Kendama Pros Bring on the Clack


By Scott Sanchez | LB Indy

Kendama master Kristian Aynedter signs autographs at One Laguna. Photo by Scot Sanchez.
Kendama master Kristian Aynedter signs autographs at One Laguna. Photo by Scott Sanchez.

An estimated 600 people turned out for the largest organized kendama event to take place in Laguna Beach this past Sunday, Dec. 7.

Kendama is a traditional Japanese toy consisting of a hand-held ken (sword), which has three cups, and tama (ball) connected by a string.

Inspiration for the event came local Jason Hoffs, who after watching his son Nick and his friends playing kendama and mastering many of the complex tricks, decided to find a platform to show off their skills.

Kendama tricks consist of catching the ball in the cups or on the spike or variations such as juggling the ball between the cups or balancing it in various positions on the ken.

Clacking of kendama newbies and professionals could be heard for hours at One Laguna, Firebrand Media’s interactive media center on Forest Avenue.

Hoffs, producer of the Tom Cruise film “Edge of Tomorrow,” recruited local kendama professionals and representatives from a Japanese trade association to attend. A Japanese television channel covered the event.

Kendama U.S.A.’s Colin Sander entertained the audience as he and his fellow pros performed advanced kendama acrobatics. Several mini “competitions” took place where kids were challenged to replicate some of the more popular kendama tricks.

“When Jason came to me with this idea, I was super psyched as my boys and their friends are kendama junkies,” said Scott Sanchez, publisher and chief technology officer at Firebrand Media.

Now, Sanchez needs to clear the calendar. Both professionals and the kids demanded to know, “When is the next one?” Summer of 2015, he says.

For more kendama news, see japan times.

Here is some footage from the action outside the event.


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