Kendama USA

Posts Tagged ‘tj kolesnik’

Kendama Club Spotlight: Cherokee Kendama Club – Canton, GA

Meet the Cherokee Kendama Club!

In August of 2017, a young James Matheny had a genius idea…  to start his very own kendama club at Cherokee High School and (with the help of administration) made that dream a reality!

Cherokee Kendama Club has now grown to 20+ members in just over a month, the club meets bi-weekly in the morning before school starts. It takes some serious dedication to get up extra early to jam some dama, but we know it’s worth it.

Cherokee Kendama Club likes to give back to the community by giving kendamas to kids who can’t afford them at school! Isn’t that just the nicest thing you’ve ever heard?

We asked James what his favorite part about kendama is, his response: “The community aspect, it’s just fun to meet new people who share your passion.”

We could not agree more!

And of course, we had to end the interview knowing what players and mod James loves:

His favorite Pro? TJ Kolesnik

His favorite mod? Wyatt Bray Champ Mod

Solid choices.

Keep up with this club on Instagram! @cherokeekendama

Continue Reading...

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...

J-POP Summit 2017!

Join Kendama USA at the 7th annual J-POP Summit in San Francisco!

 

J-POP will be one of the most exciting  festivals in SF this year! Jake Wiens is bringing the hype as always as your emcee, a performance by the one and only ZOOMADANKE will leave you with your jaw on the floor, and some of your favorite Kendama USA players will be holding down the fort with non-stop jamming! (Kendamas will also be for sale of course)

The Kendama USA squad will be rolling deep, peep the lineup!

Don’t miss out! So many pros in one place!

Summit Showdown – Kendama USA x Zoomadanke!

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

RSVP HERE

Buy your tickets now! 

For more details on J-POP Summit visit:

www.j-pop.com

https://www.instagram.com/jpopsummit/

Check out the other festival guests:

http://www.j-pop.com/2017/guests/

Continue Reading...

Kendama USA Presents | Make Waves World Tour Edit ft. TJ Kolesnik

We’re happy to release the Make Waves World Tour ft. TJ Kolesnik.

Over the summer of 2016, Tj embarked on a six week journey across the world, touring to multiple countries, cities and states upon his #MakeWaves Pro Model being released. Starting in Japan, he traveled to counties like Singapore, Sweden, Canada and the United States. Each day brought a new crowd of eager Kendama players, fun and exciting experiences and memories that will last forever.

We hope you enjoy this full documentary style / video piece Tj shot during his trip. With help from all of you, Tj was able to turn his dream into a reality.

Countries:

  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • Canada
  • United States

“It was crazy to be away from home for 6 weeks. I’ve traveled all over the world for the last couple of years, but going non stop for 6 weeks, I was a bit anxious to start my journey. Every second of my trip was memorable. I met so many amazing people, new Kendama players and like-minded individuals who are chasing their dreams, just like me.

I want to give a HUGE thank you to every single person who has supported me since day one, as well as all of the new players who are just starting their Kendama journey. I realized a long time ago that hard work, dedication an persistence can get you anywhere in life. As long as you’re humble, patient and hungry, anything is truly possible. Thank you to Kendama USA, Original Grain, Goorin Bros., and Dama Mods for sponsoring this tour.

Enjoy some photos along my journey during Tour. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up the Tj Kolesnik Pro Model, click below to get yours today.

Continue Reading...

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.

 

 

 

Continue Reading...

Game of KEN – Tj Kolesnik vs Dylan Westmoreland

 

Playing KEN with your friends is one of the best ways to get better as a kendama player. It drives you and your friends to do better. TJ and Dylan got together and filmed one of their games of KEN. Who do you think will win?

 

 

Continue Reading...

Kendama USA Presents – KUSA in JPN 2016

Join the KUSA crew and friends on a kendama-filled journey though Japan. Many bangers where laced and good times were had. Enjoy.

 

Continue Reading...

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.

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...

Event: Play Fair – New York City – February 13th & 14th

Come Jam with us at this year’s Play Fair in New York City!
The event is being held at the Javitz Center on February 13th & 14th.

Most of the Kendama USA crew will be there so come out, hang, and meet your favorite Pro!

Here is the schedule and who will be at our tent area on each day & session.

Saturday
9:30 AM -1:30 PM: Dave Mateo, Guy Wright, Wyatt Bray
3:00 PM — 7:00 PM: Jake Wiens, Kristin Olinyk, TJ Kolesnik

Sunday
9:30 AM -1:30 PM: Alex Smith, Jake Wiens, Kristin Olinyk
3:00 PM — 7:00 PM: Guy Wright, Wyatt Bray, Bryan Scagline

For ticket info please visit playfairny.com

The Javitz Center
655 W 34th St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 216-2000

The Javitz Center is on 11th Ave, between 34th and 40th streets, in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City.

Continue Reading...

KWC Setup Recap

KWC 2015 Setups Banner
Over the past two weeks we’ve shared what each Kendama USA team member used in the KWC qualifiers and finals.
We wanted to recap it all into one area and offer a limited 15% discount on these items with code: KUSAWorldCup15

1. Zack Yourd – Zebrano Ken x Tribute Half Split Red/White Tama

Zack Yourd KWC Setup

 

Recipe:

1 Zebrano Kendama

1 Tribute Half Split (Red/White)

“It’s a mash-up of some of my favorite kendama parts, and I like when the tama is a couple of grams heavier than the ken. Half splilts also help for tracking which is nice for more stressful/competition play.” – Zack Yourd.

Buy Now
 

 

 

 

2. Wyatt Bray – TK16 Master Ken x Turner Thorne v4 Pro Model Tama

Wyatt KWC Setup

 

Recipe:

1 TK 16 Red

1 Turner Thorne v4 Pro Model

“I wanted a freshy, competing with a fresh is the best. TK 16 are one of my most memorable damas because they were the first I played when I  first started.”  - Wyatt Bray

Buy Now
 

 

 

 

3. Turner Thorne – Kaizen Zebrano Ken x Turner Thorne v4 Pro Model Tama.

Turner KWC Setup

 

Recipe:

1 Kaizen Zebrano Kendama

1 Turner Thorne v4 Pro Model

“Strictly for the balance ratio between the ken and tama. It was also the one that was most broken in around the bevel which helped with bird  tricks” – Turner Thorne

Buy Now

 

 

 

 

4. TJ Kolesnik – Colin Sander v4 Pro Ken x Tribute Red/White Half Split Tama

 

TJ KWC Setup

 

Recipe:

1 Colin Sander v4 Pro Model

1 Tribute Half Split (Red/White)

“The v4 ken matched super well weight-wise with the tama, and the half split is a reallygood visual. The bottom white half makes the tama hole  pop. Once playing a few days the silk paint on he tama breaks in really nicely.” – TJ Kolesnik

Buy Now

 

 

 

 

 

5. Keith Matsumura – Colin Sander v4 Pro Model

 

Keith KWC Setup'

 

 

Recipe:

1 Colin Sander v4 Pro Model

“I like the 3-tone tama, it’s easy to track for spike tricks. Also in the past I’ve gotten good vibes from playing Colin’s pro models.”
- Keith Matsumura

Buy Now
 

 

 

 

 

7. Haley Bishoff – Kaizen Zebrano Ken x Kaizen Silk Turquoise Tama

 

Haley KWC Setup

 

 

Recipe:

1 Kaizen Zebrano

1 Kaizen Turquoise

“I like the look of it, the color-way was nice. Matching is key. It played well for me too, I landed all of my tricks in my 2 runs. When choosing a  Kendama, 60% is based of looks, the other on playability.” – Haley Bishoff

Buy Now

 

 

 

 

8. Dave Mateo – Kaizen Zebrano Ken x Kaizen Translucent Wine Tama

 

Dave KWC Setup

 

 

Recipe:

1 Kaizen Zebrano

1 Kaizen Red Wine Translucent

“I’ve lately found that I’ve been able to lace nutty multiple J-Sticks/UFO’s with the grip from the translucent paint. Also this tama is a bird machine. Once beating it in, the bevel allows the tama to just sit n grip.” – Dave Mateo

Buy Now

 

 

 

9. Bryan Scagline – Kaizen Birch Ken x Tribute Black / Yellow Half Split

KWC 2015 Setup - Bryan Scagline

 

Recipe:

1 Kaizen Translucent

1 Tribute Half Split (Yellow / Black )

“I wanted to rep the hometown colors, and the half split is good for tracking. I found this useful when performing up on stage and during on-the-spot play.” – Bryan Scagline

Buy Now

 

 

 

 

10. Alex Smith – Kaizen Birch Spike x Maple Cups x Alex Smith v4 Pro Mod.

 

KWC 2015 Setup - Alex Smith

 

Recipe:

1 Kaizen Translucent

1 Alex Smith v4 Pro Model

“Can I get a glass of water?… The tama was nice and solid and the tama’s weight matched well with the ken. The hybrid Ken was not planned and was pieced together after some Kendama mishaps, but it played really well.” – Alex Smith

Buy Now


Continue Reading...