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Kendama News

On Friday December 6th, 2019 Matt achieved the JKA's 6th Dan, the highest testable level, making him the first American and only second non-Japanese to do so worldwide. Huge congratulations going out to him for his patience and perseverance in achieving his "mission" started back in 2014.

Special thanks to @CodyGriz for making the livestream happen.

And to our platinum raffle participants-
Gene Nillas Jr.
Nick Dodenhoff
Louke Hernandez
Michael Riedl
Marcus Todd

And of course the core companies who chipped in.

Full Livestream (rebroadcast)

^If you weren't there or watching live, feel free to re-live the entirety of the awards show courtesy of Sweets' Twitch channel!

Minneapolis, MN
The 1st Annual DS Awards took place @ MKO this Saturday and this is how it went down...

Since this was a first, I didn't know what would happen at the 2018 DS awards. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. There was very little communication on the planning side and even less funding. But that's part of what made the "pilot episode" of the DS Awards so special. I had an idea for a new kind of awards show, but execution is a different beast altogether.

The night started off somewhat predictably with a slight delay. The freestyle competition was over two hours behind schedule at one point, but the organizers rallied to catch up a bit by skipping dinner. When it finally wrapped up, Cody and the livestream team from Sweets ran over to set up for DS Awards. But some wi-fi issues dogged the venue, so I handed over my mobile hotspot, braced for data overages, and hoped for the best. It worked.

With the wi-fi lit, the doors opened and the room packed in. @htimSxelA took over hosting duties, and absolutely crushed it as emcee to a standing-room only crowd. He even learned how to tie a bow tie, though without a collar it was definitely a chippendale vibe. There were a few hiccups with the video playback of the categories, but with drinks in hand and butts in seats, nobody seemed to mind.
The host with the most and his intergalactic bow tie.

First, the room was introduced to breakout performance winner JOKBERT, if they didn't know him already. It was pretty epic to have him there at MKO all the way from Finland. Next up, Chad Covington introduced the Best Instabanger (single trick) category, which Bonz took...
The Oscars...
The Emmys...
The Espys...

and now,
The DOWNSPIKE awards!

*not actually Colin's hand.

So much of Kendama happens behind the lens, and not during a live competition. Those hours spent slaving away on that edit deserve to be recognized, and we want to let the kendama community do that!

Downspike, together with our ad partners, present one big night of fun, honors, and laughs, livestreamed from MKO.

Categories include things like:

The winners will be voted on by YOU!
Shout out to OC kendama who did the Citrus awards in 2016. That was a first.
But DS has the platform and the ability to truly make it a global awards show.

We need the community to help us make this happen.

Your raffle ticket money will go toward:
  • Cost of Trophies (fresh ones, non-kendama shaped)
  • Costs of producing a livestream show
  • Downspike livestream capabilities and site upgrades
  • Venue costs for the award show
During the show, everyone who buys a ticket will be entered into a live raffle which will include INSANE prizes, including a GOPRO and an OG MUGEN! If you're at MKO, come check it live, and if you're watching via livestream, save your raffle tickets, and check to see if you win!


*The raffle is limited to the first 100 entrants so cop a ticket now!
**You may buy as many tickets as you want

Some Prizes:
IMG_20180926_134844.jpg IMG_20180926_135202.jpg

More details on the event coming soon....

Sweets Goes National in 1,800 Target Locations and

Press release from sweets:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, Sept 27, 2018 -- Sweets Kendamas, a local, small business co-founded by University of Minnesota graduate Matthew “Sweets” Jorgenson, will be announcing their products’ availability in all 1,800 Target locations nationwide. The company is excited to share their toys with new customers around the country in their first national placement. Kendama is a thousands-year-old skill toy that was first invented in Japan. For the last 8 years Sweets Kendamas has been modifying and customizing the toy to encourage more people all over the world to try Kendama. Although Sweets Kendamas has a strong presence on social media and offers their products in specialty stores and online, this is the single largest push to spread their brand and unique product to mainstream customers.


The Sweets Kendamas - Prime Dot Burst Series are scheduled to hit shelves as soon as October 1st, and are expected to be in every store before the holiday season.

The kendamas releasing in Target have been designed to be the best tool for both new, and professional players. The main focus of kendama is to catch the ball on one of the 3 cups or the spike. By making the cups larger, and painting tracking elements on the ball, every trick is easier to achieve with some practice. This is the first time that a competition-grade kendama has been offered to such a wide audience in the US.

To celebrate the release at Target, Sweets Kendamas will be running two social media contests to giveaway a grand prize pack that includes one of every product that Sweets Kendamas makes. Details about these contests will be releasing on (or @sweetskendamas) and...
"Why Would Anyone Buy a $75 Kendama?"
I have been asked that many times by non-kendama players. I have to admit, it's a fair question.

Recently, I've had the pleasure of picking up a Terra prefect. I had promised to kind of shelf it for a little bit, but I find myself reaching for it more and more over any other kendama I own. In fact, the kendamas I play the most (right now) are the Prefect, a Mugen x HG collab, and a Rez. It struck me that the combined value of these is somewhere in the $250+ range, which is absurd. And yet, I seem to be getting my use out of them.

Sweet baby jesus is this thing honed.

5 reasons why you should splurge:

1.) You'll land more tricks.
A more expensive kendama does NOT make you a better player. In fact, one could even argue it acts like a crutch. It's almost like growing up surfing a perfect wave... the second you have to surf a shitty one, you're out of your element. But then again, having a completely honed setup will almost certainly increase your consistency. It may even unlock some new tricks.
Case in point: I'm terrible at stilts. Usually I need a 2 year old Tama with a chewed up hole. However, stilt on a prefect? ...First try out of the box.
Beginners luck? Maybe. But nah.

The consistency provided by a perfectly balanced and well-crafted kendama will serve you in your efforts to tweak, hone, and learn. Many people have locked in lunars on something like a slaydawg only to learn that they are powerless over a TK-16 (which I also love).

2.) It's a more delightful experience
This might sound ridiculous to non-kendama players, but while playing kendama is enjoyable, playing a premium kendama can be delightful. There is a palpable difference in how a premium kendama feels. In the same way that a blue bottle cappuccino performs better on the tastebuds than a Starbucks, there is something to be said for...
The Road To KWC
(Or any other comp in Japan)

Hello everyone.
After seeing how most foreign players had some difficulty during their time at the Kendama World Cup, i thought i'd contribute a little by providing this guide of sorts.

I hope the guide below will help you loads, and let me know if there's anything you'd like to see added to this article.


Section 1 :
What to bring

  • Coin purse / pouch / case : Coins are king in Japan, so a coin purse is the best way to go.
  • Suica / Pasmo card : These make public transport travel easier. Accepted all over Japan, it's just tap-in, tap-out. Let the card worry about the fare, not you. Most convenience stores also accept Suica / Pasmo cards as a form of payment. Less cash in hand, less worry.
  • Japan Rail Pass : If you are in Japan for extended periods of time, and you need to travel super long distances by train, look up the Japan Rail Pass. It’s a great way to travel.
  • Train map : No, not the foldable kind. We're in 2018, fam. Surely there's an app for it, otherwise a simple Google image search will do. Save that map in your phone.
  • Cooling towel : With temperatures reaching up to 35ºC/95ºF, July is also the most humid month in Japan, at around 70%. Do yourself a favor by getting a cooling towel. You'll be thankful you did.
  • Water tumbler / bottle : In case you haven't the above,...
Friday, May 18th 2018

Last month, Kris Cabal dropped a bombshell on the Kendama community when he announced via Instagarm that he would not be producing any more kendamas. If you've never had a chance to play with a REZ, it's a totally unique experience. This small passion project turned into a cult following for players who sought out the flex, grip, and heaviness that only a REZ could provide.

@Cheech_Sander sat down with Kris Cabal of REZ kendama to talk about the REZ story from origins to the end. Listen below:

Thanks for all you've given us, Kris!

Sakura Classic is the annual kendama competition held in Japantown, San Francisco during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in April. It is always a weekend filled with friends, fun and kendama, and this year was no exception.

This year’s Sakura Classic tried out a new contest format: double elimination. Don’t quite understand how double elimination works? Check the example below (you can skip this next section and go to DAY 1 if you already understand the concept):

I’ll use my situation as the example. My first match was against a young slayer named Connor LeSeur (Svlty Bois). I won the match, meaning I advanced in the winners bracket while Connor was moved into the losers bracket. Unlike past events, Connor isn’t fully eliminated from the competition after this. He still has one more chance to keep advancing in the competition, provided that he doesn’t lose a second time. Same goes for anyone else who loses their first match. Because I advanced in the winner’s bracket, I would be facing against the winner of whoever won the match that was occurring at the same time as mine. Some of the pro/sponsored players had a bye for the first round because of an uneven number of competitors.

Unfortunately, the player that I would end up facing would be Wyatt Bray. Yeah that’s right, 2015 Kendama World Champion Wyatt Bray; I felt pretty confident in my competition abilities this year, but this guy definitely knows his way around a trick list. I ended up losing the match, so I was moved into the losers bracket while Wyatt advanced in the winner’s. My loser’s bracket match was against a cool dude named Alex Guzman (Rogue Dama). We had an awesome back and forth match, 2-2, neck and neck. He ended up winning on the hanging 1 turn inward lunar trick. We both missed it twice, but he managed to snag it on his 3rd and final attempt, and snagged the falling in from out of the ground. It was a well deserved win in my eyes. Double elimination is a great concept because it...