Kendama USA

Archive for November, 2019

AGKO 2019 Recap

AGKO Girls!

I’m in a van full of Kendama players blasting early 2000′s Emo Punk music as we all take turns to yank spike a mini Kendama on our road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. That’s how my weekend started leading up to the All-Girls Kendama Open!

I got to join my friends @kmarqued @cho.dama @stephlussier @nikki_deo & @karendufus on our journey to AGKO. We rented a van, stocked up on food & drinks, (a whole lotta SunChips), good vibes, and a playlist full of nostalgic music! The first hour or so we were stuck in classic LA traffic but it didn’t matter at all because we were all having so much fun already, and everyone was just so hyped to be together in one place! In the car we would lace tricks with a mini Kendama we brought along, and during our pit stops, we’d have a film sesh or just jam to stretch out our bodies. We would even practice the AGKO trick list. It was honestly a Kendama road trip that I’ve always wanted, and I already knew at that moment that it was gonna be such a fun and unforgettable weekend!

The following day was the big day. We had a whole day of free time until the competition, so we decided to check out Seven Magic Mountains and film some tricks there. I ran into a group of Japanese tourists and they noticed my Kendama, so of course, I got them to try it out. They all took turns trying to spike, and one of them already knew how to play and managed to lace Around Japan first try! I taught him how to Lighthouse and he managed to get it after a few tries! He was so stoked and it gave me so much joy!

We then headed to the venue Distrct Arts where I was welcomed by a whole lot of familiar and unfamiliar faces. It was such a crazy experience meeting friends I’d known for over a year online and also meeting people I didn’t know but was able to connect thanks to Kendama. I was also welcomed by organizers Haley Bishoff, Carolina Herrera, and Kevin DeSoto. Some of them I was meeting for the first time but was warmly welcomed like we’ve known each other for a long time. The whole room was just filled with such good vibes and it was so beautiful to see so many purple colors everywhere and I could feel so much love in that room.

As well as the main competition, 7 to Spike was also planned for the event. As I was registering for the competition, I suddenly decided to try out 7 to Spike. I saw the list of names who had signed up for it and I thought I wouldn’t be much of a competition to those people and I might end up embarrassing myself not being able to lace anything in such a freestyle situation which I didn’t have any experience in. But I knew it won’t matter at all as long as I have fun. It was also an opportunity I knew I won’t come across often, and I thought it would be the best way to celebrate Dave Mateo. Just going out there and having fun. And I’m so glad that I decided to do so! The whole energy I felt was incredible, I was honestly a little nervous and shaky going up there at first so I wasn’t able to land any tricks. But the crowd’s reactions to seeing what I was attempting gave me so much energy and helped calm me down. Everyone was so supportive and encouraging! I’ll never forget that energy I felt during that game!

The competitions were also such an amazing experience. This was my first ever competition and big event so it was even my first time watching a competition live! It was so exciting being able to support my friends compete in person! I was shouting and screaming so much with excitement with everyone that I was starting to have a sore throat! There were so many great matches and it was so inspiring to watch everyone compete! I wish I could talk more about the competitions and some of the matches I got to see, but the whole day felt so surreal to me that it’s all kind of a blur. But I remember every emotion that I felt. I remember somehow managing to lace tricks on stage that I really struggled with leading up to the competition and scooping up spikes which I was proud of. It was honestly such a privilege getting to compete against Nikki, Jenny, and Steph in the Open Division and sharing the stage. It was so calming getting to face my friends in a competition when I thought I would be so nervous, and genuinely getting excited whenever they scored a point against me! The whole competition was like a roller coaster of excitement.

For the final round, it was me against Steph. We had a very suspenseful match but I managed to take the lead with Opposite Hand Around the World as I scooped up a spike onto one knee. When I was announced as the winner, I honestly couldn’t believe it. I never would’ve imagined I would take the win at my first ever competition. Just being there in that place at that moment with all my friends was already a win for me. So it was all such a surreal experience that I will never forget and a memory I will treasure forever! I’ll forever be grateful to everyone who made this event possible and to all the friends I got to spend time with on this journey. It sure was such an incredible experience and I’m so inspired to play Kendama more than ever! I hope to make it out to more events in the future!

- Lisa Komatsubara @lisakendama

 

Check out the Kendama Lisa used to win the AGKO here!

 

AGKO Winners!

AGKO Winners

First Place – Lisa Komatsubara (center)

Second Place – Steph Lussier (right)

Third Place – Jenny Cho (left)

AGKO 2019

 

 

 

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[2019] North American Kendama Open (NAKO) Recap!

NAKO Recap!We had a blast hanging with the Kendama community at this year’s NAKO event; renamed from Minnesota Kendama Open (MKO).  Repping KUSA were Bryan Scagline, Zach Magnuson, Nobu Nori, Rui Sora, Josh Kim, Daunyé Synigal, Dylan Westmoreland, Oliver Malby, Haley Bishoff, Wyatt Bray, Logan Tosta and Alex Smith. Great job to all those that competed, especially Zach Magnuson who took third in open, Oliver Malby who took third in freestyle, Nobu Nori who took second in freestyle, and Josh Kim who won the Yank Spike Contest!

The competition this year was great! So many players coming from all over the country to play Kendama is always such an amazing and unique experience. And the new venue this year was amazing. The first two days in the hotel were perfect for jamming Kendama and watching the competition go down! And the last day in the Varsity Theater was incredible to see the finals take place! Good Kendama, awesome friends, and amazing weather on Sunday made this weekend unforgettable! Congratulations to Motty for taking first in Open, and Nick Gallagher for taking first in Freestyle! Kendama USA was proud to be able place on every podium this year! We can’t wait to see our players compete at other competitions and the next NAKO!

Post competition on Saturday, the Downspike awards were a huge success! Getting to award the community for all their hard work and creative genius is the best. Thank you to Alex Smith and the Sander Brothers for hosting! Make sure to get on Downspike at downspike.com, or download the mobile app on your phone to always be in the loop with Kendama! And that’s right, Colin Sander was at NAKO this year helping judge freestyle and host the Downspike Awards! Hopefully we will be seeing more of Colin in upcoming events. And of course, a special thank you to Sweets Kendamas and all of the gracious volunteers for hosting another great event!

Thank you again, until next year MN!

NAKO Podium Open

NAKO Podium Freestyle

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