These days there are so many kendamas to choose from, all types of colors, shapes, designs. While all kendamas are special in their own ways, there are certain ones that outshine their counterparts in sentimental value.
I’m talking, of course, about a Pro Model kendama, either designed entirely by or in part by a player. In today’s market, there’s a Pro Model you can purchase from almost any company and most of the time it would cost around the same price as other kendamas of the same quality. But, what makes it more meaningful to buy a Pro Model?
Most companies make it so that when the player’s model sells, that player is supported in some way, usually financially. Buying their Model can be the best and most direct way to show your support for your favorite player. Maybe a certain player inspired you to start kendama, or a particular player’s social media posts always get you fired up and ready to play. By owning their kendama, you have indirectly included yourself in the players life by owning a piece of their personal history, all the while, building your own history along the way.
I recall getting ready for my drive several hours south to Battle at the Border 2018, I was having a hard time deciding on which kendamas to bring for the weekend trip (I’m sure many of you can relate to that). This was my very first time attending one of the larger events in the United States, so I was quite excited knowing I was going to meet even more kendama celebrities. More-so, I knew Kevin Desoto, Sol Kendamas Pro, might be there, so I thought it the perfect opportunity to get my model of his signed by the man himself. I threw it in my luggage along with a pile of other mods (Too many, really).
At this time, I hadn’t met Kevin yet, so I was quite nervous about interrupting him. Like a lurking creep, I waited until I felt like there was enough lull in conversation that Kevin was unbothered before walking over to introduce myself. Kev, with his wholesome demeanor, was immediately accepting of me, beginning to chat with me and ask questions about myself, like where I was from and how long I’d been playing. We immediately hit it off; Kevin has a thoughtful, inquisitive nature that I found ripe for conversation. Through the small talk, I confessed, telling him that I wanted to ask if he’d be willing to sign my Pro Mod. With delight, Kevin agreed, smiling from ear to ear, informing me that I was the third ever person to ever ask him to sign something. I supplied him with a sharpie and he penned his name along the sword, actually thanking me for asking him to do it.
Today, I can safely call Kevin a close friend. Even though kendama has grown to such large scales worldwide, we still possess so many of the small, tight knit community aspects. Kendama professionals are not just players, but whole and vivid individuals just like you and I; they also just happen to slay at kendama. If I had never bought and played his model, and if I had never asked him to sign it, would we still have become friends? Maybe, most likely, but it’s those first moments between each other that truly resonated with me and I cherish them greatly, even more so than the kendama itself at this point. Now, that kendama is one that I’ll never part with, and that is really something special. That piece now holds its own special spot amongst my collection of other kendamas, serving as a representation of my friendship with Kevin and a reminder of that section of my kendama journey.
Buying a player’s Pro Model is one of the best ways to show them their own validity in this community. By buying a Pro Model, you’re letting that player know they have created something that you love and that maybe they’ve inspired you.
I highly recommend you get it signed, too, if you’re able. Lifelong friendships might be right around the corner.