IT'S ALMOST TIME FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN KENDAMA OPEN!
The North American Kendama Open, the United States' largest annual kendama event, is coming up soon (September 9-11). After the past few years of hosting the event exclusively online, we can’t wait to see everyone in person again this year!
“If travel time ≤ the duration, it’s always worth taking the trip for a kendama event,”
-Austin Donovan, Sweets Kendamas Legend
Kendama competitions have long existed in Japan, where kendama comes from, and we're keeping that tradition alive in the United States. Hosting NAKO is our way of giving back and growing the kendama community, by creating a 3-day kendama getaway, every year, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its the perfect trip to make for any kendama enthusiast; there's something here to enjoy for players of every skill level.
Address the NAKO Readiness Checklist below for a quick guide on how to get ready for NAKO:
- Book your room by Aug 17th
- Look at the trick lists and pick a level that seems appropriate for your skills
- Register HERE before September 1st
- Kentei test if you are in Beg, Int, or Adv before August 31st
- Get to Minnesota! Plan your arrival early, on Sept 8th, if you want to see Sweets HQ before NAKO starts
- ENJOY A WEEKEND FULL OF KENDAMA LOVE
- Head home (Monday, the 12th if you can, so you don't miss the afterparty!) and share all your pics/ vids with #NAKO2022
All of the details for this year's competition can be found below.
Attendees planning on competing need to purchase a REGISTRATION for the division they plan to enter. Registration grants entry to the 3 day event and includes a custom event kendama, raffle ticket, and other NAKO items.
Click HERE to compete in an Open Format Division only.
Registration for the Freestyle Division is an additional $25 add-on option and can only be coupled with Registration for another Division and cannot be entered individually.
Click HERE to compete in an Open Format Division AND Freestyle.
Attendees Who Aren't Competing
Attendees NOT planning to register for the competition should purchase a SPECTATOR PASS for entry into the event. A 3-Day Spectator Pass is available for $60, but Single Day Passes can also be purchased for $25 apiece individually.
Hotel Reservations & Venue Information
Days 1 & 2 of the event will be held at the Delta Hotel. The finals, Day 3, will be hosted at the Varsity Theater just down the road from the hotel.
|DAY 1 & 2:|
SWEETS KENDAMAS HEADQUARTERS
2920 Talmage Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
*An exclusive group rate with the Delta Hotel is available for event attendees between Sept. 8-12. The group rate availability ends Aug 17 or until rooms are fully booked.*
Kendama Kentei is a testing system developed by the Global Kendama Network (GLOKEN) to determine your current rank and help players set goals for leveling up. We use Kentei to make sure players are competing in the correct level to keep NAKO as fair and fun as possible.
Sweets Kendamas Pro, Josh Grove, does an excellent job explaining it in the video below.
Testing is required for players entering Beginner, Intermediate, & Advanced Divisions. Visit the Sweets Kendamas Foundation Kendama Kentei page to sign up for emails on when free Kentei Testing is happening online!
- MONDAY 5-7pm CST
- WEDNESDAY 5-7pm CST
- FRIDAY 5-7pm CST
LAST DAY TO TEST for NAKO 22’ is Wednesday, August 31st
Click HERE to see the breakdown of which division you should enter based on your Kentei Ranking.
Dashed lines (/////) on the above graphic represent skill barriers to entering specific divisions. If you have progressed to a level in Kendama Kentei on the left-hand side that is marked with a dashed line across the middle, it means that you have progressed far enough in kendama to no longer be eligible for entry into competition divisions below your skill level. So, for example, someone who Kentei tests and ranks into Expert - 2nd Class should consider the Advanced Division and would not be able to compete in Beginner or Intermediate.
BEGINNER DIVISION: FOR PLAYERS IN BETWEEN BASIC - 3RD CLASS AND ADVANCED - 2ND CLASS IN KENDAMA KENTEI.
If you can easily land Advanced 2nd class tricks, you should compete in Intermediate.
INTERMEDIATE DIVISION: FOR PLAYERS IN BETWEEN ADVANCED - 2ND CLASS AND EXPERT - 2ND CLASS IN KENDAMA KENTEI.
If you can easily land Expert 2nd Class tricks, you should compete in Advanced.
ADVANCED DIVISION: FOR PLAYERS IN BETWEEN EXPERT - 2ND CLASS AND MASTER - 2ND CLASS.
If you can easily land Master 2nd Class tricks, you should compete in Amateur.
Amateur Open & Open Division players do not need to test.
How to Compete
Check out the video below for how Open Format competition works.
Click HERE for all of the tricks in each division, the trick videos, and more tutorials to help you get ready!
For those who are finished with competition, aren't watching matches, or just attending without competing, there is a plethora of other activities that will be happening throughout the event spaces on Days 1 & 2 of the event. A workshop and panel schedule can be found HERE.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why is it $75-100 to compete?
Unfortunately, everything is much more expensive in 2022, and that includes how much it costs to run the event. On top of this, we've severely undervalued how much work we put into making this event happen in the past. This year, more than ever, we are making sure that the weekend is jam packed with activities beyond the main competition. Your registration gets you into the competition, yes, but also grants access to a 3-day kendama convention. It wasn't easy for us to make the decision to increase the price, but it is necessary to keep this event running.
Is there a deadline for competition registration?
SEPTEMBER 1st is the cutoff for registration. Freestyle only has 72 spots available, so they may be gone sooner.
Getting signed up early helps us build the schedule, so we appreciate you for getting registered early!
Is there speed ladders this year?
We will have a Speed Ladder side-competition, but all of the main division levels are Open Style Format!
Do I need to bring cash for the vendor room?
Most vendors usually bring a card reader so that you can use a Debit/Credit for purchases if you forget to bring cash.