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British Kendama Open 2011

bko group 2011

Watch the video here. Photos from Mr Jumpshoe, Mirek.

The 4th British Kendama Open took place on April 19th, 2011 at the British Juggling Convention in Nottingham. The number of competitors was the same as last year, staying at 29, but surprisingly, this time more competed in the advanced division than in beginners. For the first time, we had some international players entering the comp.

Workshops had been run in the earlier days of the convention, and qualifying times taken for the Speed Trick Challenge. A few players turned up just for the day, and snuck in their qualifying times too.

Things got off to a start with the beginners division, with Void compèring the event. The standard Trick Ladder format was used, but with a few new tricks added from last year. Last year Around The Prefecture tripped up several people, but this year the slightly easier Around The Village did for 3 players. Apart from that, there was a linear spread of achievement running through the field. At the top end Raul and Ian got to tricks number 10 and 11 respectively, but in his second kendama competition, Johnny completed the whole trick list to take the both beginners title and the junior title.

A new "Surprise division" was then announced, with ALL the players present being called up onto the stage at once. Void announced that it was to be a Moshi Kame endurance, and gave the signal for all the competitors to start off at once. After the initial players fell (sitting down on the spot as they did so), the pace was picked up to official Japanese standards of just over 2 catches per second. The field soon fell to just 5 players (literally) standing, and the crowd were brought in on the action to add to the tension with a handclap in time to the beat. Standing near the front of the stage, last year's beginners champion Sam B. kept going longer than the rest, but didn't realise he'd won until after he eventually dropped, looking round to see a sea of sitting faces around him.



Wizard by Mr Jumpshoe

Jeffrey by Mr Jumpshoe

Next came the announcement of the fastest 4 qualifying times for the STC. Last year Matt N. turned up just too late to enter the STC, but this year he showed up a little earlier, and posted a time of 22.67 seconds to qualify in first place. The benefits of putting in a little practice showed through, with Donald and Sam taking 2nd and 3rd place with 23.90 and 24.33s. Looby would have qualified in 4th with 25.35, but unfortunately he had had to leave the convention before the day of the competition. (Interesting to note is that all four fastest times this year were all faster than the top qualifying time of last year.) Mr Jumpshoe therefore qualified 4th with 28.09s, but was lucky to do so, since somehow Guy's time of 27.42 was inexplicably overlooked. Void would like to issue a very public apology to Guy for his mistake.

The first semi-final was TeamKD's Donald vs Sam, with Matt N. and Mr Jumpshoe acting as judges. Neither player could match up to their qualifying times, but Sam won through with a still very respectable 30.94s.

And so to the Advanced division, which this year was to be run on the Japanese knockout format. Players were drawn in pairs for the first round, each having one attempt at a randomly drawn trick form the list. If either both players missed, or both hit, they continue for up to a maximum of 3 attempts per trick. However, if one player hits and the other misses, the successful player scores one point. The first player to score 2 points would go through to the next round.

For the first time ever, all 8 members of TeamKD were gathered together in one place. Two (Void and Arron) took hosting & judging responsibilities, with the other 6 competing. One of these 6 in matching shirts, Donald, was first up against former STC winner Mark.

Mark took a point on Around The World, but Donald pulled one back on triple Tapback. The dice then called Around The World back into the frame, and Mark took the deciding point to go through.

The next pair of Richard and Mr Jumpshoe provided the crowd with the hardest fought first round match, with Richard excelling and surprising himself to take one of the favourites to a seventh trick. Swing In finally separated the two, with Mr J. going through.

matt moons
Matt Moons by Mr Jumpshoe

Next up was Gareth against Mirek, who'd come all the way from the Czech republic. A Bat to Gareth and an Around The Word to Mirek once again took things to a deciding point, proving that the new format was a winner in terms of tension - for both the crowd and the competitors. Gareth proved more solid on his Swing In, and went through. Tom faced Robin in an all-TeamKD matchup, and a close but fast fight saw Tom triumph, once again with a 2-1 scoreline. Jamie took on Matt H., and another close match saw Jamie land a Bat for the decider. Guy came up against Matt N., found him on top form, and faced up to an early exit. The first 2-0 scoreline in 6 matches was followed by two more, with Matt P. defeating sponsor David, and Sam perhaps surprisingly knocking out Dutch champion Jeffrey.

A breather was taken after the first round of the Advanced division, for the second semi final of the STC. Matt N. was obviously in no mood to take prisoners, and saw himself through to the final in a mere 22.79 seconds.

The Advanced quarter finals saw Mark edge out Mr J., and Tom defeat Gareth, both in 4 tricks with a 2-1 scoreline. Matt N. edged out Jamie in another close 2-1 match, then Matt P came up against Sam. Both had a bad start, with 6 misses each in a row, but a Reverse Swing In gave Matt the lead. Next an incredible 5 Bats in a row onstage left the audience gasping, but Matt couldn't manage a 6th, so Sam evened things up, then quickly went Around The World and into the semis.

Semi final time, and Sam faced Matt N.. Once again it went to 1-1, before Matt N. hit a Reverse Swing in to go through to the final. Mark came up against Tom, who carried the TeamKD flag into the final, 2-0.

So now it was time for two finals in a row, firstly the Speed Trick Challenge. Sam once again faced Matt N., and they started off neck and neck, but Sam made a mistake in the order, and there was no coming back with Matt N. on top form: 23.41 seconds of WIN.

With just a quick explanation from Void of what was to follow, Matt N. found himself straight back on stage, facing up to Tom in the Advanced division, with a title at steak. To add more drama, it was first to 3 points for the final. The first 3 tricks drawn were Slip Grip Special, Falling Down and Moon Landing. Tom managed to Fall Down at the first attempt, but Matt N. had just one miss in the final, and after being robbed of the title last year, was deservedly named as the new British Kendama Champion.

While all the scores were totted up, a Best Trick comp was run by Matt H. Completely freestyle, anything was allowed, and any successfully landed tricks went on a list to be considered for final voting. After 10 minutes of manic clicking, Sam, Donald and Matt N. were chosen by Matt H as candidates for the audience to choose from. The biggest cheer went to Matt N. for "the moon has been colonised".

Many thanks must go to our main event sponsor Sunrise Kendamas, providing crystal ball kendamas as trophies, and much more, and also to additional sponsors Oddballs, Kendama.cz, Gravity Outlaws and TLMB tees. Prizes were presented, with everyone winning (at least) a kendama stand, and then posing for a group photo.

Thanks to Andy V, FSD and fak for organising/helping out, and to all attendees, judges and competitors. See you all in Munich in August!

matt trophy


Advanced Division
Position. Name - Round - Points (Misses)
1. Matt N. - Final - 9 (7) British Kendama Champion 2011
2. Tom D. - Final - 6 (17)
3. Sam B. - SF - 5 (10)
4. Mark H. - SF - 4 (13)
5. Gareth - QF - 3 (8)
6.= Matt P. - QF - 3 (9)
6.= Jamie F.- QF - 3 (9)
8. Mr Jumpshoe - QF - 3 (18) Scottish Kendama Champion 2011
9. Donald G. - 1st - 1 (2)
10. Mirek (CZ) -1st - 1 (3)
11. Robin G. - 1st - 1 (4)
12. Matt H. - 1st - 1 (5)
13. Richard O. - 1st - 1 (13)
14.= Guy H. - 1st - 0 (3)
14.= Jeffrey (NE) - 1st - 0 (3)
14.= David M.- 1st - 0 (3)

Speed Trick Challenge Champion 2011
Matt N. 23.41

Best Trick
Matt N. "Super balance combo"

Beginners Division
Position. Name - Level (Misses)
1. Johnny M. - 12 (5) British U-16 Kendama Champion 2011
2. Ian H. - 11 (6)
3. Raul P. (ES) - 10 (1)
4. Jan - 9 (2) Northern Ireland Kendama Champion 2011
5.= Linden - 7 (2)
5.= Duncan - 7 (2)
7. Kevin - 7 (5)
8. Paul M. - 6 (3)
9. Rory C. - 4 (0)
10. Ben M. - 4 (3)
11. Louisa - 3 (2)
12.= Claire - 2 (1)
12.= Catherine - 2 (1)

British Moshi Kame Champion 2011
Sam B.