Location

Prague, Czech Republic

via Minneapolis, MN

Accolades

2015

- Kendama World Cup 4th place

- Minnesota Kendama Open 3rd Place

2018

- Sakura Classic 3rd Place

2019

- Battle at the Border 2nd Place

George Marshall

Age, what year were you born?

I’m 21 years old, born March 1, 1998.

Where are you from and describe where you grew up

I grew up in Minneapolis, MN. I’d say I’m a city boy at heart but some of my favorite memories as a child include camping, hanging out around the lakes, and hiking. 

Where are you currently living?  

At the time I’m writing this I’m living abroad in Prague, Czech Republic for the semester but when I go back I still have one more year at the University of Colorado so I’ve been primarily living in Boulder since 2016.

When were you first introduced to kendama?

Through middle school and into high school my friends and I went to Mondo Juggling Fest in St. Paul, MN every year. Back then I was a primarily into juggling but I always saw former jugglers messing with kendama. I remember thinking it was one of the stupidest toys I had ever seen for years.  But in 2013, my buddy Lukas Funk brought his kendama he had bought earlier that week from a local toy store.  We basically spent the whole weekend at Mondo taking turns trying it out, ignoring everything else we would usually do. My birthday was a few days later and I’m sure anyone could guess what I asked for. That was freshman year of high school, and soon enough we had a whole squad of players that would play kendama after school everyday.  Many of them came and went over the next year or so but Lukas Funk, Isaac Fine, Finn Loftesnes, Will Kirkpatrick, and I stuck with it through all of high school and on.

How were you introduced to Sweets?   

Since I grew up in Minneapolis, Sweets was the first company I was exposed to. My first few kendamas were sweets and once some friends and I started getting more obsessed, we would visit the Sweets retail shop and just jam dama all day.  I’ve always loved their designs, their pros, their employees, and their overall involvement in the community.

What players did you look up to / inspired you at the beginning and now.

A few of my favorite players in the early days were Cooper Eddy, Kris Bosch, Miles Gibson, and the whole COTK crew, but I guarantee I’m forgetting some names who are just as fun to watch.

Who are currently your favorite players?

This question is so much harder than i thought it would be.  I don’t know if I can chose my “favorite” players but some players I love to watch are Missu, Ben Herald, Bonz,Nic  Stodd, Lyndon Whalen, Josh Grove, Noah Goose, Cooper Eddy, and the list goes on and on assuming I missed a bunch. Anyone who brings something new to the table or does a NBD is definitely up there but ultimately anyone who makes kendama look fun is a player I love.

Favorite competition?

My favorite event recently has been Battle at the Border. Every year I’ve been, the good vibes are off the charts and the crew is always solid.  But I think I’ve got to go with MKO as my number one  favorite competition. I’ve attended 6 years in a row (ever since the first one in 2013) and competed in Open Division every year, which is absolutely crazy to think about. Open is my favorite style of competition, the mall of America is an insane venue, so many players come from all over the world, and the whole weekend is always just a blast.

Whats your favorite style of play? Casual, the grind for a banger, freestyle, competition?

If I’m not casually jamming in between classes then I’m probably filming for Instagram or future projects. Nowadays I try not to grind for more than an hour on one trick but of course that’s not always the case.  I also enjoy Open division  comps because I love the slow but intense pace and practicing the weeks leading up to comp day is very relaxing to me for some reason. 

What trick was the most satisfying grind? / took the longest to lace and film

I remember grinding for about 6 hours over a couple days for double stilt flip back in the day. Same situation for one turn border, border flip, flip in. More recently, lefty triple stilt felt great and lefty Tunbridge Wells was also was a huge milestone for me.

Favorite edits?

Don’t even get me started with kendama edits.  There’s nothing I love more than making a kendama video, but I’ve also watched hours and hours and hours of other players edits over the years. I often say that the video aspect of kendama is my favorite part and a big reason I’ve stuck with it so long.  Here are a few of the essentials:

Kris Bosch Edit 3

Cooper Eddy Pro Announcement 

Dama Dreams by Bjorn Sorenson

COTK Urban Forest Edit 103

Keith Matsumura Edit 7

Sam Cannon Edit 2

Colin Sander Edit 7 (first edit I ever saw)

Carson Valley Kendama Edit 3

Minnesota Kendama Open 2015

And once again, there’s no way I would ever remember all the edits that have changed the game but just know that there are so many amazing edits on YouTube and I encourage anyone to get lost in some OG kendama edits for a few hours sometime. 

Favorite wood type?

Maple, maple, and maple.

Cushion or sticky clear?

Cushion clear is the best paint I’ve ever played for any style of trick. Period.

How many kendamas do you own?

I’d say around 100 or so at any given time but nowadays I’ve been giving used ones away just as fast as I get new ones.  I’ve never been super into collecting although there are a few damas I would never get rid of like my first kendama (a sweets marble aisuru), competition models, or any one-off customs I own.

What has been your favorite kendama trip?

My favorite kendama trip hands down has to be the first time I traveled for kendama, Kendama World Cup 2015. I was unsponsored on the way the there and sponsored by Sweets on the trip home. It was my first time to Japan and my first time meeting a lot of the sponsored players. Oh yeah and I got fourth place in the competition. It’s safe to say it was the best weekend ever and quite literally changed my life.

Bad habits?

By far my worst habit is biting my nails, to the point where sometimes my fingers get so screwed up playing kendama can actually be painful.

Where do you want to go with kendama?

I really want to travel more of Europe with kendama. I held one jam in Amsterdam and the community there was the chillest, most positive group of players I’ve ever met. The European dama scene is on the rise and I want to be there to see them takeover.

What are some of your other passions besides kendama

I constantly cycle through other hobbies but currently my passions are photography and videography, spikeball, ultimate frisbee, disc golf, snowboarding, and of course traveling (especially for kendama).