European Kendama Championships (EKC) 2022 Logo (Leiden, Netherlands)

European Kendama Championships 2022

This article is constantly being updated with the most recent information as it becomes available. Here you find all updates:

 Date Update
06/06/2022 Announced players through Instagram
  Planning
  Prizes
27/06/2022 Update: New information (read below)

Update: New information

Besides this guide, there has been a lot of new information about the event. We sadly don't have time to update this one with all the latest info. That's why it's important that you read carefully through the official EKC Instagram and Discord, you find these here:

Official Event Discord Server

Official Instagram Event Page

EKC Guide: Everything you need to know

It's a beautiful summer day. Outside, people are chatting and playing Kendama. 

From inside we hear a distant announcement “FREESTYLE FINALS ARE ABOUT TO START”.

 

As I walk into the building my eyes have to adjust to light. It's packed with people carrying Kendamas around their necks and trying to land a quick trick as they gather around the stage. The crowd raves with excitement as the MC announces the freestyle finalists to come onto the stage.

He spins the ken to decide which finalist will go first. The ken points to the left.  "PLAYER READY..? JUDGES READY..? CROWD READY..? 45 SECONDS ON THE CLOCK IN 3... 2... 1..."

I feel a chill go down my spine and goosebumps on my skin. What CRAZY Kendama tricks will we get to see in the next minute..? Who will become the EKC 2022 Champ..?

 


 

We hope you're as excited as we are for the European Kendama Championships taking place on the 1st and 2nd (Friday and Saturday) of July, 2022! Players from around the world will travel to Leiden to participate and enjoy the biggest European Kendama event. Want to know all about this event? In this comprehensive article we'll break down everything you need to know, so you will be prepared leading up to this event!


 

1. Important EKC stuff first

Before we begin informing you about all the details, we want to get some of the important stuff to you right away: 

1a. Lodging

If you are planning to come, a place to sleep is the first thing to take care of. These are in high demand and you have the best chance for an optimal place to sleep if you take care of this as soon as possible. For more information skip to "How to arrange your stay"

 

1b. Supporting the event

There's a multitude of ways for you to support the event. Please read all about them in the "How can I support and contribute?" section.

 

2. What 

2a. What is EKC?

EKC is the largest European Kendama event: the European Kendama Championships. It’s the European counterpart of events such as NAKO (North American Kendama Open) or BATB (Battle at the Border). An event that attracts people from multiple continents, has the best players facing off and is a true treasure for the community. It's a place for meeting old friends and new like minded individuals.

At the EKC, Kendama players come together to hang out and join competitions, such as a speed ladder for Beginner and Intermediate, and Open & Freestyle for advanced and pro’s alike. The European Champion will be crowned for both Open style division and Freestyle, where the highest placing European will receive that title for 2022.

Arguably the best thing about EKC will be how it will motivate people during and after the event to be stoked on Kendama: the energy that is collectively felt during such a gathering is a treasure privileged for those attending Kendama events.

2b. What competitions will there be?

During the EKC there will be competitions for Beginners, Intermediate players and for the advanced / professional players. Joining a competition is a lot of fun, challenging and you'll learn a lot about yourself.

Tricklist video per competition:

 

➡️ Beginner Speedladder Tricklist - Instagram

A Speedladder is a competition format where a group of players race through a list of predetermined tricks. The player that finishes first, wins!

 

➡️ Intermediate Speedladder Tricklist - Instagram

It is recommended that you participate in this one if you can already do most of these tricks. This would mean that beginner would be far too easy for you and unfair for others.

 

➡️ Open Tricklist - Instagram (Winner receives 500€ cash prize en is seeded for the KWC (Kendama World Cup) finals in Japan, and voor NAKO (North American Kendama Open in Minesota, United States)

"Open division is a classic competitive format for kendama. Two players face off in a match where consistency is key. The players have 3 tries to hit the tricks from the list. The players alternate going for the trick, if both players match the tricks, they null and go on to the next trick. The tricks are chosen randomly. Find the list on the @eukendamachamp IG.
Double Elimination is a system where each players has one "life". They are allowed one loss, a second chance of sorts. Once a player loses they are moved to the Second Chance bracket, where they can fight their way back to the top. The winner of the Second Chance bracket must beat the Winner's bracket finalist twice if they are to win the whole thing!
The winner will be crowned the European Open Division Champion!" ~ EKC Website

 

➡️ Freestyle (Winner receives 500€ in cash prize and is seeded for the top 16 of Catch & Flow, the biggest Freestyle Kendama Event, held in Japan)

Freestyle is where this event is about! In this format each player has a window of time to display their style and best tricks. The format is like Catch & Flow. EKC will feature the same format as is used there. Players will have 1 minute on stage to perform. The top 15 players + 1 seeded player will face off in 1v1 matches. The winner will be crowned the European Freestyle Champion!

 

2c. History

Europe used to have a yearly big event called the European Kendama Open (EKO). The last edition was held back in 2018, in Romania. Nick Gallagher and Bonz Atron came out from the US and occupied first and second place in both Pro Division and Freestyle. Tiblex took third place in Open style competition (Pro Division) and Joris Schweppe took third in Freestyle, both becoming the highest placed Europeans and the last European champions of the EKO.

 

The rights to hold this event were then transferred to a party in the Netherlands. In November 2018 they announced that they would host the EKO in May 2019. However in January a message came out that “Due to unexpected circumstances we will set a new date.” The date never came out and the party had held on to their rights to host the EKO, practically discontinuing the event indefinitely.

 

KROM Kendama wasted no time and announced on the 1st of April 2019, exactly 2 months before their event, the EKC in Copenhagen. The event focussed on being a freestyle “Catch & Flow” style tournament. Wyatt Bray took first place, Rolf S. Ganer took second and Bonz Atron took third, making Rolf the European Champ of 2019. Check out a full run of Bonz to catch a vibe of what the energy of this years EKC might be like:

And get some more hype checking the recap made by Frederik Moller

 

 

Fast forward to 27th of February 2020, KROM announced EKC 2020 for Copenhagen yet again. This was about the time covid started to hit and we had no idea a lockdown would happen. One month later they announced:

 

We’re sad to announce that the EKC will be postponed until further notice. With the current situation regarding COVID-19 being uncertain, we do not feel responsible continuing to plan an event that may end up being cancelled due to health risks.

 

From then we didn’t hear about EKC ever again…

Until the 8th of April 2022, when Teodore Fiorina resurrected the @eukendamachamp instagram with the announcement of #EKC2022 on the first and second of July in Leiden, the Netherlands.

 

A week later, on April 15th, Teo announced the GT-EU film coming out as a fundraiser for the EKC. Anyone who wishes to see it can donate to receive a full quality digital copy of the 25 minute Kendama film in order to support the budget of this year's EKC. If you haven’t yet done so, you can donate and receive the film on the eukendamachamp website

 

Now, at Kendama Senses, we couldn’t be more stoked that the event is going to be in our home country. Hosted by Teo we can be sure the event will be a success. More about Teo later. With everyone stoked on Kendama and in need of attending in-person events again after this lockdown, there will be more people and more stoke than ever before!

 

2d. This is what I can expect:

☑️ The biggest European Kendama event to date

☑️ The best players gathering and seshing Kendama with you

☑️ Days full of competitions for every level

☑️ Video premieres of the biggest brands

☑️ Vending of (pre-release / limited edition) Kendama products and accessories

☑️ Food and drinks to buy at the venue

☑️ Having a great time with the homies

☑️ Sweets Kendamas LIVESTREAMING the event

☑️ Meeting new friends

☑️ Not believing your eyes about the tricks you see people do

☑️ Good public transport connections to anywhere, so easy to reach

☑️ Hanging out in one of the most beautiful cities of the Netherlands

 

3. Why? 

3a. Why does EKC matter?

 A thriving Kendama scene benefits us all. I imagine a world where in every city there are groups of people seshing Kendama, regularly coming together. Always having others to play with is for me the number one improvement to make to our Kendama scene. For many it’s their number one problem: not having others to regularly play with, it takes away part of the fun and caused many not to continue their Kendama journey.

But strengthening the Kendama community and industry isn’t something that we want to wait for to happen, nor is it easy to accomplish. Teodore knows this all too well and initiates this world-class event. It paves the way for new players to join and see what our community is like and creates more hype in the current community to keep playing and take Kendama more seriously. He envisions a world in which Kendama players realise they can pursue Kendama more seriously, rather than seeing it as a side-hobby. This event is a step he puts towards that goal.

 

3b. Why is this a big deal and should I attend?

This is the pinnacle of Kendama culture.

Whether you are interested in Kendama or you are a player, here you will experience what the Kendama culture is all about (hint: the experience you’ll have can hardly be put back into words)

Meeting other players of all levels is a truly beautiful experience. Connection with so many other players is a lot of fun. There will be a lot to be inspired by and we’ve always heard from others and felt ourselves that after an event, Kendama brings even more joy than ever before.

 

4. Who?

4a. Who is hosting EKC?

This years EKC is organised primarily by Teodore Fiorina, professional Kendama player for Grain Theory. Over the past years, Grain Theory has helped Teo to travel and attend many events all over the world, allowing him to connect with many prominent people in the Kendama scene. His experience professionally pursuing Kendama and his vast network within the scene allow him to be very well suited to organise this event. Resulting, for example, in Sweets traveling from the US to the Netherlands to livestream the event.

Among Teo there following people will make up the EKC team:

  • Alexis Noel from Nativ Kendama and Kendama France
    In charge of all designs for the EKC
  • Jack Roberts Community Ambassador and player for Kendama London
    In charge of the EKC discord and wil be busy during the event day
  • Ole Wohlenberg Pro player for Kendama Israel
    In charge of the volunteers and brackets during the event
  • Chiara Ravinetto
    In charge of keeping Teo in check

4b. MC during the EKC

During the EKC there will be a number of people behind the mic to spice things up for the crowd. The EKC will feature none other than: 

  • Nick Padeberg
    Nick has been MCing in the EU scene for as long as most players can remember. Hyping up the crowd as he expresses his mindblownness about what he's seeing
  • Bram Komen
    Bram made his entry as an MC during the FEB19 event from Kendama Senses, where he replaced Jordi van Velzen to show how it's done. His humor, accuracy and enthusiasm sets a real vibe.
  • Ben Cante
    Ben is no stranger behind the mic as the coolest kid on the block. Last time we saw him as an MC was during Baguette Cup #2 and boy did the crowd enjoy his presence. 
  • Unknown
    The last MC for the EKC has yet to be announced. It's likely to be some kind of mystery guest that will blow everyones mind. 
     

 

4c. Which famous players will attend the EKC?

Let's start by looking who has joined the EKC Discord (Which you too should join following this link)

 

  • There's a user called @htimSxelA, which is surely Alex Smith from Canadaco-founder and owner of Terra Kendama
  • We see @AKA_Kendama aka Wouter, Netherlands' finest Kendama craftsman and OG player
  • @davide leonardi who is one of Italies most stylish Kendama players and sponsored by KROM
  • @jokbert aka jok aka albert from Finland. Sponsored by KROM and one of the best freestylers out there with an incredibly unique style
  • @kendalex aka supernog73, Netherlands most famous and OG player, Legend for Sweets
  • @nickgallagher42, If there's one person I'm sure you know it's gonna be Nick Gallagher. One of the best players in the world, from the US and sponsored by Sweets
  • @semyon booth aka Semy one of Deutschlands most relentless Kendama players, sponsored by Kendama ISR
  • @Tiblex_18, the romanian prodigy constantly breaking records, recently hitting trip trip trip kenflip to spike and first to hit 50 tap.
  • benjamin mastek aka Benji, newly sponsored by GT and freestyle master

This is just from a quick scan of the Discord, expect well known teams sending out their top players to this event, there's players not yet in the discord and players with unknown nicknames. EKC will be packed full of high level players from all over.

 

 

5. Where:

5a. Location

The event will take place in Wibar. Wibar is an iconic club in Leiden and the venue of the Kendama events SKS and MKS (which had about 150 attendees). 

Wibar will also supply you with food and drinks. Although you should bring your water bottle to stay hydrated while playing Kendama, for snacks, pizza or any drinks, Wibar will have it all. If you would like to have any other snacks, drinks or food of your own, you are urged to leave the venue and come back after consuming.

More Kendama Shit (MKS) 2019 Group picture in Wibar, Leiden

 Picture from More Kendama Shit (MKS) 2019, in Wibar, Leiden

5b. Maps
 

5c. Extra activities around the event days (before/after)

There will be some sessions before and after the event which we will post here. Check the planning here

  • 14th until 17th of July is Baguette Kendama Cup in France

 

6. When?

6a. Dates

The European Kendama Championships will be held the first and second of July. Which is on Friday and Saturday. Around those days there will be more activities. When they are known, we will put them here. The best way to stay up to date with the activities taking place on and around those dates, be sure to join the EKC Discord here.

 

6b. Planning

Planning will be updated as more details become known!

   
July 01 - Friday 11AM - 5PM Event day
July 02 - Saturday 11AM - 8PM Event day
July 03 - Sunday Chill day in Leiden
   
   

 

6c. Timetable of event days

When the timetable of the event days is known, we will put it here. It will also be available on the EKC Discord and the EKC Instagram.

 

7. How

7a. How to arrange your stay?

If you want to come to the EKC it's important that you plan your stay as soon as possible. We will share with you the options that you have:

 

  1. Decide if you want to stay only for the event or you want to spend more time before and after the event days
    Around the event days there will be a lot of players hanging out in Leiden. This is a chance to have an amazing time together with other players and we would highly recommend you to  atleast arrive Thursday and leave on Monday.
     
  2. Find out what travel options you have
    If you aren't able to come together with others by car, we would recommend coming by public transport, as the Netherlands and Leiden are very accessible with public transport. If you come by plane, Leiden is the first stop by train from Schiphol airport within 20 minutes.

    In the #transportation tab of the EKC Discord, there's more info, even such as how to rent a bike for during your stay!

    Note: If you come by car, there's free parking available at Wibar!
     
  3. Find and book a place to stay
    This is a Google Maps list of possible places to stay
    Find all up-to-date information under the #lodging tab in the EKC Discord channel

    The recommended place to stay is Camping Stochemhoeve, where a lot of Kendama players will stay. This, however, will require you to bring your camping gear.
     
  4. Buy your entry ticket for Wibar
    Buy your entry ticket ahead of time here. It really helps the event if you don't wait until the end.
     
  5. Register for your competition
    If you would like to join any of the competitions, register here ahead of time.
     
  6. Create a copy of our checklist
    Add your personal to-do's and start working your way through the list!

 

7b. How to be prepared?

You’ve got to prepare for the event in order to have the best time possible. Most importantly, make sure you have a place to stay ahead of time. As it is peak-season, all the best and cheapest spots will be gone earlier than you would expect.

We made a checklist for you to use so that preparing for the event becomes and orderly and satisfying process.

You can create a copy of our checklist here!

Also make sure to practise the tricks. You can find them here.

 

7b. How do I navigate through NL?

If you are traveling through the Netherlands, the goto option is the 9292 application.

Google Play (9292 Travelplanner)

Apple store (9292 Travelplanner)

 

This app connects all the possible transportation options together and shows you the possibilities.

If you are coming from abroad and travelling to the Netherlands by public transport, you can best check NS International. In this app the trains from abroad and Dutch trains are integrated so you can best see your travel options.

 

7c. How are the Covid restrictions?

If you travel from within the European Union / Schengen area, there are no more covid restrictions.

If you travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area, please check the government website here.

 

7d. How can I support and contribute?

There’s multiple ways in which you can support.

  • Show up to the event: Get your 2-day entry ticket ahead of time and also register for the competition ahead of time here. Doing this ahead of time really helps the event.
  • Donate to the fundraiser and get the GT Film here
  • Get other people to come as well
  • Share information about the event on social media, for example, repost relevant posts from the @eukendamachamp instagram
  • Sign up to become a volunteer here
  • Share the Sweets Kendamas livestream with friends and family that will not attend. Invite them to take a look during the event (https://www.twitch.tv/sweetskendamas)


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