Kendama USA

Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

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 null, 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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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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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.

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TJ Kolesnik Turns Pro For Kendama USA

We are excited and honored to announce Tj Kolesnik as the newest 2016 Kendama USA Pro! Tj is an embodiment of dedication to Kendama. His passion and work ethic can be seen in his progression from a player to a pillar in the Kendama community. TJ has been part of the Kendama community for several years. He began his Kendama journey back in 2010 while he was in his junior year of high school. For years, he has continued to hone not only his Kendama play and steeze but his skills in videography. He’s helped us share great moments and memories with the community and continues to host Kendama events around the globe.

TJ Kolesnik Kendama USA Pro

Tj is currently a student at San Diego City College where he is dual majoring in Graphic Design & Communications. He still finds time to jam, capture amazing moments and work with kids. It’s no secret why Tj is such an inspirational and motivational figure to countless Kendama players around the world. Join us in celebrating and check out his journey in the video below.

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Wiens ‘n’ Fuegz Episode 2

Jake Wiens and TJ Kolesnik (AKA Fuegz) hit the road again for more kendama madness.  This time they take off on an adventure around the Northern California Bay Area hosting kendama jams in Los Altos, San Jose, and San Francisco.  Check out what all goes down behind the scenes and between the tricks.  From Kendama in the club to repairing hotel blinds, Wiens ’n’ Fuegz always bring the action.  Huge thank you to all the players that came out to the jams and to the organizers and shop owners for hosting the sessions!

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Tea Garden Session.

Turner Thorne, Tj Kolesnik, and Jake Wiens chill out with some tea and fresh Ozoras in the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden.

Get your Ozoras right  here at 


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Tuesday Kengarden Session 62414!

Every Tuesday Jake Wiens teams up with San Franpsycho for a kendama and yoyo session! This week Jake busted out the camera and got some clips of everyone that showed up. If you want to join in on the fun, it’s every Tuesday at 505 divisadero San Francisco California from 5-8.


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Jake Wiens, KAMEYO, and the Ozora Sakura

Hang out with Jake and KAMEYO in the Kengarden for a chill session on the Sakura edition Ozora.  The Sakura is part of the Ozora Specialty series.  All of these kendamas carry new designs and styles while keeping the top quality Ozora is known for.

Jake Wiens is well known for his amazing video work paired with some of the most innovative tricks in the game and this edit does not fall short! Sit back, relax, and enjoy another amazing edit from The Kengarden!

Get your own Sakura Ozora null

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Marbles Kendama Jam

This past Saturday I was at Marbles in San Francisco teaching kendama and hanging out with some rad people who wanted to learn and play. Marbles is a store dedicated to flexing your brain power with games, puzzles, and activities. It’s no surprise that they have discovered the benefits of the Kendama. For 2 hours we jammed new tricks and talked about how the kendama play affects your brain and your psyche. Everyone that came in the store that day left with some new skills and a new outlook on the kendama.

Huge thank you to Mikey Haan for the photos, Marbles for letting kendama completely take over the store for 2 hours, and everyone that came out and jammed!

-Jake Wiens

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Catching up with TJ Kolesnik

Yo everyone! If you’re reading this right now, that means you’re somewhat interested in what I’ve been doing these past couple of months. Man has it been crazy theses past few months! Lots of traveling, keeping up with school, and playing volleyball for my school, with everything else in between. I’m here to explain a little bit about what I do on a day-to-day basis. Fuegz life perhaps?

2014 started off exciting with tons of news about up coming travel plans for Kendama USA. HAWAII IN JANUARY!? How could I say no to that? This worked out perfectly because I was on winter break, which lasted from Dec. 17th-Jan 21st. Let me back up a little bit. I am currently a student at the University of Nevada, Reno studying Nursing.  With constant school grinding, I was stoked to be able to take a break for a month and head on over to Hawaii for a portion of my break.

It was my first time flying into Hawaii (Oahu), so my stoked factor was through the roof! Jake and I stepped off the plane with the smell of Hawaiin air, tropical greatness and motivation to kill it out here in Hawaii. Haley and Dave arrived a bit later so Jake and I had an airport dama sesh at baggage claim. For some reason, when Jake and I play games of ken, it lasts insanely long and we stomp the craziest tricks. It’s like we go full trib mode and lacing a trick feels like second nature.  Dave and Haley arrived while Jake was off fetching the rental car. We all got picked up, bags shoved in the car, windows down with Hawaiian music blaring.

Ko Olina Resort is where we stayed and my god was it paradise. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when we stepped out of the car. I instantly got the GoPro out and went vid mode to document the awesomeness around me. We checked into our room and I stood in the doorway with awe. Hawaiian hospitality is by far the greatest I’ve experienced. Anyway, enough about that, it’s time to explore!

If you haven’t seen Hawaiin Adventures Vol. 1 on the Kendama USA YouTube page, GO CHECK IT OUT! I’ll leave the video link at the bottom to explain how the rest of my Hawaii trip was. Just a few things I’d like to go over… 1. Hawaii is killing it with the Kendama Community. 2. Huge thanks to Dave and his crew from Razor Sports and Concepts. 3. I can’t wait to come back.

Being in Hawaii from Jan 9th-18th felt like I was only there for 2 days. Back to reality for me. I headed back up to Tahoe for a couple days to visit my family before heading back to school. Got the chance to update my mom and step dad about my crazy Hawaii trip.  I headed back to Reno a couple days later to start up school and volleyball again.

A new semester started so all new classes. Being a nursing major, I try to make sure I get all A’s. Keeping my GPA up is the most important, while playing volleyball and having the time to travel for Kendama.  Monday morning walking into class, I already wanted this semester to be over. Maybe it was the fact that I wanted to be back in Hawaii, or the fact that my 21st birthday was coming up. Me turning 21? I still feel like a kid! Anyway, my 21st birthday was crazy to say the least and I’ll leave it at that. Being legal to drink finally!

New York City was the next trip I was taking. The 2014 Toy Fair is somewhat a tradition for me so there was no was I was missing it. It was my 3rd year attending the Toy Fair and I couldn’t be more stoked to be back out in NYC with the crew, plus the new rook, Bish.

The previous Toy Fairs I attended in NYC were more like “OH MY GOSH, toys and things I can break everywhere and candy and other miscellaneous objects I wanted to grab and touch. “ This time I was intrigued by the business side of Kendama and really honing my skills in on sales pitch, knowledge of our product and having a good time all in one. It was a rough start to the tradeshow due to an east coast storm delaying all of our booth material. Luckily for us, we are the show. Us being able to perform and actually show people what Kendama is, is what we live for. Once we got our booth squared away and up and running, things started to fall in place perfectly.

Unfortunately I had to leave halfway into the last day of Toy Fair to head back to school. Dang school getting in the way of my travel plans haha. Overall, it was a super successful trip to New York. Got the chance to see Jero, walked the streets of NYC, grinded homework at 3 am, and managed to play Kendama too.

Back to school again. Just a side note real quick, my games for volleyball are usually on the weekends. We practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for 2 hours a night. So, juggling school during the day, managing the Kendama USA Instagram, playing volleyball at night and weekends, and leaving some time to eat and sleep too.

I guess this is a good time to introduce this topic. As much as I was on Instagram on my personal account, I figured why not take over the Kendama USA one as well? So as you know, I run and manage the Kendama USA Instagram. It started off being only a couple posts per month, when I wasn’t really engaged in it. Social media is a huge aspect in our generation so I realized how much of an advantage it would be if I took control of it seriously. I wanted to update everyone on what the Ken USA crew was up to.

I love taking pictures of my teammates, Kendama related things, and artsy things. It was the perfect job for me because I love doing it. Now, I try and post as much as I can to update all of you about where we are, what our setups are, current updates on new Kendama product, contests, and scavenger hunts. So feel free to follow us on IG! I’ll tag the Ken USA IG and myself at the end.

Next up was the most recent trip I took. I went from Tacoma Washington to SF to Oahu to Maui, back to Oahu then back to SF.  Can you tell I like being on an airplane? This trip was long and I’ll try to cut it down as best as I can. The Tacoma Takeover was tons of fun with all the companies together. Cooper and Ernie put on an awesome event for the dama players up in WA.

Jake, Keith and myself all flew up to represent Kendama USA. Bro do you even mosh? and Thor Mosh were the highlights of that trip. Picture a 10 lb bowling ball being juggled by a jumbo tribute ken… yeah pretty epic. Now imagine a KROM mini with a XXXL tama… Even more epic.

Event was over with the first place winner being Chris Do representing Folken and SacKendama. Congrats again Chris!

Of course we didn’t sleep that night because what is sleep when we are on a dama trip? We decided to eat pizza, film dama, sit in wheelchairs, and try out death trick b. (Ask Jake, Keith or myself about death trick b) : ).

Keith flew back to CO. Jake and I flew into SF to get some stuff taken care of before heading back out to Hawaii… AGAIN!

This time the whole crew was out in Hawaii.. Excpet that one dude who wears spirit animal shirts and snowboards…. What’s his name again? Uh… OH yeah.. Zack Yourd. Zack couldn’t make it out do to pure grinding on school and being prez of his snowboard club. You were there in spirit though Yourdils.

Anyway, the whole crew was here. Smith, Keith, Mateo, Wiens, T Thorne, Sandeezy, H Bish and myself. Tori and Dana came along for the trip as well to enjoy the Hawaiian lifestyle. This time we got to participate in the first ever 3-day Kendama event held by Pearlridge Mall, in association with Razor Sports. Also, Tamotsu-san and the Gloken Crew, Thorkild, Philip, and Matt Ballard from KROM Kendama, AND Zoomadanke came out to shred in Hawaii. It was an honor to meet some of my favorite Japanese players and to see Hajime and Tamotsu and the KROMIES.

To sum this trip up, we got the chance to swim with sea turtles, teach kids how to progress in Kendama, saw the Zoomadanke performance live, filmed in amazing locations, and got to hangout with the greatest friends I could ask for. Hawaii Adventures Vol. 2 will recap my whole trip so stay tuned for that!

While the whole crew was in Oahu, Jake, Dave and myself had to fly to Maui Tuesday morning for an event put on Kaleidoscope. Man was Maui beautiful. I really hope we have the opportunity to go out there again. To sum this trip up, we flew into Maui early Tuesday morning, got breakfast, had mopeds waiting for us to cruise around Maui for a couple hours, did the event from 3pm-8pm, got dinner and headed to our resort for sleep. But of course you all know, we don’t sleep. The resort they put us in was absolutely amazing! Too bad we got in when it was dark and had to leave the next morning at 5 am.  It’s all good though, I know we will be back out.

Back to Oahu we flew. We said our goodbyes to everyone and headed back home. Until next time Hawaii!

And now I’m back at school, dealing with mid terms and nationals for volleyball this weekend. As much as I love traveling for Kendama, it’s a lot of work to maintain my grades and keep up with volleyball but I love my life and what I do to inspire others to be just like me and live the way I do. At the end of the day, I may be stressed out with the multiple things I have going on but it’s what I live for. I hope you all enjoy what I’ve been up to these past couple months and realize that you should never give up on your dreams no matter what your circumstances are. I love you all and thank you for reading all of this. Until my next check in. SHOOTZ!

Ps. I’m currently in grind mode to get another self edit out so be prepared!

Instagram: @kendamausa @teejkolesnik

-Tj Kolesnik


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Gon’ Fishin’

By far the most serious edit we will put out all year. Happy Holidays.

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Jake Wiens turns Pro for Kendama USA

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, Andy Olive, Guy Wright, and Sourmash for their contributions to this production.

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