Kendama USA

Posts Tagged ‘zack yourd’

Zack Yourd Visits Madison, Wisconsin!

Madison Wisconsin has a lively Kendama community and Kendama USA Pro Zack Yourd stopped in and hosted a couple of events.

Here’s what Zack had to say about Madison, WI:

“There is no doubt that Madison, WI is on the rise to becoming a large Kendama community. A solid crew of both new and experienced Kendama players attended each event. The amount of people who attended and the level of Kendama play was incredible. The buzz even attracted the local news to cover one of the events. The ladder competition came down to the wire but local shredder Gino G. took home the crown! I look forward to visiting again in the future.”

Yourd followed up by reporting nothing but positive remarks about all of the players and their kind/humble/skilled attitude toward Kendama. Keep a look out for more of our players heading to Wisconsin!

Zack Yourd Visits Madison, Wisconsin!

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Zack Yourd – Earth Turns for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Today marks the 46th year of a celebration and movement to conserve our planet Earth.
To honor the day, Zack Yourd and cameo star Bryan Scagline set out to land earth turn rotations 1 to 10.

Enjoy and Love Earth.

Give thanks and demonstrate environment awareness for our beautiful home planet!
Here are a 10 ways how you can do this, not just today but everyday:

1. Make a recycling plan.
2. Plant a tree.
3. Give up bottled water and carry a reusable bottle.
4. Go Paperless.
5. Build a bird house, feeder or bath in your garden.
6. Conserve electricity in your home.
7. Use Earth friendly cleaning products.
8. Conserve water in your home.
9. Buy Local Produce
10.Use a tote bag when grocery shopping.

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The Kendama craze in Hong Kong: what is it and what makes it so addictive?

Young Post, a Junior Reporter Club recently wrote an article about the expanding Kendama scene in Hong Kong. This amazing article covers some very important topics regarding Education with Kendama and the ability to build a community around it. Alex, Zack, and Jake are all mentioned in the article as well.

Check out the full article below.
The Kendama craze in Hong Kong: what is it and what makes it so addictive?

You’ve probably never heard of Kendama, but think of it as a game similar to cup and ball, with a growing worldwide popularity
By: Alan Yu

Around 10 years ago, skateboarder Smore Chan Chung-yin picked up a Japanese toy made of a wooden spike and a ball on a piece of string, and started playing with it at a skate park after watching a fellow skater do some tricks. Chan was immediately hooked and couldn’t put the toy down for the next three hours.

“I was playing like crazy and even when I left for dinner, I was still playing with it. I didn’t want to give it back. I had to give in and buy a kendama of my own.”

The kendama is a toy that is similar to cup and ball; the only difference is that the kendama has three cups, a wooden spike, and the ball has a hole in it. Players try to flick the ball back onto the spike, but it’s become much more than that, as players try to do tricks shots like landing the ball on each of three cups attached to the spike, toss the toy in the air and catch it again before getting the ball on the spike, balance the spike on top of the ball, or even holding the ball and balancing the spike with just the string. It’s not unlike how people have taken the yo-yo and created all kinds of tricks with it.

Chan has been honing his kendama skills ever since he discovered it. He has won several competitions, including the first ever competition in Hong Kong in 2006 and an international video competition with another player in 2007. The 26-year-old now works as a tour guide, but he founded Pak Fuk Kendama in Fanling, where he sells kendama products and coaches new players.

Kendama is steadily growing as a sport. The US has a team of professional players, and even Pak Fuk Kendama in Hong Kongsponsors seven players, meaning those players get free kendamas and coaching. Sunny Wong, a bartender who helps Smore Chan run Pak Fuk Kendama, says there are around 200 enthusiasts in Hong Kong who practise every day, and that it is a serious discipline.

“The Japanese have judo, ken-do (the art of sword fighting), kado (ikebana, or flower arrangement) and chado (tea appreciation.) For the serious players, kendama is just like one of those pursuits.”

Some people even make their living from kendama, like Alex Smith, a player on the US team who is also a woodworker and makes his own kendamas; and Jake Wiens, another US player who also does a lot of the film production and editing for the team.

People like them are rare though, and Hong Kong doesn’t have a kendama scene like the US just yet, but more and more players are following in Chan’s footsteps and taking kendama seriously.

Wu Tsz-ki is 14 and she’s one of the sponsored players with Pak Fuk Kendama. She only started playing with the kendama in May 2014 after she saw it on Instagram, but she practises every day and spends at least an hour each weekend working on new tricks. In October, she entered a competition and came fourth out of around 50 players. She says her parents are still surprised that she hasn’t gotten tired of this toy already, but she says she’s also hooked.

“Don’t underestimate this toy. It may not look very athletic, but it’s very effective in working up a sweat and honing your arm muscles,” she says. “My reflexes have certainly improved. My accuracy in swatting mosquitoes has gone from 50 per cent to 80 per cent.”

Wing Tang kin-wing, 16, is also one of the Pak Fuk Kendama players. He started playing two years ago, and back in mid-December, he entered the TKA Kendama Contest in Taiwanand beat all the other players from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan to win the timed contest, where the players try to do as many difficult tricks as they can within two minutes.

Chan says his group performs and hosts workshops at schools and universities. He says his next goal is to organise parent-child kendama classes.

Zack Yourd, a professional player for the US team and recent college graduate, wants to develop a curriculum to introduce it to schools in the US. The 22-year-old started playing with the kendama around eight years ago and he says whenever people ask him what the kendama is, he’ll show them a few tricks and they are always impressed.

“I have yet to see somebody who’s like, ‘Oh that’s stupid.’”

Yourd travelled across the US with the team, and he says he was struck by how enthusiastic the players were.

“As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, there would already be hundreds of people waiting, and they were just screaming.”

He also designs his own kendamas with different designs and types of wood, and he gets royalties every time one of those is sold. He enjoys brewing tea and coffee, so his latest model features engraved tea leaves and coffee beans. One of his kendamas costs around US$35.

“As kendama becomes bigger, it’s becoming more of a possibility to live off kendama and make it your profession. Some people that I know are doing that and it’s incredible. Right now though, it is kind of hard to make your living from competing. You would need another job.”

Lau Chun-ho (left) and Chan Chung-yin admit they’re totally addicted to kendama.
Photo: Bruce Yan/SCMP

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Zack Yourd Single Trick Volume 2 – Pittsburgh Pantone

Zack Yourd’s Single Trick Series Volume 1. A 5-part video series consisting of kendama shorts that showcase a variety of Yourd’s style kendama play in various locations. Some words from Yourd:

“More days than not the skies of Pittsburgh are cluttered with clouds. This gray overcast is known as the ‘Pittsburgh Pantone’ and this single trick edit is my temporary farewell to them. Thank you Commonwealth Press for the shirt, and Luke Evans for being the man behind the lens. Later Pittsburgh <3″

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Zack Yourd Single Trick Volume 1 – Greek Colors

Zack Yourd’s Single Trick Series Volume 1. A 5-part video series consisting of kendama shorts that showcase a variety of Yourd’s style kendama play in various locations. Some words from Yourd:

“I have a very busy upcoming schedule. I leave for New Zealand soon where I will be finishing the remainder of my college-undergrad career and will be teaching math in an intermediate school in North Island. That being said I have to push back the production of Edit #7 and in the meantime (rather than leaving you empty handed) I will be putting out several single trick installments in the first volume of this series. I hope you enjoy!”

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VOTE NOW! Team Wiens vs. Team Fuegz


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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 Releases NEW Trick Tutorials

We are excited to bring you the Kendama USA Tutorial Series. We’ve released over 40 Kendama Tutorial Videos to help you and your friends learn all sorts of tricks. From core basics to high level advanced we’ve got them all.
If there are any tricks that you want to see as a part of our tutorials submit them to tricks@kendamausa.com.

We’ve put together a playlist that you can play through with all of our tricks organized by difficulty as well as skill level playlists. Check them out below or visit our tricks & tutorials page here.

Click to watch: Beginner Level Trick Tutorials
Click to watch: Intermediate Level Trick Tutorials
Click to watch: Advanced Level Trick Tutorials

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Kendama USA “Hipsters” Featured on Fox News at Toy Fair 2015

Good times at the 2015 NY Toy Fair.  Maybe Fox News doesn’t get it yet, but that’s ok.  They’ll catch up eventually.
Check out their news coverage of the NYC toy fair including Kendamas where our very own Pros can been seen below.

Read the full story here.

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Kendama USA presents – The Toy Fair experience – 2014

The NYC Toy Fair is the largest Toy Fair in the world. 2014 was our third year in the show and we are about to head out to our fourth. Each year the Kendama USA crew heads out and jams kendama all day and night for 4 days at the fair. Even with all the other games and products at Toy Fair we always find ourself back with the kendama and jamming. Why? Because we truly love Kendama. Enjoy some of the footage from the Streets of NYC, Toy Fair, and the Ferry Session with the locals.

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Kendama USA – Japan 2014

Japan this year was a unique experience. We were deeper into the country than we had ever been before. The entire team was together for the very first time. With obligations like the Kendama World Cup, it wasn’t easy to find time to just play and lace some tricks. We worked in some stompage for the sake of having memories of this classic era of the team. We are stoked to see it evolve.

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KendamaUSA Best Moments Of 2014.

2014 has been a huge year for Kendama, there have been so many memorable moments that it is hard to pick just one, so we decided to ask each of our pros what their favorite moment was. Sit back, relax, and read through these amazing stories as we bring 2014 to a close. From all of us here at KendamaUSA we would like to give a huge thanks to YOU the fans, with out all of you’re amazing support we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, so here’s to another dama filled year! cheers!

Colin -

There were so many great memories that were made in 2014 thanks to the wonderful team and family that is Kendama USA, that it’s hard to pick just one. From swimming with sea turtles in Hawaii after an awesome event to performing on sacred stages on islands in Japan, to the simpler things like interacting with the community, and redesigning our products and pro models.

One thing that stood out to me as a real highlight was giving a speech at the opening ceremony for the Kendama World Cup, in Hatsukaichi. When I first started playing kendama I never imagined that I would ever travel to Japan, or get to meet the infamous Kazuma Iwata, my favorite kendama-craftsman. But thanks to Kendama USA sending us to the KWC, I got to experience his hometown, which is also the actual birthplace of Kendama in Japan. I poured my heart out about how thankful I was for the growth the community has seen internationally, and enjoyed the moment of being honored for the community-building work I had done over the previous 6 years. At that moment I could feel that kendama had grown so much, and with or without my help it would continue to progress, grow, and evolve. Thanks to Jeremy and the entire Kendama USA team for making all of these awesome moments possible! see you in 2015!!!

 

Zack -

2K14. A year of many definite big ups, and few downs!  So that’s good! This is my last year in college @ Penn State University, so I haven’t had as much time as I have in the past to put forth to kendama practice/travel/competition. That doesn’t mean that my kendama has distanced itself from my everyday loops, in fact this year I had some major kendama career highlights.

V4’s: Having free range to design a pro model however I wanted produced an overflow of creative chaos in my brain. It felt good. Not having to cling to a theme let myself and the other guys really relate our own kendama to our personality, yet produced the challenge of having one shot to capture your ideal kendama. The process of back-n-forth communication and testing all the most miniscule tweaks from ken shape to paint type was awesome. All in all, beyond satidfied with the final pro model, the BREW DAMA is alive!!!

Kendama World Cup: How can this not be mentioned!? It was the first ever titled “World” kendama event, and all the homies/homettes were present and looking good! It’s hard for me to put a time like that into a minimal word count description, so I won’t dive in. Highlights were, ranking 16th overall in the comp, meeting a ridiculous amount of other peeps who share freakish hand eye coordination (fellow kendama players), and experience a new part of the world with culture/tradition very foreign to what I am used to!  <3JAPAN<3

Random Day Kaizen Session: I believe the day was November 19th? Not entirely sure. But I’ve been playing kendama longer than most people in the US, and been with Kendama USA since almost theie near start. That being said, I’ve witnessed the evolution and progress that’s been made since…yup, the premiere line (secretly love still). In the past when we released a new line, it always seemed that issues, both big and small, would come up. Issues like paint durability, ivy rashes, engraving depths, butt heaviness, etc. This year was different. I finally got my first box of Kaizen’s fresh from the works. To be honest, I didn’t even play one that day, merely just looked at them, did some weight tests, and put them back in the box. About a day or two later when my classes were at a dull point I busted out the new light-pink kaizen. I played kendama for the next 2 hours straight. And had easily 10 self-realizations that this kendama was sturdy as shit. It played amazing! Just such a good feeling to see how far the company and kendama in general has come. Very humbling

A Kendama (Christmas) Story: This little edit really brought it back to my roots. Late night filming sessions with pizza, beer, homies, music, college apts, good vibes, etc. And who better to have your back than my man Bryan Scagline. I’ve known this fellow yinzer for quite some time now and ever since he was introduced to kendama he hasn’t for a second slowed down toward becoming future kendama style champ. Anywho, the night we spent filming this edit really brought me back to my edits #1-4 where sweating on indoor carpet tricks was a normal. Too much fun! Scagz Rulez!

Turner -

My favorite moment from 2014 was during the Kendama world cup trip in Japan, but it wasn’t the contest itself that was my favorite and this is why. We landed in Japan at 6pm and had a long drive from the airport to Tamotsu’s house, when we arrived it was completely dark so we had no idea where we were or what our surroundings looked like. The next morning I woke up around 7am to find everyone else asleep, the Jet lag kept me from going back to sleep so I decided to get up. After taking a freezing cold but surprisingly refreshing shower I saw that Jake and Zack were awake as well, so we decided to take a walk around outside. As soon as I stepped outside I was in awe, the sun was just starting to rise over the mountains and we were surrounded by tons of bright green rice fields. We just wandered through the streets taking in the sounds of the birds and watching our step as tiny frogs would hop to safety  into the rice fields. The calmness of that morning will stick with me forever. I would like to give a huge thank you to Jeremy Stephenson and everyone at Gloken for making this trip possible! Heres to 2015! Cheers!

Alex -

Hosting the Van Jam, the grand opening of the Terra Kendama workshop in Vancouver. Players from across the US, Canada, and Japan came to Vancouver for the event on September 1st. We had a sort of ‘mini-tour’ leading up to the event, stopping at the battle in Seattle, and then Canada national yoyo championships the previous two days. Colin S won the game of DAMA tournament at the van jam, playing a handturned Mun Ebony Terra Kendama. It was an honour to host so many talented players in our workshop!

Jake -

2014 was an amazing year for kendama.  I got to travel all over the world MC’ing, competing, playing, and working on the new Kaizen line.  One moment that stands out to me was in Japan during the Kendama World cup.  It was the end of the trip and Tamotsu took everyone who was left to an epic swim spot in Nara.  We spotted a perfect cliff jumping spot across the river.  We jumped in and swam over to the cliff and began to investigate.  It was perfect.  We immediately started flipping and trying new flips off the rocks.  After a moment I realized that it was everyone from the Kendama USA team that was on the rock and busting flips and it wasn’t a “hey everyone come jump off the cliff” deal. Everyone just naturally thought “LETS DO THIS!”.  Everyone on the team really does have this urge to go nuts and jump off cliffs.  At this moment I took a chance to be thankful for having the best Kendama family you could ask for and realized how many amazing people I have met through playing Kendama.  We have traveled the world together and dedicated weeks and weeks to spreading the kendama love.   So this New Years Eve I raise my glass to you Jero, Colin, Turner, Zack, Alex, Dave, TJ, Keith, and Haley!  Happy Shreds year!

Keith-

2014 has been a crazy year with the KendamaUSA family. We’ve been a lot of places with a lot of amazing people and I can’t express my thankfulness adequately for all the opportunity kendama has brought me. It’s hard to choose a favorite memory. The entire team together in Japan for the Kendama World Cup and traveling afterwards through the country was an unforgettable experience. Seeing the European kendama community firsthand was a dream come true, and the North American community has seen so many amazing events this last year as well; like the Kengarden Roots Tour, New York Toy Fair, Battle in Seattle, Minnesota Kendama Open, etc. etc.

I think I can say that my favorite memories from 2014 were being able to begin welcoming the new KendamaUSA Tribe team to the family. Wyatt Bray, Bryan Scagline, and Joris Schweppe are all amazing people and I can’t wait for the Tribe to grow. Seeing the excitement from these guys has brought me back to when I first was asked to join the KendamaUSA family. Nothing makes me happier than seeing people with the same excitement that I had my first time with the team.

With that note in mind I have to say that the people behind KendamaUSA and the team that that I’m blessed to be a part of is what made 2014 so special and memorable to me. Here’s to 2015 and another year of people coming together through kendama!”

TJ-

My most memorable moment of 2014 took me a while to figure out due to all the amazing trips, awesome people I met and the experience of traveling who made me who I am today. The number one moment for me was the trip out to Hawaii with Jake, Haley and Dave for the first ever YoDAMA event held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This was my first time traveling to Hawaii, so for that reason alone, I was so amped to head out there. This was one of the moments where I actually felt like a rockstar. We got to stay at one the nicest resorts I’ve ever seen, eat the most delicious food, and get bombarded by kids screaming our name and wanting our autograph. 1,800 competitors we went through in one day 5,000 people foot traffic throughout the mall just to see us! The craziest feeling ever. It was one of the most hectic days in my life but it’s a day I will never forget. Security escorts, non stop signing, performing Kendama and making dreams happen by being a role model and inspiring kids to never give up.

The rest of the trip we spent bouncing around the island filming, seeing the scenic spots of Hawaii and soaking up the sun with a few cocktails here and there. All with the greatest of friends that I’ve meet through this wooden toy. Thank you friends, family, supporters and most importantly, Kendama USA. Let’s kick 2015 off!

 

Haley -

In the past year, I would have never expected to experience so many incredible memories with the kendama community. From massive events in Oahu, Hawaii to wandering around New York City to escaping the rain in Shibuya, Tokyo in hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, there are innumerable memories that have made this year unforgettable.

My first real event with the team was in Oahu, Hawaii with Dave, TJ and Jake at YoDama. The kendama scene in Hawaii blew my mind with 1,800 competitors and a crowd that filled a majority of Pearlridge mall. We were living the island dream; eating way too much good food and watching thunderstorms fill the sky from the balcony of our classy villa.

Traveling to the Kendama World Cup was my first time out of the country and was filled with experiences I never considered imaginable. Taking over the streets of Hatsukaichi with dama and dancing, firework nights, and cliff jumping in the rural prefecture of Nara, Japan were spent with some of my favorite people. Round two of Japan was just as great. TJ and I spent nearly a month traveling around doing gift shows with KIT, filming in Okinawa, exploring countless rooftops in Tokyo, overlooking the whole city from over 600 meters up in sky tree, running through the streets in the heaviest rain I’ve ever experienced, and impulsively taking a trip to Bangkok, Thailand. When Dave and Jake came out for the Catch and Flow, along with a bunch of other kendama teams, we explored the streets of Tokyo, found ourselves in karaoke bars and skating though the streets around our hotel.

I’ve seen places I never thought I would, met incredible people along the way and learned a lot about myself in the process. December 2014 marks one year with the KendamaUSA family and the memories have just begun!

Dave -

My favorite moment was having the honor of plating on the sacred stage on Miyajima island, Japan.

See you in 2015!

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