Kendama USA

Posts Tagged ‘Pro Team’

Zach Magnuson Pro Model Kendama Review

What’s good everyone! Jon here from Honed Media bringing you another kendama review. This time I want to especially thank Sharif from Kendama USA for allowing me to guest write for the KUSA blog. Without further ado, let’s talk about Zach Magnuson’s Pro Model  #MAGSMOD.

I’d like to frame my article around “what makes a pro model” – because the first impression I get when opening the box and feeling the kendama is that THIS IS A PRO MODEL. From a tama design that no one can come close to imitating to the custom stickers and even the orange string – everything about the experience screams unique.

People who have followed Zach Magnuson aka Mags on social know that he is a talented photographer from Detroit and I personally enjoyed how elements of his passion for photography are designed into his other passion. Passion-ception.

Even the box feels high quality. The material is hard with textured prints and would stand out on any shelf. But enough about the aesthetics, we’re here to talk about how the kendama plays.

Let’s start with the shape – we have a modified Shift introducing the Kaizen Base Cup Hole and let’s just say it’s what the doctor ordered. I’ve been a fan of Kaizen for many years and have played a range from 1.0, 2.0, Slim, and Shift. I will admit that lunars were a challenge with the Shift because the wider base cup results in an increased weight shifted there. It made the kendama a ken-flip machine, but the trade-off was lunars.

With the balance hole available on Mag’s mod, the lunar balance has improved significantly without much compromise to the ken-flip capability. It feels like one of the most complete kendamas that I’ve played out of the box. Complete in part as well because the spike comes glued – something that I do for all my kendamas. When it comes to the paint, I personally prefer jamming sticky tamas, but something about KUSA’s silk paint slaps different. It seems to be rougher out of the box and allows for a nice adjustment when playing your balance tricks.

To each his own, however, I’d say that both paints will not let you down and it’s really a matter of personal preference which paint to use. I had an easier time with landing lunars on the sticky paint, while catching and adjusting lighthouses felt better on the silk paint.

 What about durability?

Part of this review involved a 2-week test doing cup tricks, ken tricks, and tama tricks. Let me be upfront – I miss the spike a lot. Despite that, there were only minor chips after 2 weeks, mostly around the bevel making it a relatively durable kendama. This could be in part that the weight of the tama was heavier (80+) and therefore the wood would have been harder and denser.

What might be more important to note was that I did not feel the tackiness of the respective paints change much – something you do not see often.

In the playability section, I test the smoothness and ease of landing tricks in the 4 criteria, Lunar, Stalls, Slings, and Ken Flips.

A difficulty rating out of 10 (1 being easier than usual, 5 being no difference and 10 is much harder than usual) will be given to each category at discretion.

Lunar

Stall

Sling

Kenflip

Pull-up Bird

  3

Pull-up Sling

  4

Kenflip Spike

2

Lunar

3

Bird Over The V

  3

Pull-up Double-Sling Spike

  4

Double Whirlwind

3

Double Lunar Flip

4

Handlestall – Ring

  4

Pull-up Sling, Late Sling

  4

Kenflip-

ken flip Spike

4

 

 What does this compare to?

You know when you’re headed out of home for a short bit and want to grab a kendama off the shelf you can just walk and jam without worry? This is it. Despite being a pro mod with an extensive and complex aesthetic design, it still plays like a daily jammer – and that is one of my favorite things about it.

I play a lot of kendamas and found it easy to rotate in and out of the #MAGSMOD which makes it and really worthy investment.

At $40, this is one of the most value-for-money kendamas out there. The level of design on the tama, sticker pack, and packaging indicates that it must have been relatively expensive to produce – yet Kendama USA prices it comparable to other kendamas in the market with a less complex design.

As a plus point, each #MAGSMOD purchased goes to supporting Zach’s kendama journey – a win-win situation if I ever saw one.

Bonus: To show that this dama is for the everyday average player like me – I shot a three trick fix with different balance and stall tricks to show how player-friendly it was out-of-box. Enjoy!

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Kendama World Cup 2015 – Mini Recap

“This year’s trip to Japan was one for the books. Every time we trek on a new adventure, more and more memories are made. We made our way abroad with two new additions, Tribe Team members Wyatt Bray and Bryan Scagline. It was both their first time out of the country and a great time to experience Japan. I was in the same position exactly 1 year ago and for all the trips I’ve been on, this has been one of the most memorable and fun for me.

 

 

The 2015 Kendama World Cup started off with a bang. Zack Yourd, Bryan Scagline, Dave Mateo, Turner Thorne, Jason Morrison, and I all met up at the San Francisco International Airport to hop on a plane to Japan. It was 13 hours of pure fun, rowdiness on the plane, and teaching passengers and flight attendants how to play Kendama. We managed to film an entire edit that features the new Mugen Musou… #TEAMFUEGZ! Coming shortly.

Yes, finally touched down in Japan. Let the adventures begin.

 

10 long, sleepless, adventure filled days were about to go down. The best and most talented Kendama players all under one roof, competing against each other for the top prize. Luckily, the entire World Cup (2 days) was on a live stream so those who weren’t there were able to catch the live footage and see the craziness go down. For me, the last 10 days blurred together because there was so much going on all at once. So many exciting things happened every day and the level of skill in Kendama has risen to new heights. I’m happy and proud to congratulate my own teammate Wyatt Bray for taking it home for Kendama USA! GO WYATT! WE LOVE YOU!

To check out Wyatt’s winning run click HERE

Let’s just give a quick recap of events. Plane rides, no sleep, Japanese beer tasting, long nights, down pours, early mornings, scaling roof tops, amazing sushi, walking, LOTS OF WALKING, onsens, vending machines, 7/11, alpaca, Japanese style housing, hostels, dama village, polaroid sessions Osaka, Hiroshima, Kendama Street, okonomiyaki, subways, laughing, friends, family, team, Kendama. I hope everyone reading this gets to experience Japan and the Kendama World Cup at least once. For those who did go this year, I hope you read this and smile and think back to all the great memories.

 

 

A big thank you to Tamotsu Kubota, Yuka Hyuga, Hajime Ishibashi, Kota Kagoshima, the rest of the Gloken Crew, Kendama USA, and of course, Jeremy Stephenson. Cheers to the future of Kendama! See you all next year.” -Tj Kolesnik

check out more from the trip:

 

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Kendama USA Welcomes Haley Bishoff to the Tribute Team

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!

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Kendama USA Japan Tour 2012 – Full Length Official Edit

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.




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Zack Yourd Five Trick Fix

Zack Yourd has always been a stylish and innovative Kendama player. This 5 trick fix showcases some unbelievably difficult, technical, and progressive tricks.
Zack’s new Kendama USA Pro Model was just released earlier this year. Check his and others out here


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Hang out with Zack Yourd on March 3rd at Learning Express in PA!!!

Zack Yourd will be at the Learning Express store on Saturday March 3rd at 11am.  Come by, hang out, and session with Zack!!

The Learning Express store is located at:

290 Settlers Ridge Center Drive
Robinson Township, PA 15205
Phone: (412) 787-1199


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The 2012 Tribute Team is announced!

 

Kendama USA is proud to announce the Tribute Team for 2012. We strongly feel that every one of these players is a great representative for Kendama as a whole. Incredible skills, great personality, unique style, desire to teach others how to play, and an overall positive passion for all things Kendama. Much respect to Dave Mateo, Jake Wiens, TJ Kolesnik, and Keith Matsumura for their accomplishments.

Shout outs and big thanks to everybody who helped behind the lenses, and to Jake and the Kengarden for chopping it up!

 

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New Pro Team Member announcement



We are proud to announce Alex Smith as the winner of our annual contest, and the newest addition to the Kendama USA Pro Team.

Alex’s edits clearly showed a wide variety of talent and professionalism. Amazing tricks, technical ability, creativity, lifestyle, personality, and production value. He has already made a positive mark in the Kendama community, and we couldn’t be happier to have him as part of the family here. If you haven’t seen them already, make sure to check out his edits below.

We also want to tip our hats to everybody who entered this year, and especially those who came very close in the 2nd round. The quality of the entries absolutely blew our minds, and we have immense respect toward everybody who participated. It was by far the most difficult contest we’ve ever had to judge, so hold your heads up and give yourselves the well deserved credit for what you accomplished. We hope you had a fun time making the edits, and can’t wait for next year.

much respect
-Kendama USA

Round 1

Round 2

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Round 1 Winners Announced!

Congratulations to all the Round 1 Winners!!! During the Dama Fest weekend, the Pro Team spent hours going over all the edits, and talking about who will move on.  It was really tough this year, with so many exceptional entries.  Prize packages are going out to all our winners next week, as well as some of the other entries that didn’t make the cut, but still stood out to us.  Huge thanks to everybody who took the time to make an entry.  We hope you had as much fun making them, as we did watching them.

The Round 2 details will be announced very soon!   Stay tuned.

 

Round 1 Winners

Keith Matsumura
Tj Kolesnik
Daniel Robinson
Gus Carstens
Alex Smith
Danny Mason
Gerard Gotgotao
Alex Ramos
Dave Mateo
Thomas Holzer
Jimmy Jacobson
Julian Down
Daniela von Rohr
Damien Klaven

 


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Zack Yourd Edit #5

Such a creative edit and fun. Tricks you’ve never seen, and filmed in ways you’ve never seen too. Good vibe and good style. Enjoy!!!



 

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