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Posts Tagged ‘jake wiens’

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.

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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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Kendama USA Presents – Kaizen Craft

We’re excited to launch the newest development from Kendama USA:  The Kaizen Craft.  This line of Kendamas is designed and hand crafted by Kendama players and manufactured right here in the USA. We are introducing 2 entirely new shapes: The Kaizen 2.0 and the Kaizen Slim.  Numerous improvements include larger cup sizes, arched cup rims, a refined slip stop, and a new sarado shape that slings amazing while keeping prime lunar balance.  The exceptional craftsmanship is unlike anything we’ve created so far, and we know you’re going to love it.  This is our Craft.

Get yours today from our Online Store HERE.

 

 

 

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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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Kendama USA x KDMA // Official MKO Warm Up Mix

MKO is around the corner and everyone is getting prepared for the contest. Each year the freestyle contest gets more and more intense as overall skill and creativity evolves in the Kendama world. The finals is without a doubt one of the most hype moments during the contest. This year we are very excited to have our very own Jake Wiens on stage not as an MC or a competitor but as a DJ! Jake has been producing mixes catered to Kendama play and is taking his skills LIVE to the main stage to provide the beats to fuel the freestyle gladiators as they put their skills to the test.

Jake has put together a live recording of his “SESH” mixtape that features a taste of whats to come during the freestyle contest. Make sure to download the mix for free, grab some homies, and SESH!

LISTEN / DOWNLOAD NOW!
https://soundcloud.com/thesoundoflite/sesh-mko-warm-up-mix

TRACK LISTING

MAD TING – SWINDLE
DROP DOWN – LADY BEE
Heard Me – RL GRIME
Sweat Dreams – HEX COUGAR
Tambo Remix – MR CARMACK
Animal – BRO SAFARI , UFO!
ili – TROYBOI
ODB Shimmy Shimmy Ya – MR CARMACK
Voyage Feat. Zepher – PART NATIVE
Ceramic Drips – MORE//NIGHT
Meet in the Middle (REMIX) – EKALI

 

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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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Jake Wiens VS Tribute Jumbos

Jake has been experimenting with new play styles using the Tribute Jumbos. Playing string-less opens up new tricks and adding a second ken to the mix changes everything. Check it out in his new edit.

 

 

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Catch & Flow 2016 Recap

Catch & Flow 2016 was a smashing success! Congrats to Jake Fisher for taking 1st place. Our very own Wyatt Bray took 2nd and KROM’s Bonz Atron took 3rd. The event was full of shredders from around the world showing off their style and flow in this freestyle event. It was awesome to have Nobu and Jake MC the event again this year and bring that extra energy to the stage.

Here is what Kenyatta and Dave thought of the event:

“Catch & Flow was definitely an experience of a lifetime! Everything was beyond memorable from seeing Friends halfway across the world to meeting new Japanese players I didn’t think I would ever have opportunity to meet. I loved the vibe of the competition. Awesome to have Harold DJing the event. I genuinely felt love from everyone I was fortunate enough to let and spend time with. I truly look forward to next years event.” – Kenyatta

“This years Catch & Flow competition was another epic one for the history books, the talent and skill level just gets more and more insane every year.” -Dave.

 

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Sakura Classic 2016 Recap

Sakura Classic this year was bigger than ever, with an amazing first place prize for the amateur bracket – an all expenses paid trip to the 2016 Kendama World Cup in Japan! Not only did we have members from Gloken fly all the way out to the event from Japan, but we had the world’s best kendama performing duo, Zoomadanke, show some of their most impressive Kendama play ever.

Huge congrats to the winners of the Sakura Classic!

Amateur bracket:
1st: CJ Martinez
2nd: Hayden Brickman
3rd: Keilan

Pro Freestyle Division:
Logan Tosta

We were stoked to see the commitment from the kendama community to come out and jam despite the rain. Huge thanks to all the volunteers from the Bay Area that came out to help, Gloken, KendamaUSA, Grain Theory and of course, Jake Wiens for putting on another incredible Sakura Classic! See you next year!

 

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New York City Sesh Recap

During one of our last nights in NYC we held a Jam at the Park Ave Atrium. Sheltered from the frigid air we linked up with some east coast players and had a blast. Shout out to KEN-YC and everyone who showed.

Here is a short clip Dave Mateo put together as well as a few fun pics of our time there.


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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

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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.

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