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. Players are gathering at the stage. The crowd raves with excitement as Jake 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..? 60 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 stuff first
Before we begin imforming you about all the details, we want to get some of the important stuff to you right away:
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 trip"
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.
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? (TODO)
During the EKC their will be competitions for Beginners, Intermediate players and for the advanced / professional players. Joining a competition is a lot of fun and really challenging to see how you can handle yourself during a stressful situation. If you want to develop yourself, this is the ultimate challenge in Kendama.
Tricklist video per competition:
Which competition should I join?
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
- Freestyle competition (with qualifiers)
- Double elimination Open style competition
- Beginner and Intermediate speedladder competition
- Sweets Kendamas streaming the event
- Video premieres of the biggest brands
- Vending of Kendama products and accessories
- Food and drinks to buy at the venue
- Having a great time with the homies
- Meeting new friends
- Not believing what tricks you are seeing on stage
- Hanging out in one of the most beautiful cities of the Netherlands
- Good public transport connections to anywhere, so easy to reach
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, 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 takes initiative to create a 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 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 felt and heard that after an event, people enjoy playing Kendama so much more.
4a. Who is hosting EKC?
This years EKC is organised primarily by Teodore Fiorina, professional Kendama player for Grain Theory. In the past years, Grain Theory has allowed 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’s Jack Roberts, Ole Boehl and Timoty Berthelot helping organise the EKC.
4b. Which well known players will attend the EKC? (TODO Maurice)
We’ve heard some rumors..
But as those rumors are confirmed, we will update this post and put it here.
For now we have heard Sweets and Sol are coming and bringing some of their most prominent players!
(The people that are in discord)
- 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).
Venue/group pic from last Kendama event at this venue:
This is a list of the recommended sleeping locations that are shown in the discord:
It includes 3 campings and 3 hotels. Make sure to book as soon as possible.
This is a list of the recommended bars/restaurants that are shown in the discord:
5c. Extra activities around the event days (before/after)
When these are known, they will be added
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.
(End of June until first/second week of July TODO)
6c. Timetable of event days
7a. How to arrange my trip? (TODO)
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 think.
- Event ticket
- Food (at Event / Supermarket)
- Water bottle
- Essentials Toolkit
- Your Kendama
- Following the @eukendamachamp Instagram
- Joined the @eukendamachamp discord
- Found and confirmed a place to sleep
- Made a travel plan / booked your travel
- Event ticket
Event day checklist
- Your favourite Kendama setups
- Essentials Toolkit
- Water bottle
- Comfy clothes + warm clothes for the late hours
- Towel for when you are sweaty
- Powerbank + enough free space on your phone for your clips
7c. How do I navigate through NL?
If you are traveling through the Netherlands, the goto option is the 9292 application.
Google Play (9292 reisplanner OV + e-ticket – Apps on Google Play)
Apple store (9292 reisplanner OV + e-ticket in App Store (apple.com))
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.
Furthermore, you can travel to the Netherlands by plane, flixbus or blablacar.
7d. How are the Covid restrictions?
7e. How can I support and contribute?
There’s multiple ways in which you can support.
- Show up
- Donate to the fundraiser - PAY WHAT YOU WANT - GT-EU FULL RES DOWNLOAD | eukendamachamp (bigcartel.com)
- Get other people to come as well
- Share all the information about the event on social media
- Tell your friends and family to tune in to twitch.tv/Sweets_Kendamas to catch all the EKC action throughout the weekend
- Sign up to become a volunteer (EKC VOLUNTEER SIGN UP - Google Sheets)
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