Kendama USA

Posts Tagged ‘california’

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.

Continue Reading...

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.

 

Continue Reading...

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.

Continue Reading...

Sakura Classic 2017 | April 8th & 9th


The Sakura Classic is going down during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco on April 8th & 9th from 11AM – 7PM. It’s Totally FREE including Pro Workshops, mini-games, prizes, and more!

The Sakura Classic is made possible by the Consulate General of Japan San Francisco, Kendama USA, The Kengarden, the KG Tues Crew, Grain Theory, and the NCCBF.
Be sure and head over to the Sign-Up Page to learn more, sign-up & get a schedule of events & trick lists.

Continue Reading...

Kendama Is – Feat. Haley Bishoff

Everyone’s Kendama story is different, as is what it means to them. Haley Bishoff, Kendama USA Tribute Team Member, explains what Kendama means to her, its benefits, and the positive impacts it’s had on her life.
What is Kendama to you? Tell us in the comments section below!

 

Haley’s Favorite Kendamas

Continue Reading...

LEZDAMA – “Let’s Dama” 2

The 2nd Annual Let’s Dama event in Long Beach, CA was an amazing event. It was put on by local LA crew; LEZDAMA.
Over 100 people attended the day long event as did sponsored players and vendors from several different companies.

Let's Dama 2 - Summer 2016 - Kendama USA

Many sponsored players that attended the event showed up with some fantastic giveaways. One of which was one of a kind REZ Kendama that went to Charity Cristobal.

We showed our support with Colin Sander, Derek Astin, Haley Bishoff & Dylan Westmoreland all in attendance.
(Pictured below from left to right)

Other sponsored players included EJ Williams from RWB, Steph Lussier & Kristian Aynedter of Grain Theory, Chelsea Perez & Alex Hirota for Sweets Kendamas and Molly Harney from DWI plus many more.

The winner of the Advanced Open Divison was local Emmy Evans. Reppin’ hard for the all the lady shredders out there. In 2nd and 3rd were Tribe Members Derek Astin and Dylan Westmorland

For the intermediate ladders we had Kevin Luong taking 1st . Gabe Romo taking 2nd . Parker Smith taking 3rd

For the Beginner Ladders they had Dylan Trast taking 1st  @btampu taking 2nd taking 3rd @mgdama

Lady Shredders of the LEZDAMA LA Squad

Haley Bishoff described the event as “an incredible day for the progression of female Kendama. The event was put on by all girls and the winner of the open division was a young female who actually won the beginner bracket at last years’ Lets Dama. Seeing how female Kendama has evolved makes me psyched as ever and I’m very happy I can be apart of it.”

Continue Reading...

Gavin Harvey is TRIBE!

Gavin Harvey - Kendama USA | Tribe Team
Please welcome Gavin Harvey to the Kendama USA family. We are proud to announce Gavin as Tribe! He is one of the most technical kids in the Kendama community. A few years back Dave Mateo first met Gavin at a small school event with Logan Tosta in Sacramento. Just like Logan, Dave believed that Gavin had high potential of being a great role model and leader for the next generation. Not only has Gavin rocketed his skill since then, he has also continued spread the love of the game through out Sacramento and progressed the players around him. Check out Gavin’s announcement video below.

 

 

We are excited to see what will come with your future in Kendama. Congratulations and welcome to the family. -Kendama USA Team
 

Continue Reading...

Local 12-Year-Old Amongst the World’s Best Kendama Players

Logan Tosta - Kendama USA - Tribe Team

Tosta to represent Kendama USA at World Cup.
By John Hull – Citizen Sports Editor
Published: Friday, July 8, 2016 10:47 AM PDT
Elk Grove Citizen – News

Logan Tosta is a normal 12-year-old boy that lives in Elk Grove. He plays soccer, will be trying out for a part in a musical in a community theatre company. He plays basketball.

But, the soon-to-be seventh grader at Joseph Kerr Middle School is also one of the best Kendama players in the country.

In fact, Kendama USA has asked Tosta to be a part of our country’s representation at the Kendama World Cup, July 23 and 24 in Hatsukaichi, Japan.

In recent years, Kendama has become a craze, mainly amonst young people, but several older folks have played with the strangely-shaped wooden dowel with a round ball attached via a short rope. In fact, a couple of Tosta’s Kendama USA teammates are in their 30’s.

Kendama has been around for centuries. It’s origination is in Japan. Kendama is a toy, generally made from wood, with a main body, “ken”, a spike on the top, “kensaki”, a large cup on one side of the ken, “osara”, a smaller cup on the opposite side, “kozara” and it has a short string, “ito”, with a small ball, “tama,” attached. When playing with a Kendama the object is to do a series of tricks such as swinging the ball in the air and having it land on the spike or one of the cups.

Logan’s father, Seth, says his son has been a Kendama player since he was in third grade and now it is not unusual for him to be practicing all his tricks six to eight hours a day.

“It’s one of those things where his friends stopped playing Kendama, but he kept playing and kept playing and he’s got pretty good,” Seth said. “He’s put in hours and hours into it and always is playing (a Kendama).”

Kendama USA, the biggest manufacturer of Kendamas in this country., discovered Logan and is now sponsoring him in competitions on what is known as the “TRIBE” team.

“There’s some really stellar players on this TRIBE team including last year’s World Cup champion,” Seth said.

This year will be the third year for the Kendama World Cup, considered to be the Super Bowl of all Kendama competitions. Tosta and his teammates will compete individually against others from literally all over the world. The top prize will be $5,000.

“This is the pinnacle of their sport,” Seth said. “It’s put on by GLOKEN, a company that makes Kendamas.”

A typical Kendama competition is a two-round affair. In the first round, each competitor will have two three-minute periods to perform a set of tricks. In the first period, a competitor selects five tricks to do. There’s a break in time and then in the second three-minute period, the competitor selects another five tricks to perform.

GLOKEN establishes a list of 100 tricks from which the competitors may choose. Every trick has a point value attached, anywhere from one to ten points.

“In each period you want to accumulate as many points as you can to advance to the finals,” Seth explained. “If you have enough points to finish in the top 24 then you move onto the finals.”

Last year the finalists scored 70 or more points in the opening rounds.

In the final round each competitor will get three-minutes on a stage in front of typically a large and boisterous crowd cheering him one as he does as many tricks as possible.

“The only different (in the finals) is that everything is ‘squared’ for your point totals,” Tosta said. “If you hit a ten-point trick on the finals’ stage, that’s worth 100 points.”

The points earned in the final three-minute period is added to the points in the earlier rounds for each competitor’s final score.

The competition will be live streamed on the GLOKEN website, gloken.net.

Seth admits he, too, likes to fiddle around with the Kendama.

“It would be funny to watch me as compared to Logan and his friends with the Kendama,” he laughed. “It’s comparing a world-class player to a novice.”

The past several months the entire family has been traveling across the country with Logan as he’s been entering different competitions.

“It’s really special to meet cool people that are into a niche thing,” Seth said. “He’s just 12-years old and most of the people competing are in their 20’s and they treat him like one of their own. They support him and look out for him. It’s something we thought would be a flash-in-the-pan for him, but he’s been so dedicated and consistent with it, not because he had to, but because he’s passionate about it.”

See the original story here:

http://www.egcitizen.com/articles/2016/07/08/sports/doc577fe5beedcec502335080.txt

Continue Reading...

Dylan Westmoreland is TRIBE

We are proud to announce our newest member of the TRIBE; Dylan Westmoreland from Murrieta, CA. Dylan started playing Kendama in the summer of 2014. His first Kendama was borrowed from a friend and once hooked he finally snagged one for himself. Tribute member TJ Kolesnik has been able to see him grow as a Kendama player since day 1. Dylan attended his first Kendama contest in Southern California  which was hosted by TJ in Southern California. From there, he went on to winning video contests, traveling to cities to compete and being active in the community via YouTube / Instagram / Facebook, etc… showing all his progression.

We are happy to welcome Dylan to the team. 15 years old and killing the game. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and how you’ll grow with our company.

Be sure to check out his TRIBE Announcement video below, as well as a collection of photos below of jams, events and contests Dylan has attended.

 

WELCOME TO THE TRIBE

Continue Reading...

Wyatt Bray – Oakland Slay Days

World Champion, Wyatt Bray had a chance to film with Jake Wiens in Oakland CA for his new video part with Kendama USA.

“Over 3 Days we explored Oakland and laid down some of the crazies tricks for the camera.  It was amazing to have the time to properly document Wyatt.  He has such crazy energy and a drive that is unmatched by any other player.  When he gets into a zone he is in it until he gets it.  I was prepared to film for hours on each trick only to have wyatt bang each one out with the quickness.  TJ Kolesnik came along for the 2 days coaching and documenting behind the scenes.  This was the dream squad.  There was so much support and drive to make this something amazing and memorable. ”

Enjoy Wyatt Bray in “Oakland Slay Days”

 

-Jake Wiens

Continue Reading...

Dave Mateo Turns Pro for Kendama USA

We are honored, humbled, and excited to announce Dave Mateo as the newest member of the Kendama USA Pro Team. Dave brings a unique flow, energy, and style to the world of Kendama. Dave’s raw talent, passion, and dedication continues to be an inspiration to countless Kendama players around the globe. He has been a leading force for developing strong grassroots Kendama scenes, most notably in Sacramento and Las Vegas. He has also spearheaded multiple community projects, including the National Kendama Retreat.

Dave Mateo Turns Pro for Kendama USA

Since day one, Dave has been extremely generous and selfless in his approach to enrich and spread Kendama culture. His passion for Kendama is undeniable, and his signature style is unmistakable. Dave has been a key part of Kendama USA for several years now, helping both publicly and behind the scenes. He continues to challenge his own limits and is committed to pushing others toward their dreams. We’ve been truly blessed to have Dave as part of our family, and we’re excited for this next chapter to unfold. Please join us in welcoming Dave Mateo to the Kendama USA Pro Team.

Continue Reading...

New Kaizen Kendamas Now Available!

They’re here! 16 brand new Kaizen styles & color ways! Everyday last week we released a few new products keeping everyone on the edge of their seats and hyped about all the new products. But just in case you missed it all, here is a pic showing everything that we released. So grab yours today or get them on your wishlists ASAP and share with friends and family!

2015 New Kaizens Released

PRESS RELEASE

Continue Reading...