Kendama USA

Posts Tagged ‘Haley’

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!


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!”


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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Jake Wiens Unboxing video.

Ever wonder what it is like to get a sponsorship package from KendamaUSA? Well Jake goes all out in this video and shows off all of the kendama’s that were sent his way! Enjoy!

Want to get your hands on one of the kendama’s in the video? click HERE!!

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Jake Wiens and Tj Kolesnik in Hawaii for DUNKXCHANGE.

Go kick it with TJ and Jake at the DunkXchange this Sunday in Honolulu Hawaii!

-Get the freshest Kaizen, Tribute, and Kendama USA gear.



-Kendama Ladder Contest


- Get your tickets right HERE

$10 Presale tickets $15 at the door.

Entry fee includes, Entry to DunkXchange, 1 Raffle ticket, Contest Entry, and an amazing session with TJ Kolesnik and Jake Wiens.

2pm – 7pm

Blaisdell Hawaii Suites

Honolulu Hawaii


See you there!!!!

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2014 Kaizens Everywhere.

Check out the Kendama USA family around the country laying down some tricks on the new KAIZEN!

Get one today at

Turner Thorne
Keith Matsumura
Bryan Scagline
Jake Wiens
Dave Mateo
Haley Bishoff
Tj Kolesnik
Wyatt Bray

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Kendama Featured On Facebook’s New App.

Facebook just released their new app called “Rooms”. This app allows you to create groups with you’re friends that have the same common interests as you! Kendama is spotted right when you download the app, and is used as an example throughout the set up!  Check out all the articles featured below, and go download Facebook rooms right HERE!



“Already popular on Rooms: beat boxing, Kicks from Above (cool shoes in cool places) and mouth watering, home-cooked meals, not to mention families who have ditched suburbia to raise their kids on the road and Facebook employees obsessively playing Kendama, a traditional Japanese game.” -Jessica Guynn, USA Today








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What The Dama Art Show.

“Shimpei Kimura introduces the new subculture of the Kendama, a children’s toy introduced to Japan in the early 1800′s. However, people of today have re-invented the kendama, and made it a popular sport around the world.” This Gallery will be traveling to Osaka in November so if you are nearby it is definitely worth checking out!


Jake Wiens kendama was featured in this art installment as well and is still for sale right HERE

For more information about the gallery check out the full website HERE!

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Jake Wiens – Around The World.

Around the world is one of the most essential kendama tricks to learn. Simply small cup – big cup – bottom cup – spike. Jake Wiens explores a few different styles and ads a new twist on an old trick.
Whats your style?

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UltraSuperNew Kendama art Gallery.

The UltraSuperNew Art gallery recently held a welcoming party for all the players from the Red Bull Catch & Flow! The reason for the event was the unavailing of the “kendamas Around The World” exhibit. With submissions from all over the world! Huge Thank you to Shimpei Kimura for making all of this possible! Check out all the submissions right here!

We could not be more proud here at kendamaUSA to have supplied the kendamas for this art gallery!!! Check out some of the pieces here!

Also check out their Facebook and website for more pictures and updates!

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Battle in Seattle Recap.

Battle in Seattle Recap, by Colin Sander.

Any time a trip is being planned where the word ‘Van’ is included always gets my ears perked up. When Alex mentioned during our Japan trip that the awesome pacific-northwest shredfest known as ‘Battle in Seattle’ (organized by the always gracious Gus Carstens) could be, and should be followed up by the Canadian national yoyo contest the next day at Vancouver’s science center,  where we would perform a live kendama exhibit of sorts. Then, that monday, It was to be Terra’s VanJam, to commemorate and spread the word about the opening of their first shop space in a super hip corner of Vancouver (Mount Pleasant) near Main and Broadway, . That was two Van’s in one proposal. The epic Canadian masterpiece of a modern city known as Vancouver (van, vancoo, vancoodidy the coo ((the coup)), Van), the timeless skyline surrounded by it’s towering coastal ranges, AND the Van that would quite literally retrieve us from south of the Canadian border and bring us to the promise land, after what would turn out to be an epic contest in Seattle. A van didn’t end up being part of the equation, but we were more like a care-a-VAN that was to haul some of the more veteran jammers of the kendama scene tup to celebrate Alex and Kristin’s progress with Terra.

Let’s go back, but not too far. Alex Smith is the rare-wood turning lathe-master behind an entire era of epic customs, personally schemed, pressed, shaped, and built to order, who also happens to have invented a completely new juggling device- the pill, out of a mixture of boredom, experience, and chance inspiration. Besides that, he won the 2nd annual ‘find the next Kendama USA pro’ contest, with a killer style, promising ability, and a classy trick vocab. He was new on the scene, but had been organizing sessions in his hometown of Edmonton and putting out crew-edits with them for a while. We all laughed about the swag-factor of having a potential Canadian resident-pro on Kendama U-S-A but everyone already knew than that kendama USA was for the world, not just our states.

a room packed with enough grub, homies, and n64 games to survive a BiS weekend.

anyway, we digress. I left Los Angeles on a friday, one day before BiS. This was to be BiS volume three. I went to both of the last two, as stops at the end of the vintage ‘KG ROOTS TOUR’ and it was a blast both times. The level of play was always high and that was a nice part about it. The epic vistas of the sound and the peaceful atmosphere made it almost like a zen gathering, a display of community and friendship and real dama-love, not just a Jam session. The previous two years also had seen hilarious hotel nights that one only need look at the opening clip of Kendama USA’s dama-fest video on youtube to understand… All those shredders under one roof is a recipe for, well, shredding.

Wyatt Bray shooting Chris June for Mario Bros 2. Cops arrived later stunned to see only dew cans

 Crews made it from all over to the obscure little hotel. Some of us gathered and walked on a nature-loop to scout potential film and session spots, wanting to get off of the hotel grounds, as we were starting to already ruffle the feathers of management with our drum-circle like shred stance and constant stoking, “OOhhs” and “Whaaaats”, and laughter. Tamotsu Kubota, Nic Stodd, Wyatt Bray, Rick (Erick ) and Rod (rodney ansel) and the rest of the COTK crew, all rolled to an ash-grey dock, in a wetlands, where i saw some of the illest head-to-head ken games being played, as nick stood dropped bombs like only someone who had just released two edits mere weeks apart could.

The 3am grind is standard

The rest of the night is a blur. Snacks, trick grind, cops, session migrations, mountain dew, laceage, and the likes went down. I brought lights so we could film all night. Stay tuned for the footage.

We all awoke to a heavy, rainy mist blanketing the Seattle sky. It was almost a kind rain, the day still shining brightly, but the volume of water fairly severe… It kept everyone sleeping late and really relaxed. This was the first year that BiS was moved to a new park, and the new location was quaint, low key, and really classic feeling. Waverly Park, in Kirkland. I liked the stone stairs that descended into the water where the contest’s head-to-head portion would be going off… Last year’s BiS had seen the birth of a now-legendary Bonz, who beat out Sweet’s brandon Meyer for the victory, in a heated, dead-silent head to head battle where the tide was coming in, crowding them closer and closer to the audience. The sun had set a good 15 minutes prior, and they both nursed the last orange glow above the horizon to light their ridiculously consistent tricks. It was a battle to remember. I had high hopes for this one.

Wyatt Bray pizza tossing as BiS starts

The turnout was good, with lots of vendors coming in to represent and support the scene. Kids drove from out of state, crews assembled and made road trips, old friends met up again for the first time in months and new bonds were formed. Everyone was teaching, lacing, stoke-ing, and that is what kendama is all about. The contest was fun, with Keith and I both getting knocked out first round, we just got to watch, but with the MC Chris Bosh making it deeper and deeper into the contest, I had to takeover MC duties and announce the final few battles. Yes our seeding system might have been a little rigged : ) but we wanted to make sure the best names stayed away from each other until the very end. The Advanced contest had already brought tons of excitement, with Jacob Trebil winning and Elijah Lane taking 2nd, 3rd was Bryson Lee. Sam Cannon took home the pro honors with Kris Bosch receiving runner-up honors.

Cam, Jared, Evan, Cullen, grinding out the advanced contest

 After packing up and saying goodbye, we shipped off via two cars with the Terra crew to Vancouver. I got to ride with Keith, which was crucial because we have deep convos that stretch across a wide array of subjects and exist in very different styles and flows. We go deep though, and the two hour ride would prove crucial for scheming future kendama USA epicness. Back in Seattle, the night party raged probably just as hard as years prior; The Vintage Gus’s house days.

PNW feel. trees, rain, friends

We arrived at night to Vancouver, unloaded all of the bags, passing out on the soft session floor of the Terra shop. We needed to save our dama-legs for tomorrows grind, and the following day’s VanJam.

The shop front

 Vancouver was a blur of perfectly hipster beer gardens, sprints through the slanted streets in pouring rain, finding cover at little awnings and overhangs along the way, vegan food, talk of music, juggling, sport, and really fun times in the Terra shop / warehouse. It was cool to see all the new product from Alex and see their operation shaping up. They had come a long way in the community and I was proud of them. So was Keith, and that’s why we wanted to be there to support them (Thanks Jero). We spent the weekend teaching and showing off our abilities, finding new players, and stoking out the immediate vicinity of shops and hangouts near the spot, which is clutch. There is an epic park out front wrapping vancouver’s skyline around you, where endless sessions took place. Alex and Kristin’s first meet-and-greet at the shop went well, and we had random passerbys coming in to learn their first big cups and spikes well into the night. All of the regulars hung out and played a little head to head game organized by Alex. I took down Sweets in the first round with a debatably hand-touched lunar-tre, (it grazed my hand in the air during the flip, not the catch…) and went on to beat Tamotsu in the semis and had a heated battle with Roddama in the finals that he should have taken. It was only fitting that I played the whole battle on a Terra kendama, the hand-turned Mun-Ebony ken that was one of Alex’s first turns of ebony wood, (he had made it for me two years earlier and presented it to me finished at the BiS pre-party on Gus’s porch, I’ll never forget seeing it for the first time…) paired with a 2013 Alex Smith Cherry tama… The thing was a tank, but consistent. And anyway I felt the dama-gods would reward me for playing a Smith-turned piece at his own event.

Alex in front of the Terra collection, free for all to jam with.

The crew stayed  one more day to hang out and film in the city, with no agenda, and I headed back to LA with a few new tricks up my sleeve and a lot of scheming for the future. It’s safe to say I learned sara-grip downspike juggle downspike thanks to Wyatt’s inspiration and Kristian’s practice side-support. My tama was destroyed after that weekend. I’d like to thank all of the companies and supporters that made Battle in Seattle 3 happen. I’d like to thank everyone that put in work and filmed / supported until 5am so that Mario Bros 2 could happen. (Stodd, Caleb Jeffries, Alyjah Onishi, Wyatt, Nick Bedmonds, and the security guards and cops for keeping us motivated)  BiS will always have a special place in my heart, as I’ve seen it evolve firsthand over the past three years, and hope to continue it into the future

Such a prime day out in Mt. Pleasant

Words By Colin Sander

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