MonkayGlands has been a friend of the Sweets Kendamas Team for many years, being one of only a small handful of Twitch Streamers who incorporate Kendama as a part of their broadcasting. Kendama played a beneficial role in helping him recover from an accident and now and he uses Kendama to express himself through his art. We couldn't think of a better person to ask for their Kendama Story; read it below!
The first time I saw a kendama was during my college years back in 2011/2012. One of my good friends from another skill toy community (Footbag/Hacky Sack) invited me to his place after a rock climbing sesh. Hanging in the doorway to his kitchen was beaten-up White Ozora Kendama. He told me a little about it and I got big cup and spike that night.
Years later in early 2016, I ended up in a car accident which really hurt my already messed up back. This cause me to be bed-bound for a few days as I healed from all the bruises. During this time, I started to think of ways I could get moving again, but in a way I wouldn't hurt myself (I was really into downhill longboarding at the time, so I need something to do where I wouldn't take any slams).
I was searching for Yoyos and came across a Terra x Deal With It Greyscale Pill. The pill was so much fun and really helped me get moving again, I was really curious of the DWI part of the collaboration, so after some quick googling, I found the DWI website and rediscovered kendama all over again! On the site was the Purple People Eater colourway in rubber coat which I copped and seshed.
I've been streaming on Twitch since the site started in 2012, so when I rediscovered kendama, I also began sharing it with my community on there. Roughly around the time I started playing kendama (2016), Twitch started to allow other live streaming besides videogames. They first started a Creative Category which started a huge influx of artists joining the site to create their art, live for an audience. It was amazing seeing all the different artforms create branches of communities on the website.
Seeing this mini-renaissance happen on the site, it really inspired me to grow as an artist. Before this, I would create art just for myself and never show anyone what I drew. If I had a bad day I would draw in my sketchbooks - doing this allowed me to handle my feelings better. Once my sketchbooks were full, I would burn them so no one but me could see what I drew on the pages. This was something I was taught by a therapist when I was younger; we would just draw during our sessions, but seeing all these communities of artists and hearing all the positive feedback from everyone, I decided I would stream my art to my community. So I started making freehand zentangle/psychedelic art by inking with a brush pen.
As I was learning more about the kendama community through Instagram, I came across Sourmash and Cobikaze. Sourmash's beautiful painted Tamas really inspired me to take my art to kendama and use them as a canvas. As I started to think of ideas of how to customize my own kendamas, I decided on pyrography since I used to do that with my late grandfather at a very young age. Cobikaze was a super talented artist who also used to do Pyrography, the free-handed art of decorating wood with burn marks. I came across his stuff when I first started burning my own kendamas.
I burnt my first kendama on June 22, 2016. It was my very first kendama, the DWI purple people eater. Because of Twitch, I've burnt every single one live in front of my community and twitch as a whole. It's been awesome to spread kendama to the greater Twitch community over the years.
Since 2016, I've been making lots of burns for competitions all over the world, some including MKO, Catch & Flow, and World Cup. I've also been able to help others with my kendama burns by raising funds for ALCU; helping fight for civil liberties.
Kendama has definitely changed my life and continues to do so every day. Thanks for reading my kendama story.
Stay safe, much loves.
Has Kendama changed your life for the better? We are looking for impactful, meaningful stories from players of all walks of life who would like to share the life-changing experiences they've gained through Kendama. Fill out our Submission Form HERE with your Kendama Story for a chance to be featured here on our blog!