Raul Portales, a.k.a. shalafi
I first played with a (borrowed) Kendama on the BJC of 2008. On the last I only had money to get either new diabolos or a Kendama. I took the diabolos. I regretted it almost immediately.
On EJC 2009 (Spain) I went straight to the shops to get a Kendama, but there were none.
On EJC 2010 (Finland) I went straight to the shops to get a Kendama. I got it and playing with it was pretty much all I did for all the convention. I participated on the EKO and I finished 2nd on beginners ;-).
I’ve been playing Kendama since then, attending meetups as much as I can. This includes BKOs and EKOs.
I’ve been living in Amsterdam until late 2014, that means I got the chance to hang out with amazing players such Alex Ruisch (KendAlex), Jeffrey Van Reeven (dutchkendama), Joris Schweppe (current European Champion), Jeffrey Italiaander, Eelco Soesman, Lionel Graaf and a lot others that are not as well known as them. On some event we were 25 people!
Kendama is a big family, and it doesn’t matter how “famous” a Kendama player is, they are always very nice and looking forward to share their passion. The list is really long, but some of the ones I had the pleasure to jam with are The Void, Donald Grant, Alex Smith, Thorkild May, Philip Eldridge, Jake Wiens, Katsuaki Shimadera, Tajima Akira, and many more. That includes, of course, Matt Nix.
In my quest to expand Kendama, I organized the first Kendama competition in Spain during the juggling convention Malabaria (Herrera de Pisuerga) on 2012. That somehow kicked the Spanish scene leaded by Kenjamming Ferrando, Nabin Shakya and Daniel Xopo. All of them are already way better than me.
My next goal is to kick Kendama in Ireland, since I just moved here and I already miss the vibrant Dutch Kendama scene. That is what this site is all about, expanding Kendama in Ireland. My next projects are the Kendama Ireland Edit 2015 and the Irish Kendama Open.
In the meantime, I co-created KendamApp – The Kendama App, became Pre-Dan, failed my 1st and 2nd Dan grading twice, became Spanish Kendama Champion of 2010, 2012 and 2014, met lots of great people and had tons of fun.
To sum this up, my current quote and my edits.
Depth perception is overrated.