By: Tyler Marshall, The Kensession Stand
The Japanese skill device that's sweeping North America
The United States is on its way to becoming a Kendama nation. These small, pocket-sized skill devices, originally from Japan, are starting to sprout up everywhere in the USA. Initially they appeared in skate shops on the west coast. Now it seems they're starting to pop up all across North America.
From town to town, from the streets to the country, Kendama is spreading like wildfire. Once someone picks up a Kendama and learns a few basic tricks, they are instantly addicted for life. Once one appears at a school or university, next thing you know there are 50 Kendamas there.
Jake Wiens and Matt Rice from The Kengarden in San Francisco have created a sensationally innovative blog that consists of edits, photos, and videos that have grown exponentially in popularity. Recently they have been hosting Kendam "Battles," which are essentially competitions in a fun, festive setting. These events are like no other. The Kendama battles are really starting to prove that Kendama is not just another sport, but a fun social event with a competitive flavor. This philosophy is making Kendama more than just something you do when you are bored. Playing Kendama is about more than just the tricks alone. Individualism is a value that is highly promoted in the Kendama community. It is about style, creativity and just being yourself. Kendama allows you to promote who you are, and show the world your passion and skill. The possibilities with Kendama are endless, and complete mastery of it is nearly impossible.
Professionals like Colin Sander and Turner Thorne from Kendama USA have been producing unbelievably Skillful and stylish edits that have thousands of hits on YouTube. The Kengarden recently held a battle in San Francisco, California in January that sparked the attention of such folks as the legendary San Franpsycho team, and artist/custom freestyle painter Ube Urban from Ube's IceCream Shop. The San Franpsycho crew even taught everyone how to print their own Kengarden t-shirts. Ube Urban demonstrated a small sample of his artistic skills on a limited edition gree Oozora ball with a sharpie (photo). The rumors of this legendary battle became so prevalent that even Music Television had to get some footage of San Franpsycho and the Kendama kraze.
It is so amazing that something so simple like the Kendama has the ability to bring out the best qualities in everyone, and needless to say everyone had the time of their lives.
(Photos courtesy of TJ Kolesnik Photography and Kenneth JunJie Mo)