel so much love in that room.

As well as the main competition, 7 to Spike was also planned for the event. As I was registering for the competition, I suddenly decided to try out 7 to Spike. I saw the list of names who had signed up for it and I thought I wouldn’t be much of a competition to those people and I might end up embarrassing myself not being able to lace anything in such a freestyle situation which I didn’t have any experience in. But I knew it won’t matter at all as long as I have fun. It was also an opportunity I knew I won’t come across often, and I thought it would be the best way to celebrate Dave Mateo. Just going out there and having fun. And I’m so glad that I decided to do so! The whole energy I felt was incredible, I was honestly a little nervous and shaky going up there at first so I wasn’t able to land any tricks. But the crowd’s reactions to seeing what I was attempting gave me so much energy and helped calm me down. Everyone was so supportive and encouraging! I’ll never forget that energy I felt during that game!

The competitions were also such an amazing experience. This was my first ever competition and big event so it was even my first time watching a competition live! It was so exciting being able to support my friends compete in person! I was shouting and screaming so much with excitement with everyone that I was starting to have a sore throat! There were so many great matches and it was so inspiring to watch everyone compete! I wish I could talk more about the competitions and some of the matches I got to see, but the whole day felt so surreal to me that it’s all kind of a blur. But I remember every emotion that I felt. I remember somehow managing to lace tricks on stage that I really struggled with leading up to the competition and scooping up spikes which I was proud of. It was honestly such a privilege getting to compete against Nikki, Jenny, and Steph in the Open Division and sharing the stage. It was so calming getting to face my friends in a competition when I thought I would be so nervous, and genuinely getting excited whenever they scored a point against me! The whole competition was like a roller coaster of excitement.

For the final round, it was me against Steph. We had a very suspenseful match but I managed to take the lead with Opposite Hand Around the World as I scooped up a spike onto one knee. When I was announced as the winner, I honestly couldn’t believe it. I never would’ve imagined I would take the win at my first ever competition. Just being there in that place at that moment with all my friends was already a win for me. So it was all such a surreal experience that I will never forget and a memory I will treasure forever! I’ll forever be grateful to everyone who made this event possible and to all the friends I got to spend time with on this journey. It sure was such an incredible experience and I’m so inspired to play Kendama more than ever! I hope to make it out to more events in the future!

- Lisa Komatsubara @lisakendama

 

Check out the Kendama Lisa used to win the AGKO here!

 

AGKO Winners!

AGKO Winners

First Place – Lisa Komatsubara (center)

Second Place – Steph Lussier (right)

Third Place – Jenny Cho (left)

AGKO 2019

 

 

 

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[2019] North American Kendama Open (NAKO) Recap!

NAKO Recap!We had a blast hanging with the Kendama community at this year’s NAKO event; renamed from Minnesota Kendama Open (MKO).  Repping KUSA were Bryan Scagline, Zach Magnuson, Nobu Nori, Rui Sora, Josh Kim, Daunyé Synigal, Dylan Westmoreland, Oliver Malby, Haley Bishoff, Wyatt Bray, Logan Tosta and Alex Smith. Great job to all those that competed, especially Zach Magnuson who took third in open, Oliver Malby who took third in freestyle, Nobu Nori who took second in freestyle, and Josh Kim who won the Yank Spike Contest!

The competition this year was great! So many players coming from all over the country to play Kendama is always such an amazing and unique experience. And the new venue this year was amazing. The first two days in the hotel were perfect for jamming Kendama and watching the competition go down! And the last day in the Varsity Theater was incredible to see the finals take place! Good Kendama, awesome friends, and amazing weather on Sunday made this weekend unforgettable! Congratulations to Motty for taking first in Open, and Nick Gallagher for taking first in Freestyle! Kendama USA was proud to be able place on every podium this year! We can’t wait to see our players compete at other competitions and the next NAKO!

Post competition on Saturday, the Downspike awards were a huge success! Getting to award the community for all their hard work and creative genius is the best. Thank you to Alex Smith and the Sander Brothers for hosting! Make sure to get on Downspike at downspike.com, or download the mobile app on your phone to always be in the loop with Kendama! And that’s right, Colin Sander was at NAKO this year helping judge freestyle and host the Downspike Awards! Hopefully we will be seeing more of Colin in upcoming events. And of course, a special thank you to Sweets Kendamas and all of the gracious volunteers for hosting another great event!

Thank you again, until next year MN!

NAKO Podium Open

NAKO Podium Freestyle

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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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Have you seen Zach Magnuson’s latest Kendama edit yet?

Here are 10 comments pulled from the Kendama edit as to why you should watch this edit right now!

“Amazing honestly this inspires me to go outside and just jam”

“Seriously had to watch the majority of the clips like three times ! You absolute monster wtf !! Best edit I’ve seen in so long.. hell ya man !”

“Every trick was a banger, phenomenal edit Mags”

“That edit was the definition of Kendama”

“This was amazing! Definitely the best edit I’ve seen in a while!”

“This isn’t ok. I’ve watched this edit at least 12 times and i still can’t process how ZMAGS is doing this.”

“One of the best edits I’ve seen! Seriously man, keep it up, amazing work!”

“Oh.”

“This is insane”

“Absolutely crazy. very inspiring.”

⚠️ WARNING – This video will make you want to get out and sesh Kendama. ⚠️

Zach Magnuson POV Kendama Edit #2 2019https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2gWa30BEBM

 

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Introducing Craft Colors | Painted Craft Kendamas

“Go to the Valley of Fire they said, the dessert is epic they said.. (plot twist) IT WAS!”

The Craft Sandstorm and Graphite Kendamas were inspired by a trip to Nevada’s Valley of Fire! The 2017 Toy Fest West show was going down in Las Vegas and during a free day, Scags and Jero ventured a few hours out of the city lights to the great shifting sand dunes. The landscapes were so perfect it was crazy to comprehend what we were seeing! Pictures, clips, tricks, we had to be Abel to share this experience somehow!

After snapping a few pictures and reassuring ourselves that the views were THIS epic – we had to pay the memory forward and design these colors for tamas!

Pick up a Craft Color from Kendama USA and create your own ventures, memories, and stories to share!

Check out the edit and get lost in the landscapes that the Valley of Fire.

Check out the edit and get lost in the Valley of Fire’s landscapes .

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Zack Yourd Kendama Edit #7 Lives!

Zack Yourd Kendama Edit #7

So unless you’re WiFi is out, you had to have heard about the legendary Kendama USA pro Zack Yourd releasing his NEWEST and arguably most creative video yet – Kendama Edit #7! The Video dropped yesterday, August 1st, at noon and the kendama community snapped! The video reached over 3 thousand views within the first 24 hours. Not viral, but notable views for an older kendama player dropping a new video in 2018. Players from all over the globe (really) spoke out about how the video made them feel!

So much so that we had to share some of the comments on this video!

“Inspired me to start playing kendama and inspires me to keep playing kendama!”

“We need more people that play like Zach. For the fun of it. The curiosity of what can be done with a Kendama. You’re truly and forever a legend Zach, I hope in 20 years people still try to play like you do.”

“This edit gives a different perspective on kendama

“What a legend”

“What I love about this is the absence of popular styles of tricks. Every trick here blew my mind in some way since it was so different than what I’m used to seeing!! Great job Yourd, keep it up!!!”

“This video just puts me in the same awe as when I very first started Kendama! Just the way the tricks are designed pushes a crazy level of technicality and suspense that, to me, is unbelievable once completed! Thanks for reminding me of that feeling!”

“So i’m in the beginning stages of kendama. I’m at month seven. But I’ve never been able to find inspiration for tricks that i actually like and enjoy. The variety that you did was so much different than anyone I’ve ever seen. So i guess i should be thanking you for the inspiration. That was so sick”

“Hands down one of the best edits of all time.”

“That was amazing. Truly worth the wait.”

“So stoked to see a kendama film from the legend himself. New tricks, same steez. We need to make an active push as a community to create more content like this in the future.”

“Best. Edit. Of. The. Year.”

— and the comments continue on with love and stoke for Edit #7! Thank you Yourd for only putting out A1 work and thank you to everyone that enjoyed the edit and took something away from it!

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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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All Girls Kendama Tour Recap

The All Girls Kendama Event 2017 was the first of its kind. A series of contests for women, all hosted by female players in the scene, in three different countries. KendamaUSA’s tribute member Haley Bishoff teamed up with some a few other kendama players in the community to create an incredible event!

All Girls Kendama Event Trick List Video:

 

First Stop: Portland, OR.

Haley Bishoff, Carolina Herrera & Molly Harney hosted the first stop in Portland, OR in August at the Portland Pastimes & Velo Cult complex. Almost 100 people came out to support, with about 15 competitors. KendamaUSA’s Tribe member Miya Song took 1st in the Open division, with Emmy Evans coming close in 2nd. Chelsea May Perez from Sweets took 3rd! The Portland event was surely special, because it was the first ever All Girls Kendama Event in the United States.

Special shout outs: Carolina Herrera, Molly Harney, Masako Hosoi, Arque Richards Pagh, Kristin Olinyk, Dave Mateo, Portland Pastimes & all the sponsors.

You can buy a limited run T-Shirt from the Portland event HERE!

http://www.shcl.bigcartel.com/product/2017-all-girl-kendama-t-shirt-unisex

Next Stop: Tokyo, Japan.

Haley and Yuka Hyuga from Gloken put together the second stop.

The Tokyo event was once again, such a success with 100 attendees and 39 competitors, making this the largest All Girls Kendama Event, EVER! This year’s event was the second all girls kendama event in Japan. In 2015, Haley and Yuka hosted another event in Osaka, Japan. But this year’s event was so much bigger with a way higher skill level. Huge congratulations to all the competitors and winners.

Special shout outs: Yuka Hyuga, Mirai from Tokyo Dama Girls for MCing, DJ Moco, Peter Richards, Zawa, Gloken & all the sponsors.

You can watch both Tokyo Recap Videos Below!

Third and Final Stop: Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
The Taiwan scene is incredibly special, a collection of close friends who just genuinely love kendama. The innovative mini games that Super Friends Kendy has created made the event so fun and interactive for everyone who came out. This time, 100 people attended with 32 female competitors.
Special shout outs: JiJan Chen for creating all the beautiful artwork on the flyers for all three events and MCing the Taiwan event alongside her brother, Jiaziu Chen. Duck, Janet & Rain from South Kendama for being such gracious hosts to Haley and Yuka, and of course, SUPER FRIENDS KENDY!

Watch the Taiwan Recap HERE!

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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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