The Kendama World Cup 2016 (KWC 2016), which took place in Hatsukaichi, Japan wrapped up this weekend. It was available to watch via a livestream on youtube. I really enjoyed watching it. The 2 days of livestream are all available on the Gloken youtube channel, so you can go back and watch the event in case you missed it over the weekend.
The brand new Kendama World Cup Champion is Bryson Lee, pro with Sweets kendama. He scored a crazy 976 points, beating out both Bonz Atron and Wyatt Bray’s scores from the previous two years. Bryson seems like a really nice guy. He was so choked up and full of emotion after winning. I’m sure it is extremely overwhelming. I don’t know much about him or the Sweets team, but they surely deserved it and displayed a humility and professionalism that is admirable!
I had just a few thoughts on the Kendama World Cup I wanted to share. You might consider these to be criticisms, but I don’t intend them to be negative. KWC is only in its 3rd year, and overall they did a fantastic job. It is clear that Gloken and all the organizers and sponsors are very passionate about Kendama. I think this passion shines through and at the end of the day is the most important thing to make the World Cup a success.
So, my 3 main criticisms:
- Music was a bit tough to stomach. DJ Zawa put it on. It was strange, because I think he has a good rep. But the music was so strange, people were constantly commenting on it in the livestream chat. It was weirdly repetitive in many places, and just didn’t have the right feel or vibe that one comes to expect from Kendama. Truth be told, the normal trap/hip-hop whatever type music that is prevalent in a lot of edits is not necessarily my cup of tea, but this weird minimalist, repetitive techno that Zawa was playing just seemed jarring and honestly distracted from the event. I think it may have even affected some of the runs up on stage. 2 of the Japanese competitors came up with headphones on (I don’t remember who) and I honestly don’t blame them.
- Performers like Zoomadanke, another guy (forget his name) and the Kendama companies seemed too casual. It was underwhelming on the performers side of things, and didn’t seem very well thought out from the sponsors/teams side of things. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but I think a little more thought here could really make this part of the event outstanding.
- This criticism maybe isn’t warranted, but I’ll mention it anyway. The wait time in between things seemed painfully long. Now I know I wasn’t there. I was watching the livestream. I know there is a TON that goes on behind the scenes. The very nature of a big tournament means there are scores to tally and to double check, lot of organizing and directing of people. But still. The mini-games were okay but also seemed to go on too long. I guess when everyone is so skilled that is to be expected a bit as well.
Okay, I’m done being critical. The event was really great, I just had to say those few things. I’m really looking forward to this next year. Kendama is very exciting to me right now, and as a beginner still I’m going to stay up to date with the developments around the sport and see if there is anything I can contribute. For now there’s not much, but I’ll continue to make some posts here if I have some thoughts. I’ll also keep grinding and working on new tricks, and maybe throw some videos up as well.
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