In November 2012 the Kendama USA Pro Team traveled to Japan to explore Kendama’s roots, players, and experience the homeland of this game that has changed all of our lives. This is the full length edit of our travels and tricks. Edited by Colin Sander.
Archive for the ‘Video’ Category
Kendama USA, Gloken, and Razor Sports teamed up to put on Yo-Dama Fest 2 on Oahu with special guest Krom Kendama. This was a 3 day event of non-stop kendama action! There were competitions, mini games, classes with pros, and much more! We had a ton of fun putting this on and we cannot wait to come back! For more information on the event and our trip to Hawaii check out a write up Keith Matsumura did right HERE
words by Keith Matsumura
Japan. It’s the birthplace of Kendama, and over one hundred years since the invention of this wooden skill toy that we all love so much, it’s still there and becoming more popular. For me this past summer, July of 2013 to be exact, I was able to travel to Japan to go to the World Kendama Open and the first ever Global Kendama Cup, which will make a return as the Kendama World Cup this coming July. I got to go in large part because of the prize money from my win at Dama Fest, and I can’t think of anything else I should have spent that money on instead. I got to go and meet some of the most legendary kendama players alive, as well as experience Japanese culture in a way I would never have imagined doing. Gloken (Global Kendamas Network) helped me out by letting me attach to their group of players and foreigners that were seeing Japan and going to the competitions. I can’t thank Mr. Imata and the Kubota family enough for housing me and feeding me while I was there!
A lot of players from outside of Japan made the trek as well. Matt Ballard, my good friend that I grew up with, came along with KROM and to shoot video (see above!). Rodney Ansell, Kristin Olinyk, and Alex Smith came from Canada, Thorkild May and Philip Eldridge came from Denmark, and Matt Decoteau and Trevor Starnes also came from the United States. These people plus our Japanese guides and friends composed a group of people that I had the time of my life with. It’s amazing what Kendama can do. It can bring people from all over the world to the same place to meet and do what they love together.
I even had the opportunity to meet Kazuma Iwata!
He met us on Miyajima Island and let us have the privilege of being the first people outside of the project to see the new Mugen Musous. Kazuma’s personal kendama that he was using was an emerald mugen. That day he told me that I could practice with and use his personal kendama for the World Kendama Open and Gloken Cup. He then went on to tell me that if I won Gloken Cup he would let me keep it. Well, I didn’t win. I tied Kenta Sakamoto for 3rd place with a loss to Satoru Akimoto (who better to lose to!), which I was ecstatic about except for the fact that I understood that this meant that I would need to give the emerald mugen back to Kazuma. Kazuma was not with us anymore and my instructions were to give it back to Tamotsu Kubota, who would get it back to Kazuma. We all went out to a park after Gloken Cup to set off fireworks, play kendama, and apparently to release all kinds of energy that we found somewhere. After it was all said and done, Tamotsu told me it was time to hand back the emerald mugen. I gave it back to him, only to be presented it as a gift from Kazuma right back. As far as epic moments in my life go, this was certainly near the top. Thank you Kazuma!
Some of us got together for a group photo during World Kendama Open.
I also had a really great time getting to know and hang out with Easy from Zoomadanke (Hiroki Iijima). My last day in Japan was spent with just Tamotsu and Iji. We ate good food, got too many mosquito bites trying to film around a small river, and sessioned in the train station for an hour or two before Easy’s train left.
I was there in Japan for less than a couple of weeks, maybe really just a bit over a week, but it was without a doubt some of the best times in my life. I had so much fun there it’s indescribable. More than that, though, was my joy in getting to be immersed in Japanese and Kendama culture entirely for a little while. I’m half Japanese myself, and because of that I have always been interested in that part of my heritage. I’ve wanted to see Japan since I was very little, and to get the chance to do it in such a fashion as I got to is amazing. I encourage all of you, if you ever have the chance to make it to Japan, do it, and enjoy the vending machines for me! (Everything comes in such small cans, I love it).
It was a big step for me in my kendama career to play kendama in Japan, even see the birthplace of Kendama, and hang out with legendary Japanese players. I can’t wait to go again someday. Huge thanks to KendamaUSA and Global Kendama Network for helping me and giving me the opportunity to live out dreams and do what I love. I’m working so that someday I can hopefully provide that same kind of dream-fulfilling opportunity to others.
Always have to get some food after playing Kendama all day long.
A personal thank you goes to Tamotsu for making this trip work for me. You’re the man! (This picture was in the airport right before I left)
I hope you all enjoy the video from the trip, and if you read what I had to say than I hope you enjoyed that too!
Dama on friends, here’s to community and good times with Kendama!
- Keith M.
Zack Yourd brings you his newest edit showcasing some creative ways to spin with a kendama and on a snowboard!
Colin Sander is our most veteran player here at Kendama USA, he has paved the way for Kendama in the Untied States by being one of the first to start making progressive edits online. Here we are showcasing all his edits in order from 1-9 (except #6 DVD only) plus some single tricks and some other videos he has put together! Enjoy!
DVD only edit!
Single Trick #1
Single Trick #2
Single Trick #4
Single Trick #5
2013 Cherry wood pro model edit!
Relax for a second, take notes, and watch Jake Wiens play kendama is his spot.
Hawaii was amazing! I have never seen so many people playing Kendama in my life! 1800 people signed up to the Yo-Dama battle before we had to cut it off. 5000 people total were at the event. Choke players were there! It was great to get some time on Oahu an meet the people and the players. Hawaii is definitely where it’s happenin. Amazing hospitality and kindness from everyone. Huge thank you to Razor Sports and Pearl Ridge Mall for their support and dedication. We will be back soon!
For 2014 we wanted to continue growing the Tribute family. Instead of doing a video contest this year, we decided to keep our eyes open for the right person during our travels and events. The Tribute team is one of the most diverse Kendama crews in the world. Each member has their own unique style and personality. The Tribute team travels together, plays together, and evolves together constantly. When it comes to choosing another team member, we look at not only the Kendama play, and but also the type of person you are.
We are very excited and honored to introduce the newest member of the team and family, Haley Bishoff.
Haley has an extensive skill set that that rivals even the most seasoned ninjas. Not only does she slay Kendama, she also is skilled in gymnastics, slackline, yoyo, and epic ba$ketballer videos. She is one of the most chill people to hang with or jam dama and is always down to learn new tricks and teach others. After meeting her a few times on tour and at yoyo events, the whole Kendama USA crew knew it was a perfect match. Haley is Trib.
It was also an unwritten requirement that you be able to do back flips. Haley passed that test with an A+. Welcome to the family Haley!
It’s amazing how much one place can influence a person. All of us here at Kendama USA are influenced by the birthplace of kendama… Japan. A portion of our team was honored to be invited to visit the birthplace of kendama for sessions, meetings, product-releases, and plotting the future course of our sport.
It was destined to be an amazing time, and who better than Colin Sander to showcase it to you. Let’s be real… we were there because Kazuma Iwata, the maker of MUGEN, was coming back.
Enjoy next-level tricks, a star-studded juggler list, and all of the unpredictable beauty that the far east bestows upon us with each visit. This is Kendama USA’s Gloken Musou Tour edit. Japan 2013.
This trip and all the events around it would not have been possible without an endless list of helpers, performers, shops, hosts, and so on. Watch the video, and you’ll catch them all in there.
Special thanks to:
Matt Sweets Jorgenson
With Support From
By far the most serious edit we will put out all year. Happy Holidays.
Kendama USA and Gloken partner to bring some of your favorite kendama-shredders to Japan. These are the shenanigans that ensued on only the flight over. Get stoked for the rest.
This was shot & cut on planes.
Edit by the one and only, Colin Sander.
Thanks to everybody on flight DL283 for letting the mid-flight dama session go down.
We couldn’t be more honored and excited to announce Jake Wiens as the new 2013 Kendama USA Pro Team Member.
Jake has been an awe inspiring figure in the Kendama community for as long as I can remember. The roots he planted during the first backyard Kengarden battles in San Francisco have grown into something none of us could have imagined. Jake brings an unmatched energy and enthusiasm to the game, and shares a true passion for introducing Kendama to new players around the world. With all the collaborations, mutual support, amazing events, and incredible dama journeys over the past few years, it’s a very well deserved spot.
This edit takes you into Jakes life in San Francisco, with stories from some of his closest friends and inspirations.
Jake’s Pro Model Kendama will be released in 2014. Welcome to the family.
Big thanks to Colin Sander for the incredible production quality, and to Tori Sander for the crispy stills. Shoutouts to Matt Rice, Harald Boyesen, Andy Olive, Guy Wright, and Sourmash for their contributions to this production.