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British Kendama Association

Kendama: "Elegant Simplicity. Infinite Complexity. Ultimate Fun."

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European Kendama Open 2008

The BKA headed over to Germany to attend the European Juggling Convention in Karlsruhe - the largest ever gathering of jugglers in one place: 5360 of them! What better place to try to gain some new converts to the way of the kendama?

Things got started with Matt Hall & Void getting up on the Renegade Stage on Sunday night to give a quick demonstration of what the Speed Trick Challenge was all about, and to plug their workshop and the competition.

The next afternoon saw a well attended workshop, with well over 20 participants learning the golden rule of "More Knees!". The time seemed to whizz past really quickly, so more time was spent demoing tricks later in the week.

matt hall toudi on stage

Tuesday afternoon came along, and luckily for us, it was bright sunshine, so the EKO was held outside in the "Artists' Playground", next to one of the convention's big tops. A sizeable crowd gathered round to watch the quarter finals of the STC get under way. Quarter-finalists were new player Louise, Pharayo & Jumper from Germany, Idam & Mark T from UK, Matt Hall from the USA, Tom Derrick from TeamKD, and Marcel from Germany.

Pharayo and Idam fought through to the semi-finals, as did Matt and Tom. Nerves were in evidence in the first Semi, but Idam edged through ahead of Pharayo to the final. The second Semi was an all TeamKD affair, with fastest quarter-finalist Tom facing up against Matt Hall in his first kendama competition. Matt however, was in no mood to dally, and set the fastest official STC time to date, 33 seconds, to head through to the final.

Before that, however, there was a play-off for 3rd place, since there were prizes at stake! Tom faced up against Pharayo, and this time raced away in a fast time of 35 seconds to earn 3rd place. Before the final though, there was time for the Best Trick competition.

The format for this was simple: a time limit of 5 minutes, during which anyone could get up on stage and try any trick. If they succeeded, it was noted down, if not, they would get off stage, and come back for another attempt at the same, or a different, trick. At the end of the 5 minutes, head judge Void called out the succesful player's names along with their trick, and the crowd got the chance to cheer for who they thought had amazed them most.

Many tricks were attempted - special mention to Mark T for trying all his hardest tricks, Matt Hall for his Stab & Scoop, & Tom for his Thumb trap, but in the end the crowd decided that the winners were:
1. Idam [UK] (Chopstick trick)
2. Pharayo [GER] (Commando roll/cup)
3. Fabian [GER] (Body Catch)

EKO PlayersTop row: Mark T, Void, Pharayo, Jumper, Marcel.
Bottom row: Tom, Louise, Matt, Fabian, Idam.
teamkd at eko
TeamKD representatives.

Check out the video here!

Now the time had come for the final of the STC. Matt Hall, juggle sensei and workshop maniac, against Idam, known for his diabolo and devil stick skills, but a secret kendama clicker too. Idam had shown a few nerves in fighting through his first two rounds, but this time was more into his stride. Matt however, hadn't flown all the way across the Atlantic for second place, and barely faltered in his 40 seconds to gain the crown.
1. Matt Hall [USA]
2. Idam [UK]
3. Tom Derrick [UK]

Idam had started the day not even having a kendama on his person, but having bought one, and placed in both top 3s, he walked away with 4! Thanks go to Void & Matt Hall for organisation, and donating the prizes, and Void & Alice for judging the event. Thanks also to all who participated, and the crowd for all their support.

See you all at the next one!