The Major Annual Kendama Competitions/Events

The Major Annual Kendama Competitions/Events

Competitions have been one of the most important aspects of kendama since it was first created. Kendama competitions were fairly commonplace in Japan throughout the 20th Century, but once kendama started being played globally in the 2000s, competitions also began popping up in places all over the world. Now in 2024, it can be tough even for us at Sweets, with our team always keeping an eye out, to keep track of all the competitions happening each year.

Kendama competitions are so much more than just winning and losing - it’s a group of like-minded individuals gathering together in one space to enjoy kendama, reunite with lifelong friends, and even make new ones. An in-person competition (in our opinion) is the PERFECT way to experience kendama, even for a first-timer. Once you attend one, the next feels like a family reunion!

If you’re looking for a kendama event to attend this year, we’ve got four of our favorite annual events below in the order that they are slated to happen - these are some of the biggest competitions each year that you should consider.

Battle at the Border (BATB)

Battle at the Border is an annual kendama event held by Kentucky-based kendama company, Sol Kendamas. BATB has been a staple kendama event for years, first starting in 2012 with about 10-20 attendees, but nowadays averaging a few hundred competitors & attendants every year! Battle is the first event of the year and players travel from all over to attend - it’s a go-to for people in the Southern US and along the East Coast.

BATB is happening on January 26-27 2024, at Rocketown in Nashville, Tennessee. All levels of kendama skill will have a chance to compete at this event - there will be several categories of competitions to test your skills!

Pre-registration is already live, so if you are thinking about or planning to attend, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND PRE-REGISTERING! Pre-reg for kendama competitions can usually save you a few dollars, but it also helps give the host an estimated attendance and plan the event schedule accordingly.

Check out all of the details and Pre-register for Battle at the Border 2024 HERE.

European Kendama Championship (EKC)

The European Kendama Championship has quickly become one of the biggest and best Freestyle-focused events in the world, thriving under Teodore Fiorina’s management and growing bigger, better, and rowdier every year.

The EKC goes down in Leiden, Netherlands on May 31 and June 1, 2024. All levels of kendama skills will have a chance to compete in several categories of competitions, but the main event will certainly be an insane performance to witness - EKC always brings out some of the best freestyle kendama players in the world.

Click HERE to follow the EKC Instagram page for more details as they are announced, see the Aftermovie of EKC 2022, and if you are planning on attending, join the EKC Discord Server to stay connected with fellow attendees. 

Kendama World Cup (KWC)

The Kendama World Cup (KWC) is the largest international kendama event in the world, hosted by the Global Kendama Network (GLOKEN). Every year since 2013, players have made the journey to Hatsukaichi, Japan, the birthplace of kendama and the location of KWC, to crown a World Champion and celebrate kendama. We believe that EVERYONE should try to attend the World Cup at least once in their lifetime - experiences on trips to this event have changed so many lives within our community!

KWC is happening July 27-28, 2024 - for more information and to stay up to date with announcements, follow the KWC Instagram page and keep an eye out on GLOKEN’s website HERE.

North American Kendama Open (NAKO)

The North American Kendama Open (NAKO) is the United States' largest kendama convention and competition event, held either virtually or in-person annually since 2013 (formerly the Minnesota Kendama Open (MKO)).

NAKO is usually hosted in the Fall season, but many details are still to be determined. We would recommend following our NAKO Instagram Page and keeping notifications on to stay updated as we release more information about NAKO 2024! 

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As we mentioned at the top of the page, there are many more kendama competitions out there - let us know what other events you want us to talk about!

Uneasy about the idea of competing? Read our blog article that attempts to answer the question, “Am I Good Enough to Compete?” - it just might help change your mind.

Want to host a kendama club or an event of your own? Check out How to Set Up and Run a Successful Kendama Club, which contains loads of information to help you get started, or if you already have an existing club, how you can spice things up in the future!

Can’t travel? We’ve got you covered -

We put tons of time and effort into bringing kendama events to those who can’t make it. 2024 is no different - we will be LIVE from Battle at the Border 2024! 

We’re sending our founder Matt “Sweets”, along with our entire stream, down to Nashville for a live broadcast of the event. Tune in, join the chat, and get ready for a TON of free dama opportunities.

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