The Sol Kendamas team found themselves at the 2015 Minnesota Kendama Open this year. It was incredible. It was the first time that our team got together (minus Aaron!) and jammed together. And yes, of course, we did manage to sneak some kendamas through the airport.
Cal Nassar got to compete in his first ever free style competition, and it wasn't easy. He faced some of the free style legends: Dave Mateo, Thorkild May, and Jake Fischer. He made it through the first round, beating Kristian Aynedter at the judges' discretion. It was tough, and Cal wasn't able to take home the trophy, (congrats Jake!) but he clocked in some serious experience. He'll be ready for the next competition for sure.
Wesley Carkonen also showed up in the Open Division. Every big name was in the house, and the competition was intense. Wes made it into the top 32 of players, which is a great accomplishment. Joshua Groves ended up beating Wes in the next round, with nerves at an all time high. The young slayer is going to grow up ready to take all the titles.
On Saturday, we had the opportunity to release our new standard-sized ken-only options. You can find them online here. They're available for a limited time! Be sure to cop a new ken.
We're very thankful to have the opportunity to travel to Minnesota for the most epic kendama event of the year. Big ups to the guys at Sweets Kendamas, and of course, the man himself. Matt took good care of us. Thank you very much!
Here's to another year of dama!
Starting a community is never an easy task. The guys over at KendamaNorway are working hard at doing just that. They aim to build a community in a country that really hasn't seen kendama. These guys found us on the internet, and helped us bring our kendamas to a new country! We wanted to hear about their story, and help them find some support! Without further adieu, the interview:
What is Kendama Norway?
Kendama Norway is the name of the only Norwegian Kendama team. It consists of Elias Salbu and Kim Fredrik Moberg.
If you're flying in the United States, you might be wondering whether or not you can take your kendama as carry-on. The TSA prohibits various items, some as vague as "sharp objects" or "sporting goods," which puts kendama in a tight spot. Generally, metal kendamas are a big no-no.
No. As a matter of fact, many of people have managed to take kendamas on the airplane. One example that comes to mind is Musous On a Plane. The most important thing to the TSA is passenger safety.
Keep your kendama tied and the tama on the spike. Don't give anyone a reason to find trouble. Make sure it is extra visible when your items are being X-Rayed. Being more visible shows that you are not trying to hide anything.
Once again, don't worry! Explain that a kendama is a toy and show them a couple of basic tricks. They shouldn't give you any trouble after that, especially since you'll land every trick.. right? Right.
YES. Take a kendama with you! If you're worried about losing a favorite kendama, check it in your bag instead of taking it as carry-on. Take a jammer on the plane instead. You can celebrate after you have made it through security.
Keep in mind that it is good to be concious of those around you on the plane; kendama noises could be almost as bad as the crying baby in 26B.
Do you ever wonder why some kendamas are made of different kind of woods? What if a kendama felt smooth or rough to the touch? What if the weight of a kendama changed the way you felt about it?
Knowing all of the details behind kendama styles might influence your decision on which kendama to play with or purchase! Let's talk wood.
Ash wood makes for an incredible kendama. The premium quality of the wood leaves for both interesting grain patterns and stellar play. This is a favorite for everyone. Ash is love at first sight for many players. It's like playing with art.
|Feel:||Smooth, but wide grain|
Kendamas that use Ash wood:
Beech wood is the most popular type of wood used in kendama. The reasons are simple: it is inexpensive, durable, and is a fair weight. These are fantastic kendamas for a beginner, due to durability and cost. It's everything right in a kendama.
|Feel:||Slightly rough to the touch|
Kendamas that use Beech wood:
Cherry wood is a very light wood used in kendamas, and is suitable for those who enjoy a softer wood. It has a slightly pinkish look and is enjoyable to hold. It is also generally less expensive than other kendamas. A light kendama like the cherry is very easy to juggle and balance.
|Density:||Not very dense|
|Durability:||Less durable than beech|
Oak wood is similar to beech, and is generally all around fantastic. It has a very strong cross grain and strong grain in general. It is featured in our Flow Kendama line and plays incredibly well.
|Feel:||Rough to the touch (you can feel the grain!)|
Kendamas that use Oak wood:
Mahogany is an incredible unique and beautiful wood. Boasting a gorgeous orange hue, Mahogany is perfect if you're looking for a cool kendama with style. On top of good looks, it also plays fantastically.
|Density:||Slightly more dense|
|Feel:||Smooth to the touch|
Kendamas that use Mahogany wood:
Maple is another incredibly popular wood used in kendama. Primarily for durability, maple is also used for its clean looks. Maple also boasts a wonderful noise when making contact on a kendama. It's an absolute favorite of the kendama community and I'd recommend at least one maple kendama in your collection.
|Density:||Slightly more dense|
|Feel:||Smooth to the touch|
Kendamas that use Maple wood:
Walnut is also popular, although a bit less than maple. Walnut is a perfect wood to use in laminations (or splits, such as stripes) because of its strong contrast with lighter woods. This dark wood tends to be light and have beautiful grain.
|Density:||Slightly less dense|
|Durability:||Okay durability (slightly brittle, beware of concrete!)|
|Feel:||Fairly smooth to the touch|
Kendamas that use Walnut wood:
It is good to know what type of wood you're looking for before making a purchase. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal style. Don't be afraid to try new kendamas, despite being a size, weight, or style that you're not used to playing. You might make a new friend!
1. Don't get frustrated
Easier said than done, yeah? Look, everyone else gets frustrated too. It is perfectly normal, but to get better at kendama, you must overcome it. If you're frustrated or upset, you're not going to play well. Kendama is a form of meditation, and bad emotions don't make for good meditation.
If you're feeling an emotion and it isn't positive, it might be time to take a break.
2. Take breaks
Have you ever had a long kendama session that left your knees weak? Was your forehead drenched with sweat? Sometimes it's easy to get in a groove and jam for hours. I'm not saying you don't need to practice, but if you've been working on getting a trick for four hours.... then it might be time to take a break.
Taking a break helps your brain recoup. It gives your hands some time to rest. You'll sharpen your focus and be better prepared for your next sesh.
3. Try something new
It's fun developing a style and getting into a routine. You might have the go-to stalls or juggles. After grinding on a trick or combo for a long time, it might be a good idea to just dramatically change up your game by playing entirely differently! Remember those gunslingers that you haven't attempted in 3 years? Yeah, it's time to sling. When was the last time you practiced around USA?
It's time to shift your style and flow.
4. Play with a different Kendama
It sounds crazy, but give it a try. There have been days that I've struggled to get a trick, switched up the gear, then landed it immediately. Maybe you need a different balance, a different weight, or maybe the paint is too sticky!
Change up your game, you might see new results!