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March 13, 2017

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How to Make a Flyer For Your Kendama Event

How to Make a Flyer For Your Kendama Event

So you have planned your kendama event, and decided how, where, why, what, and many more details. We understand, you want to start getting the word out. Flyers are a great way to let anyone know about your event. They can be shared on Facebook, Instagram, text messages, and in other random places.  While they are easy to share, it is a little harder to gather peoples' interest. The better your flyer looks, the better your event will be. If your flyer isn't planned well, who is to say that the event won't be either?

Show the Right Information

Less is often more when it comes to design. You want people to know good, valid, and specific information about your event. Keep it clear, concise, and concrete. Your flyer needs to have at least this information:

  • Name of the event
  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Kendama sponsors/prizes

Anything else can usually be talked about in the captions below when sharing your flyer. Type of event is a popular one to be described in captions, but sometimes it can be useful to just sum up your event type by saying something like, "Jam Session," as it gets the point across and people know what to expect.

As for all of the other details, I would rank them in importance and decide by their importance how you will arrange them.

Make it Obvious

Once you've decided which information is important, and you've ranked them, you can arrange them in a way that makes the most sense. Typically, the name of the event goes at the top. It is the first thing people look at, and that can be used to make the idea stick. Once kendama players have read the details, when they talk about the event by name, others will know all of the other details associated with the name.

Next, everything else follows. The more important things are usually bigger, The size of the text conveys importance!

Kendama companies/sponsors are usually all at the bottom. Sponsors of the event are important, but there are often many of them which can clutter your flyer. The details are the most important for your sweet kendama event.

Spread It!

Share your flyer with as many people as you can. Then get them to share it as well. The more kendama players you can get to an event, the better.

If you've gotten this far, and you like the idea of hosting an event, check out our guide: How to Host a Kendama Event

 

March 06, 2017

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Shipping Kendamas in the USA

Shipping Kendamas in the USA

For anyone who hasn't purchased a kendama before, you might have a few questions about shipping. It's nothing too complicated, but if you've never experienced it, you might not know what to expect. If you are looking to buy, sell, trade, or ship kendamas to a buddy, you might be looking for advice as well.

When you purchase a kendama, unless its from Amazon, it typically won't arrive within 2 days. Typically, companies ship kendamas via the United States Postal Service, or USPS for short. There are usually two types of services: first class mail, and priority mail.

First Class

First class mail is by far the most cost effective way to ship kendamas. First class will usually arrive in 3-5 days, depending on the distance. You can use your own package, which usually is a bubble mailer or cardboard box. The only catch, however, is that you're only allowed up to 16 ounces. You may be able to pack two kendamas into a first-class package, but you want to make sure whatever you're sending is safe, otherwise, what's the point?

Priority Mail

Priority mail is the next option above first class mail. Priority is if you want to ship 2+ kendamas, or really anything at all. Priority mail is called that because these packages have priority over first class! They are delivered a little bit faster and usually arrive in 2-3 days, anywhere in the United States.

Flat Rate

If you don't really care about price, then flat rate boxes are very convenient. They are shipping priority mail, but you don't have to weigh what goes inside, because it will cost the same no matter what. This is usually more expensive, but if you just want to write on the box, tape it up, and send it, then it can be very convenient.

Something Arrived Broken

Unfortunately, sometimes things arrive broken. Before blaming anyone, think about what your package went through: in some cases, it may have traveled over 600 miles! It is passed through many hands, buildings, equipment, and vehicles. Given that kendamas are made of wood, these things happen.

If you are trading someone, then you are in a tough situation. That person may have no way to replace it, and if they did, it might be hard to believe that the package itself was broken before you even received the kendama. You kind of have to play the situation smart and be mature about it all.

If you ordered it from a company, then you're likely in luck. Many companies will be comfortable replacing your broken kendama if you have good photographic evidence. Take pictures of your destroyed package and the kendama, and email the company. Explain your situation and be patient. Patience goes a long way. If you are not angry, but understanding, you will get it fixed! 

February 27, 2017

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Why You Should Make a Kendama Edit

Why You Should Make a Kendama Edit

First of all, what is a kendama edit? The term edit originated within the skateboarding community, and means to edit series of videos of you landing tricks. Kendama edits usually integrate music to align with a theme or to set the mood. Sometimes music is selected just because the creator likes it. Edits have become increasingly popular, and for good reason! Let me tell you why:


Sol Kendama Pros (Queen City Kendama Open on March 12, 2016)

Community

Many different slayers do not have a local kendama community. Unfortunately this is the case for a lot of kendama players, and it isn't the most fun situation. One way to connect with other kendama players is over the internet. By sharing your edit, you are putting yourself out there and allowing others to know you exist and allowing them to comment on your stuff. Despite the occasional troll, you will receive mostly positive and encouraging comments. In addition, the more people see you, the more they feel like they know you. When you finally meet in person, it will be like you've been friends forever. Not everyone will be interested or know who you are outright, so you will need to watch edits and leave comments as well! It is a two way street.

Check Your Progress

Day to day, your skill may not seem like it has improved much. You may learn a new trick after a few weeks of practicing, or you may more consistently learn to land certain tricks. Over time, however, you will be making big progress towards being a good kendama player. When you make edits, you can compare from one to the next how difficult the tricks are getting. It is a really funny feeling to get to your fifth edit, only to look back to your first to see you landing tricks that are now extremely easy to land.

Show Off Your Skill

Bragging rights. I've heard people say, “If you haven't landed a trick on camera, you haven't landed a trick.” It is one thing to say you've landed a trick, but if you can back it up with evidence, you're a legend. Some people are interested in getting involved with a company. Every company puts out great content from their players. If you have a history of making really good and cool edits, companies may be interested in having you on their team.


Ash Cups & Walnut Stripe Sol Flow Kendamas

These are just a few reasons why you should start putting yourself out there and making edits. There is no downside. You will learn how to film, edit, and produce content which is a fantastic skill to have. If getting started sounds difficult, then keep in mind that you don't have to create, just document. If you're going to practice, just turn on the camera and let it whirl. Get started!

 

February 20, 2017

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What to Do When You Get a New Kendama

What to Do When You Get a New Kendama

It's kind of funny, but it seems like many kendama players have developed a routine when they pick up a fresh, new kendama. Obviously when you first open that new package, there is that exciting feeling of checking out what you just purchased. Aside from that, others will do various things such as: weigh their kendama, measure string length, take pictures, and more.


Sol Kendamas Rosewood Ken

Take Pictures

A ton of kendama players have Instagram profiles because they like to show off kendama. Fortunately, kendamas are works of art. They all look pretty cool. Its common to do a quick photo session of your new kendama before it gets all bruised and shredded from playing. After you've beaten it to a pulp, you can look back fondly upon the freshness of your favorite kendama.

Weigh Their Kendama

Also fairly common, many choose to weigh both their tama and ken. Some prefer to have at most a 10 gram difference between the two. For example, you may have a tama that is 80 grams, and a ken that is 70 grams. Some say that they prefer closer ranges in weight because they can 'feel' it in spacewalks and other tricks. Others disagree and think that you should be able to jam a kendama regardless of the weights, and that it can get to your head if you think about it too much.

Oak Sol Flow

Testing String Length

In order to do certain tricks, like juggles, you will need a bit more string so that you have more room to do the trick. To do this, you can put the tama on the spike and pull the string below the base cup. Typically people shoot for between 3 and 4 fingers fitting below the base cup. Some may prefer longer, especially if they want to do something crazy like a 7 turn jumping stick or 10 turn UFO.

Gluing Spikes

If you have a problem with your spike becoming dull too quickly, or prefer to keep your kendama as maintained and fresh as possible, then you may too be a part of the kendama players that glue their spikes. Typically it is just a light layer of glue spread thin over the spike. This creates a little enamel for your spike and protects it from dulling too soon. You can reapply when you feel it is necessary, but it usually lasts a while.

Try Some Tricks

There is no faster way to understand your kendama than trying a few different types of tricks. If you are skilled, you may like to try various tricks that test each different part of the kendama, such as a lunar, gunslinger, stilt, bird, or more. Ideally, you can get a feel for how your kendama will sit in different tricks and how it responds to testing its balance. Others, who aren't too worried about banging up a kendama, may choose to do some yank spikes.


Walnut Stripe Flow

Don't Drop It

Nothing is infuriating as dropping a kendama, especially over concrete or asphalt. Those battle scars last a lifetime, and if you would like to, you can avoid them from occurring by playing over grass or carpet.

Developing your routine will come down to what you prefer and what you like. It will come over time and may end up driving your friends crazy, especially when you come to them for more glue. Regardless of your routine, make sure you enjoy your new toy. Have a good time jamming!

February 13, 2017

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How to Host a Kendama Event

How to Host a Kendama Event

If you've never hosted a kendama event before, it can be both stressful and overwhelming. There is a lot to take care of, but if you break it down into simple steps, it becomes pretty easy. As a matter of fact, it really isn't that much different from events you may have planned before, such as a birthday party or even a get-together for friends. Let's break it down into five questions: Who? What? When? Where? How?

Who?

You want as many people as you can to come to your event, because the more the merrier! Kendama is a community, and if you want to make more friends and have a good time, you want as many people to join as you can. In order to find kendama players near you that could be interested in your event, try going through Instagram or Facebook and looking for friends of friends. You can look for profiles that are tagged in your friends' pictures and find new people! I'd recommend making a list of names and their social media handles so you can reach them in the future. Another option is checking to see if there are kendama communities for your state or city. Two examples are the “Indiana Kendama Community” or “Kentucky Kendama Players” communities on Facebook. These would be great resources to contact players near you. In addition to finding attendees, you will need to let them know of your event. Once you have all of the details, I recommend posting in these groups, and sending personal messages or direct messages to each person from your list. Not everyone will be able to make it, which is another reason why you want to over-invite.

Sol Summer Tour Stop: Marietta, GA!

What?

Your kendama event can look many different ways; it can be a regular “jam session,” a structured event, a series of mini games, or anything you can dream! To help you decide, you can usually relate this decision to how long you want the event to be. If you want to shoot for a two hour event on a Saturday, then maybe its best just to get the group together to hang out and socialize. If an eight hour kendama fest sounds fun, then you will want to have structure. By structure, I mean a series of activities that will happen over the course of the day. You can start off with mini-games, then follow up with a K.E.N. Tournament, then finish with a freestyle event. The advantages of structure is that you control the flow and attention of your event, it will last longer, people have more fun, and it is easier to get prizes.

When?

Planning your event mostly depends on your attendees. If every person you invites is busy on a Tuesday night, don't plan your event for a Tuesday night! The weekends are usually the easiest for everyone, so that may be a good starting point. As for a time, you can kind of feel it out and ask others what they think. You might also need to be concerned about getting kicked out of the park past a certain time. Be aware of where you play and what is expected of you in terms of time!

Where?

Where you host your event might be the hardest component of hosting an event. If the weather will be good, it is almost always a good idea to host your event at a park or outdoor location. Something like that is very beneficial because it is free. If the weather won't be good, then you will have to look to have your event in a venue. This makes things a little more complicated. You can try to squeeze into someone's garage, or maybe inside of a city meeting area, or even rent a venue. If you rent a venue, do not feel guilty about charging money at the door to cover that cost.

For example, if a venue costs you $200 for a few hours, and you can have twenty people come, then charge $10 per person to come and hang out. Nobody will mind, and it reduces the stress of hosting an event.

In addition to considering where, you need to think about how far of a drive it will be for everyone to meet there. If it is too far, you might scare off some people from going to the event. Usually kendama players are willing to make the drive, however. Battle at the Border, our flagship annual event, hosted kendama players from over 21 states on January 7th 2017!

Battle at the Border 2015 Prize Sponsors

How?

Try to plan best you can. If you're doing a tournament or speed ladder, come up with tricks relevant to the difficulty and type of tournament. Try to keep it well rounded and fair. Remember: it is all for fun! A nice addition to any event is prizes. It might surprise you, but many companies like sponsoring events. We have sponsored probably one hundred events, groups, clubs, etc. It helps small companies get the word out about what they do, who they are, and what they sell, and it helps large companies promote products and support the kendama ecosystem. When you have covered the other four questions, you can compile the details and send an email to each company you can find and ask them to send prizes. Some will send one kendama, some will send a few. Out of respect for the companies, do not keep any prizes for yourself. It is generally frowned upon to win prizes from your own event as well. If you end up having left over kendamas from your event, pass them on to beginners or someone who has never played kendama before.

Be sure to take pictures and make an edit of your event! It will make it even easier to promote, get more players interested, and convince more companies to send you prizes in the future. Remember to encourage good sportsmanship and to have an even better time.

February 07, 2017

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Why Are Kendamas So Popular?

Why Are Kendamas So Popular?

Kendama hasn't always been popular. Of course, it only arrived in the West a couple of hundred years ago, but it stayed fairly dormant. In the past ten years or so, it has become increasingly popular. The game is picking up steam in communities of young adults, teenagers, and occasionally kids. After picking up and trying it, it is easy to see why it is experiencing so much growth. It is both easy to understand and not too difficult for a beginner to learn some tricks. In addition, if you remain interested, you will find yourself pulled into the deep end when getting involved with the deeper aspects that kendama offers.

Community

Kendama does an exceptional job of creating a community. On its own, kendama is interesting and fun, but when paired with friends, it becomes an exciting social experience. At one time, it acted as a sort of adult's drinking game, where missing a trick meant you had to drink more. While not the main reason communities exist today, it is a testament to the fun you can have by playing kendama with others.

Others realized this and began to host events, which fostered communities and competition, the crossroads in which kendama fostered friendships and good times. There is nothing greater than making a new friend through nothing but a shared love for the toy, despite all other differences. It unites people!

Competition

Competitions can be very exciting and very intense. In between events, kendama players practice to hone in on many types of tricks, not knowing which will be required of them at their next event. When another event rolls around, they are ready to test their skills, especially against their friends. If the tricks aren't hard enough, added difficulty comes from athletes competing on stage in front of tons of people. The pressure can often get to your head and hands.

For those that overcome and take away victories, there are often prizes. Prizes can range from some new strings, to a free kendama, to even a free Spikeball set, which we gave away at the past two Battle at the Border competitions. Minnesota Kendama Open has even awarded a free flight to the Kendama World Cup in Japan.

Fun

At the end of the day, kendama is just fun. Great satisfaction can be found when landing a trick you've never learned before. It is very rewarding to progress in the craft. It's a great reason to hang out with people. It helps teach you to be focused. All of these come together to culminate into a very good time.

If you've never played kendama or tried kendama, you need to try it at some point! If you know someone who plays with one, ask to borrow or hang out! You might develop a new hobby or maybe even enjoy yourself!

January 24, 2017

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Why You Should Go to Kendama Events

Why You Should Go to Kendama Events

Kevin DeSoto lacing a trick at Battle at the Border 2017

If you've played kendama before, then you know how social it is. When playing alone, you can focus, challenge yourself, and improve your game. You can watch edits, film your own, and grind for hours. However, many people practice so that when they get together, they can show off and win in different games. Many practice to become better within the community itself. The kendama community is composed of many different types of people, and you can find yourself in a group of individuals that you might not have had it not been for kendama to unite you. No matter the skill levels, it is always enjoyable to surround yourself with other kendama players.


Liam Rauter winning the Open Division at Battle at the Border 2017

That's the beauty of a kendama event: you get to go, make new friends, share positive vibes, listen to music, jam kendama, and sometimes win prizes. Kendama events exist to bring everyone together to have a fun time.

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