Kendama USA

Archive for July, 2014

Cliff Jumping In Japan.

Believe it or not, this summer was the first time the entire Kendama USA team was together as one, in the same place. It’s alot to get nine people’s schedules to line up but the magic happened for the sake of our summer Japan trip for the Kendama World Cup.

After days and days of grinding, competition, performances, travel, and little sleep… we finally had a free day in Tamotsu’s parents home prefecture of Nara. This river spot is supposedly a go-to from his childhood. Within minutes of arriving some of the players scoped a potential jump spot across the way. Sessions ensued. Enjoy this laid-back edit.

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Krom LA

The Krom Kendama Pro Team took their skills and camera to the city of Los Angeles, California. Watch Thorkild, Matt, Mathias, and Philip as they shred from the streets of downtown to the cliffs of Malibu.

Pick up your own KROM kendama right HERE!

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Kendama USA at Gloken Kendama World Cup in Hatsukaichi, Japan

The Kendama USA team attends the Gloken-hosted Kendama World Cup in Hatsukaichi, Japan. Practice and sessions ensue, Jake MC’s along with Nobuaki, and Keith and Zack make the finals.

Big ups to everyone that helped make the KWC possible, especially the entire gloken team and the Hatsukaitchi city officials. Special Thanks to Kazuma Iwata for the excellent trophy, and to Jeremy Stephenson for being the reason that we were all there.
Enjoy Kendama USA’s presence at the KWC 2014!


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Japan Update #3 from Keith

words by Keith Matsumura


The last week or so has been pretty hectic and crazy for me here in Japan. After the World Cup was over I ended up going to Sapporo, the capital of the north island, Hokkaido with Yuka from Gloken, Rodney Ansell, and Eric Martin. We taught kendama at a couple of events, one of them with at a school with Zoomadanke. Sapporo was amazing, I was so happy to get to go up north and see Hokkaido. Also, the weather was much nicer up there. It is so hot in Tokyo, which is where we went next.

After the events in Hokkaido for only one night there we took a flight right on back to Tokyo, where we met up with our friend Aki and stayed at her friend’s place. The next day we went to Su Lab in Saitama and had a kendama jam with the kendama club called Kyandamabu, Akimoto-san, Su, and some other friends. We headed out from that area after dinner to go see Harajyuku and Shibuya. We ended up missing the last train before the trains closed for the night at one in the morning, so we had to wait till five in the morning for them to start again and get back to where we were sleeping. Eric almost got ran over by a dump truck skateboarding, I fell asleep standing, and overall we had a memorable time.

The next night we went to Ome city to visit Satoru Akimoto at his house. He has an unbelievable collection of historic kendamas, and I was honored to get to play kendama in his special kendama room. We headed on that night back to Su Lab where we stayed and played kendama for most of the night. After sleeping just a little bit on the hard wood floor we got up and headed to Decade, the 430 shop near Shibuya. We got to hang out with Nobu and the Decade guys, eat at the same burger place twice, and come seconds away from missing our train to Matsumoto.

And now here we are in Matsumoto. It’s Rodney, Tamotsu, and myself in Tamotsu’s car at this very moment.  Tamotsu was kind enough to lend us his portable wifi box so that I can be writing this right now! The night we arrived we went and had a chill session at Takeshi Yano’s house with Kengo from Gloken as well. Yesterday we had an amazing day hiking and filming on Utsukuchigahara, a famous mountain area near Matsumoto known for it’s beauty. And it was certainly beautiful. We went to the Onsen and got all cleaned up before going to sleep. Eric left early this morning, and the three of us here now went to the location of the Nagano Winter Olympics to film kendama, but unfortunately it was raining so hard we couldn’t film at all there, so we ate lunch and are heading back to Matsumoto right now.

Peace until next time from a very tired Keith

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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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Japan Update #2 from Keith

words by Keith Matsumura


Kendama World Cup has dominated the schedule recently here in Japan. To say that this is the biggest kendama event we have would be an understatement. Tens of thousands of people came through the event during the two days. There was an outside festival area and stage, and an inside stage where the actual performances and competition happened. It was a very intense couple of days. The first day was prelims, and I thought I wasn’t going to make it because I missed a trick in my opening runs. Every trick counts a lot for points at this competition too. As it turns out I made it through anyway to finals for the next day.

After prelims there was a huge kendama festival in Hatsukaichi near the birthplace of kendama, which was where the event was actually being held. It was crazy to see posters about kendama everywhere and everyone recognizing us and knowing all about kendama. Zoomadanke performed brilliantly as always at the festival and we all had a very good time.

Finals day was a long one. I got into my practice zone and got my run ready, but it ended up taking all day long for me to actually be up to do my run. I did well and couldn’t be more stoked on the eighth place outcome. Huge congratulations are to be made to Bonz Atron, Kris Bosch, and Satoru Akimoto for killing it so hard and taking top three spots.

It’s hard to put into words the experience at the World Cup. It is definitely the Olympics of Kendama. It’s taking kendama to a worldwide superstar level. I’m very stoked to see this event grow and continue over the coming years. I’m also very stoked to get some rest. It’s been a hectic few days since the last update. We’ve been filming and traveling from Hiroshima back to Osaka since the event. I have never been able to fall asleep so fast anywhere I am as I can here in Japan right now. I have sleep trick B honed in really, really well right now. Huge thanks to everyone that it happen.

I’m going to keep this update short and give you guys some pictures right now instead of more words. It’s about 2am in the morning here in a hotel room with Rodney Ansell and Eric Martin. We’re here for a night before we fly to Hokkaido tomorrow for top secret kinds of missions with Yuka Hyuga from Gloken, and we need to get some sleep. It’s hard to find time to write and wifi with all the craziness going on here, but bear with me I’ll get you more!

Peace for now!

- Keith M.

Dave and I getting to be Zoomadanke helpers on the sacred stage

Zack and I making it to finals

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Japan Update #1 from Keith

words by Keith Matsumura

This summer all nine members of the KendamaUSA team had the privilege to travel to Japan for the Kendama World Cup here in Hatsukaichi Japan, where I write this from now. I personally have been here only two nights, but it has already been crazy busy and exciting. I want to share with everyone my thoughts and my perspective as the trip unfolds.

A couple of days ago, or maybe three or four days, it’s hard to tell at this point, I disembarked from Wenatchee, Washington for Seattle. I spent one night in Seattle and caught a flight to Hawaii in the morning, where I was supposed to catch a connection on to Japan. My flight from Seattle got delayed on the tarmak and despite running out of the plan and through the Honolulu airport as fast as I could, I still didn’t reach the gate for my next flight in time. I was rebooked for a flight 24 hours later to continue on to Japan. I was a little bummed about missing precious Japan time with my kendama family, but the airline got me a hotel at Waikiki Mariott for the night with free dinner where I had a really nice evening by myself.

The next day I made it back to the airport and caught my flight to Osaka, where I was told that a serious typhoon might be raging when I got in. Because of my late arrival and the typhoon, no one from Global Kendamas Network was there to pick me up and take me to Hiroshima where everyone else was at that point. I didn’t know what the situation was going to be for me getting there until I made it to Japan. I had to roam around until I found some wifi to contact GLOKEN and figure out where I was supposed to be trying to get to. I ended up buying the wrong train tickets twice, and finally getting help from a train station employee to get the right ones. I caught two normal trains and had my first Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) ride by myself, which was an amazing experience. Despite not understanding one sentence anyone told me during the whole trip, and after stopping at the wrong station twice, I finally made it to Onoura near Hatsukaichi where kendama legend Zawa and Gloken picked me up and drove me to the hotel where everyone was staying. Even though I hadn’t slept in a really long time, there was much kendama jamming to be done at the hotel until 3am when I got there.

The next morning we had a great Japanese breakfast in the hotel. I love Japanese food; I think that I feel a lot better when I am in Japan because of the healthy food they eat in correct portions, and also because it’s so hot that you’re always sweating out toxins and having to replenish. We headed on to Miyajima island with a packed bus full of kendama players from literally all around the world. KendamaUSA was there from the USA and Canada, KendamaCo from the US, Sweets from the USA, Romania, France, and some other places maybe too; Terra from Canada, some players from Hawaii, Yan from Russia, Ruisch from the Netherlands, and some more too (sorry to leave anyone out but there are a lot of people here and i’m pressed for time to write this update right now! Gloken is keeping us on a tight schedule for the tour/World Cup, and by tight schedule I mean trying to heard dozens of kendama players like cats around to different locations and minimize the amount of trouble we’re causing).

On Miyajima we had the unique opportunity to sit in on a ceremony in the sacred shrine and to perform kendama on the sacred shrine there as well. It was nerve wracking because we were told that if we dropped our kendamas or hit anything on the stage we would be in big trouble. At the end of everyone going up to perform individually, Zoomadanke came up to perform. Dave Mateo and I were asked to be Zoomadanke’s helpers and side guards on the stage to catch any wayward tamas that might slip during the performance. We both got to put on Zoomadanke’s perfomance clothes and be on the stage with them while they put on an electrifying and appropriate performance for the spectators and Japanese gods of the shrine. I overhead Kodama (one half of Zoomadanke) talking to Matt Jorgenson after the event about how incredibly honored he was to have performed on that stage and how nervous he was. I began to realize that getting the chance to perform on that stage was a really, really big deal. I don’t think many people at all get to set foot in the inner shrine or on the stage, much less foreigners. Unreal that we got no.

We had another performance and jam session with a bunch of local kids from Hatsukaichi basically right after returning from Miyajima. This was due to us leaving late from Miyajima. There was a perfect area for a good skate session, and five of us including me brought skateboards. We got pretty distracted. At the park/gold course where we jammed with the kids Kazuma Iwata showed up with some gifts for us. Amazing laminated Mugen Musou tamas were given to all the foreigners that showed up for the Kendama World Cup. It was an honor to receive one, but more importantly it was great to see Kazuma again!

After the day was all said and done it had been an incredibly full. I was really tired but at dinner the energy levels took a swing up again and we ended up doing consistency games to receive Mugen Musou pendants from Kazuma, and then some of us spent quite a while trying to throw chopsticks like darts into bottles. Matt Jorgens0n and Matt Ballard take top honors in that game.

The best part of out hotel is that we have an Onsen (Japanese hot pools and bath house) connected to our building. I went and had a good solo Onsen session and was then joined by Thorkild May and Shimadera-san. I stayed with them for a while longer and went straight to sleep afterwards. Did I mention that any kind of covering is a real weird thing to do in an Onsen? Japanese bath houses are traditionally enjoying fully naked, and if you think that it would be awkward to chill in some epic hot pools naked with your homies then you’re wrong. It’s basically the best experience ever. It’s very relaxing and good for your health.

Well, sorry for the quick update with no pictures and no proofread, but I have to go eat breakfast and get ready to leave for the first round of the Kendama World Cup today! I’ll keep you all updated whenever I can on what’s going on here in Japan, and hopefully bring you some pictures too!



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Colin Sander Practicing Kendama

As the game has evolved, so have I had to evolve with it. There’s just too much history for me to turn back from kendama now. ‘Colin Sander – Practicing Kendama’ sees me working on some of the harder, ‘new-school’ style tricks. I can honestly say I’ve challenged myself physically and mentally to come through with this jam edit. I’m in better shape than I have been in years and have improved flexibility, and a knee that’s finally healed from surgery. These factors all helped me lay down some heavy hitting tricks that I present to you here.

There is some riding funk thrown in for fun to break up the madness. Sorry for not sessioning outside, but these were cold, calculated, introspective learning experiences. Special thanks to Matt Ballard and Kristian Aynedter who really helped me learn in the early stages. Good luck to everyone at the Kendama World Cup, It amazes me the level of play that is out there now, and I’m thankful to be involved in it.

new inventions for this edit:
cork kenflip. (3 twist 1 flip)
double-kenflipping juggles.
nollie tre flip (sara grip)
‘sh*t stained juggalo’ (credit: Andrew McIntyre)
aka double-kenflip juggling around the world
‘traveling’ (trip 2 trip [whirlie])

track: Kixxie Siete – Kixxie 7

Just so you all know, this is not my tenth edit… My tenth edit, ‘Kendama X’, is going to be an immersive kendama experience that reaches and takes place in far flung corners of the globe, harnessing the talents of many people both in front-of and behind the camera. When Kendama X finally reaches fruition, You will all have the chance to own it and experience it, and it will be the first of it’s kind in the juggling community. Patience, young grasshoppas.


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Zack And TJ Throwback!

What are you’re plans for the summer?

Today we are bringing it back to last summer when TJ and Zack explored Pittsburgh, showed off their patriotism and jammed some dama! This is the perfect summer edit so sit back and enjoy an edit with unmatched vibes, and that essential feeling of SUMMER, then get out there and enjoy the summer for yourself and play some dama!


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Trevor and Charles After Work Whittier Session

If you’ve ever ordered from Kendama USA, there is a good chance one of these guys have been involved in fulfilling your order. Charles Rager and Trevor Starnes have been working hard at Kendama USA for years now. Today we had a quick session at Whittier Mills Park after work. The heat and humidity are insane in Atlanta this time of year, but we still managed to knock out a few tricks while getting drenched in sweat. Enjoy!

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