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Kendama Entertainment Network

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Kendama Philosophy

Discussion in 'The Sesh' started by Cheech_Sander, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Cheech_Sander

    Cheech_Sander Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    One of my favorite publications is New Philosopher Magazine, which gives the ideas brought forward by classical western philosophers (think everyone from Socrates to Sartre) a modern twist.
    This month's theme is "play":


    “An hour of play reveals more than a year of conversation.”
    -Anonymous.

    Each issue, they have an essay competition and I am working on one based around Kendama, which ties in nicely to the theme of play. Some themes I'm including:
      • The unexpected joys of Kendama (meeting people, inside jokes, a sense of community, the joy on a strangers face when they hit big cup)
      • KAIZEN philosophy
      • The beauty of no batteries- aspects of play that have been forgotten in a digital age
    So, I ask you, downspike... What are your unexpected joys of Kendama?
    How do you see this game?
    Did it change how you view the world? Or is that ridiculous? Do you just treat it as a waste of time? (to that end, is there honor in wasting time these days?)


    Basically, I'm looking to foster some discussion in this thread that I can use for inspiration in my writing.

    Here's the note from the editor-

    PLAY-
    At its best, play provides a spark in life, releasing us from the burden of playing ourselves. At its worst, play becomes a game to win at all costs: think Lance Armstrong’s doping or the Australian cricket team’s ball tampering. For better or for worse, play reveals us – to ourselves and to others.

    Canadian philosopher Bernard Suits, in his playful book Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, in which a Socratic grasshopper seeks to prove the value of play, wrote that a game is “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”. But why would we set unnecessary obstacles to overcome?

    Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute of Play, argues that we do so because play is “the vital essence of life” and “the basis of what we think of as civilisation”. Suits’s grasshopper is no less effusive, arguing that game-playing is the supreme intrinsic good; that in utopia the central activity would be to play games. Whether it’s the main game or just a sideshow, it’s hard to deny the importance of play. Whatever the case, it couldn’t hurt to take the grasshopper’s advice and, every now and then, just go outside and play.


    —Zan Boag, Editor, New Philosopher
     
    Jun 7, 2018
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  2. Instagrom3

    Instagrom3 Honed Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I love this. And i will certainly help out as best i can

    Originally i saw this game as a time killer. Travelling around, waiting for busses and general backpacking usage was mostly what it would be good for. Fast forward years later and its now a stress reliever, balance assistant and fun object that can be used as conversation starters.
    To that end, i think there is honour in wasting time for sure. Though to be fair the benefits put it far above wasting time at this point.

    I do think it can change how we view the world. Even in the simplest way its much like rollerblading, if you're out and about running errands or whatever, you'll notice something about an area, like hmm maybe that could be a cool spot for a clip, or look at that ledge that'd be a sick spot to skate. These are not normal things people notice, my girlfriend has assured me of this. But because of our love for these games we do look at the world differently.

    The other point id like to make is about the note from the editor at the bottom. He talks about "unnecessary obstacles", but really those don't exist.
    If we never set goals for ourselves we'd never accomplish anything. Therefore playing any game is simply us improving ourselves. Perhaps in ways we don't even understand yet.

    Anyway thats all i could drum up in a few minutes, ill be sure to check back on this later, since im sure there will be others with interesting ideas.
     
    Jun 7, 2018
  3. cbwalsh24

    cbwalsh24 Honed Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2016
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Oooo, I like this.

    I fancy barstool intellectualism and wanderlust impressioned philosophies.

    This is something I've personally delved into before... Why do I continue with this plaything?

    Here's my two cents.

    Playing allows the body and mind to maintain the fruitfulness of youthfulness.

    When I find time and an inspirational space to play, I can get lost in a unbeknownst world.

    "Find Your Zen", everything and anything else will cease to exist.

    There is an energy. There is spirit.

    Playfullness is an invaluable quality. It's stimulating, rejuvinating, and fun.
     
    Jun 8, 2018
  4. Emil Apostol

    Emil Apostol Slayer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Location:
    Philippines
    In addition to everything said above, kendama is an exercise in patience, perseverance, and stoicism.

    Kendama isn't all fun and games, contrary to popular belief. Some days, you grind for hours and hours and you don't get the trick you want. You go home feeling dejected, but after a good night's sleep, you go out and try again. I think that's a beautiful lesson that kendama teaches people: some things in life don't come easy.

    It isn't even in the "play" aspect of kendama. Organizing events, making edits, and even getting a fair amount of ridicule for being a grown man/woman playing with a kid's toy are challenges to overcome. I'm thankful, however, cause kendama taught me to take it in stride and keep slaying.
     
    Jun 8, 2018
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  5. Fr3dMc

    Fr3dMc n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2017
    Have you heard of the game where you can play against yourself and you hit a small ball with a highly engineered stick? It's called golf, and it's an acceptable hobby around the world. Just because it's not main stream doesn't make kendama any less respectable than other game or sport.
     
    Jun 8, 2018
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  6. Emil Apostol

    Emil Apostol Slayer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Location:
    Philippines
    I never implied otherwise. Maybe you misunderstood my point that people may see this as a kid's game, but I keep playing nonetheless because I love dama.
     
    Jun 9, 2018
  7. Fr3dMc

    Fr3dMc n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2017
    I was being sarcastic btw . Just trying to put Kendama into perspective compared to other main stream hobbies
     
    Jun 9, 2018
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  8. htimSxelA

    htimSxelA Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Ahh I need to jump on a subscription to NewPhilosopher, I've leafed through a couple issues before and they were well put together. For some reason there are no stockists in Western Canada, so its sub or nothing for me. But anyways...

    Great idea to submit an essay, have you submitted any in the past?


    I'll think on this a little more, but as a first thesis-idea, I like the idea of looking at play as an enjoyable form of self-betterment. I'm thinking of kittens playfighting, as training for the hunt: kendama is a game that can impart skills that are valuable in real-life situations, while remaining disguised as an enjoyable children's toy.
    This is an unexpected joy in many ways: I think many people here will agree that kendama has made a lasting impression on their life (better coordination, dexterity, patience, thoughtfulness, etc), but that certainly isn't the reason any of us picked it up. I think the kendama player that started playing so that 'they would have better patience when completing intricate/repetitive tasks' is probably a very rare breed. Most of us are fooled into this result: drawn to the excitement of our first spike, we are unaware and uncaring of the sorts of benefits play can bring.

    We train ourselves to perform well in important 'real-life situations', and finding ways to enjoy that training is likely a benefit to our psyche. Perhaps our minds have even evolved to enjoy certain types of playful, but useful situations... but that might be a bit of a stretch for an essay like this.
    (I'm thinking: subconsciously we realize we are engaging in a decision making process, but also that it isn't an adrenalin-pumping do-or-die situation. So we interpret it as fun! Because if we instead interpreted it as not fun, then we would miss out on valuable training for the eventual do-or-die scenario. But I'm just spitting off the top of my head here, likely heading into some sort of pseudo-psychology realm lol)
     
    Jun 13, 2018
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  9. Emil Apostol

    Emil Apostol Slayer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Location:
    Philippines
    Love this thread!

    I believe kendama is a marriage between tradition and innovation. The game is at least 300 years old, and though recently more technological progress has been made with the kendama itself (e.g. Sticky paint, boosted cups, bearings), the core concept of the toy doesn't change. Even traditional models with slick paint and standard cups are still considered really good and are held in high regard.

    This perfect equilibrium of philosophies is also seen in the culture and play of kendama. The concept of "kentegrity" largely still prevails even with the most new-gen players. No matter how wacky new tricks get, there is still an emphasis on "keeping it clean", and it's great to see the core discipline of kendama sticking to its players through the evolution of the game.
     
    Jun 15, 2018
  10. sambarboo

    sambarboo Slayer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Location:
    Oceanside
    I play for approximately 15 minutes before work each day. It helps me both loosen up and focus before an intense day at the office.
     
    Jun 16, 2018
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  11. juhn

    juhn n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Location:
    NorfCal
    Over the years kendama has helped me become less antisocial and anxious. Focusing on a kendama instead of the whole room keeps me in a zen like state, away from overanalyzing my actions. Before, I would just lock up when people I wasnt familiar with would speak to me, but now when approached I smile, we converse, we play, and I end up with a new friend. Seeing others having fun and taking interest in a toy that helped me open up and overcome things in my life however small they may seem brings me great joy.
     
    Jun 17, 2018 at 12:21 PM
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  12. Nick Lectura

    Nick Lectura Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2016
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    Wow, your comment just helped me realize that kendama has helped me become less antisocial as well.
    I feel like it's because a big part of kendama is about spreading the love and you can't really do that if you're not open to new people and being able to engage with them. So cool!
     
    Jun 18, 2018 at 5:07 PM
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  13. Cheech_Sander

    Cheech_Sander Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I will be uploading an excerpt in the next week or so.

    In the meantime, does anyone have any memorable kendama quotes as it relates to the idea of "play"?

    I'll give an example from skateboarding:

    "you dont quit skateboarding because you get old... you get old because you quit skateboarding"
     
    Jun 19, 2018 at 11:43 PM
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  14. Emil Apostol

    Emil Apostol Slayer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Location:
    Philippines
    "You play you." -Jake Wiens's personal kendama Philosophy
     
    Jun 19, 2018 at 11:48 PM
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  15. htimSxelA

    htimSxelA Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Wiens has a good video somewhere with a bunch of quotes that'd probably be relevant to your project... I'm gonna be only half-useful here, as I don't remember which channel its posted on (KUSA? Kengarden?), or what its called (?).
     
    Jun 20, 2018 at 3:40 PM
  16. MarkFiskeArt

    MarkFiskeArt n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2018
    Location:
    Morris, Illinois
    @Cheech_Sander Take a look at the writing of Stephen Nachmanovitch. He speaks on the philosophy of play in his book, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. It is an excellent read. Here is a link to his website. There is an article on there as well. http://www.freeplay.com/2-main-writing.php
     
    Jun 21, 2018 at 7:45 PM
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