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PostPosted: 30 May 2014, 21:16 
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roundrobin wrote:
Zhaoyang wrote:
Would someone help me please?

Which one of these do you think is the case?
1) Her sponge is thicker than 1.5mm; it's thick enough that she doesn't bottom it.
2) Her sponge is 1.5mm but she doesn't hit hard enough to bottom it.
3) Her sponge is 1.5mm, and it bottoms on her hardest hits, but she adjusts the angle accordingly



She was our club head coach for two years. She gave me two black Challenger Attack rubbers Butterfly made specifically for her. The sponge thickness is 1.9mm and that's what she's used all these years, and still does.


When I wrote the first post of this thread in 2008, it was firmly established public opinion on the forum that she played with 1.5 mm, so I accepted it, naively perhaps, as a fact. Now, my feeling based on my own experience about this is that no pro would play with a rubber less than 1.8 mm thick for a block and attack game, in order to avoid bottoming out (which means loss of control; I doubt very much if professional players would "employ" it).

A shakehand version of Gao's style will work (also based on personal experience) with a Tibhar Defense Plus blade using Friendship 799 Mystery (comes only in 1.8 mm) on the BH and Friendship 105 Legend (1.9 mm) on the forehand. Both rubbers have a disruption factor similar to that of Challenger Attack. The 799 Mystery is grippier than the Challenger Attack and can be closed well when blocking with it, which prevents bottoming out of the ball. The 105 Legend is even spinnier and a lot faster (similar speed as 802-40, slightly spinnier than it, much more disruption effect). The blade has two thin balsa medial plies which help to take the pace off when blocking and to accelerate when hitting. The set-up as a whole is light-weight (125-130 grams).
The side-spin left-side block or punch that are typical for penholder play, and very effective, initially tend to feel odd when performed with shakehand. The punch is perhaps better replaced by a short drive or active block. It feels more natural when a little topspin is added and is as effective as the penholder stroke for cutting the sideline.

Another alternative for Challenger Attack is DHS 652 in 2.0 mm for the FH, and/or DHS 651 in 2.0 mm for the BH. These rubbers are heavier, but have similar speed, spin, and disruption.

As for alternative blades, I haven't been able to find any oversized ALL- blades. Oversized DEF+ blades that are fast and rigid enough to use with SP are rare. Joola Chen Weixing is one (it is heavy), Andro Fibercomp another. They are slightly more rigid than the Tibhar blade, and a bit faster, but not by much. TSP Defense Classic is a bit faster still.

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PostPosted: 30 May 2014, 21:59 
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Tibhar Stratus Powerdefence
The new Victas Koji Matsushita Defence
Butterfly Defence Pro


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PostPosted: 31 May 2014, 01:25 
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Thanks you two.

Kees, when you were playing like Gao Jun (I don't know to what degree you meant that), did you use the grip I described and illustrated a few posts up? It's very comfortable and I'm using it, but it will be some time before the backhand feels natural. And as I said, the stroke repertoire on the left has to change. Do you have any thoughts about it?


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PostPosted: 31 May 2014, 06:03 
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Zhaoyang wrote:
Thanks you two.

Kees, when you were playing like Gao Jun (I don't know to what degree you meant that), did you use the grip I described and illustrated a few posts up? It's very comfortable and I'm using it, but it will be some time before the backhand feels natural. And as I said, the stroke repertoire on the left has to change. Do you have any thoughts about it?


With a penholder blade, I have my fingers more like He Zhiwen, thumb and index finger apart by an inch or so, to make the blade stable under high impact. But my daughter holds hers like Gao does, fingers close together, forefinger crooked around the handle-end, almost as with a japanese penhold grip. I have told her not to do it, but she can't get rid of it, so we let her; especially as I can't see negative effects. We block differently, though: my blocks are more like punches, hers more like rolls, also like Gao. Her backhand stroke (conventional attack) looks less stable than mine, but she seldom misses. I've seen Gao do the same kind of whipping, seemingly very loose; compared to that, He's stroke (and mine) is more like an ax-swing. Maybe it is a male vs female thing... power vs agility? I don't know. In my experience, the Chinese generally don't fuss a lot about this kind of technical detail; they recognize that there are different approaches and styles - if one works for you, it works, that's it.

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PostPosted: 30 Jun 2014, 12:19 
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Thank you Kees.

Gao Jun's grip has been working well for me on the right side.
I've been less happy with the left side grip until yesterday. I had not believed the following (because my limited experience had been with other cpen grips like He's), but I saw it clearly enough in a video of her (can't remember what moment of what video) and I started playing with it: for a shot on the left side the blade lays down on the second (middle) segment of the middle finger. I had previously dismissed it as I thought it must be bad form and was letting just the first segment lay down like this, and that never felt secure enough. Did I make this clear?

I said in a previous post (09AUG13) that the blade edge rolls under the ball of the thumb. I had thought that the push from the thumb provided the upward force and that this force was regulated to control the angle, but I found this to be insecure. Now, instead, I see the ball of the thumb just riding on that edge (and pushing up a little, and ready to clamp down for right-side hit as I described above) while the main "key" is the second segment of the middle finger. (I'm still willing to hear an expert on this grip tell me I'm wrong. I'd be especially pleased to hear from Kees that his daughter does this.)

It works, side to side, rolling smoothly without the "hitch" or delay of which I spoke above (02MAY14) and without the awkward arm and body twisting required by what I called the "thumb anchored grip".


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PostPosted: 30 Jun 2014, 16:03 
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Zhaoyang wrote:
Thank you Kees.

Gao Jun's grip has been working well for me on the right side.
I've been less happy with the left side grip until yesterday. I had not believed the following (because my limited experience had been with other cpen grips like He's), but I saw it clearly enough in a video of her (can't remember what moment of what video) and I started playing with it: for a shot on the left side the blade lays down on the second (middle) segment of the middle finger. I had previously dismissed it as I thought it must be bad form and was letting just the first segment lay down like this, and that never felt secure enough. Did I make this clear?

I said in a previous post (09AUG13) that the blade edge rolls under the ball of the thumb. I had thought that the push from the thumb provided the upward force and that this force was regulated to control the angle, but I found this to be insecure. Now, instead, I see the ball of the thumb just riding on that edge (and pushing up a little, and ready to clamp down for right-side hit as I described above) while the main "key" is the second segment of the middle finger. (I'm still willing to hear an expert on this grip tell me I'm wrong. I'd be especially pleased to hear from Kees that his daughter does this.)

It works, side to side, rolling smoothly without the "hitch" or delay of which I spoke above (02MAY14) and without the awkward arm and body twisting required by what I called the "thumb anchored grip".


Lifting the thumb's first segment off of the wood, while still holding the blade's edge with the part of the thumb between its first and second segment, is widely seen with c-pen players when they play a left-side stroke, or even a left-side active block. As long as the thumb doesn't actually let go of the blade entirely, it is technically correct, I think.
Yes, my daughter does it this way as well :)

With a J-pen handle a player can relax the grip of the thumb entirely when performing left-side strokes and hence has a better (freer) swing on the left side. The trade-off for that is a less free manipulation of the ball over the table.

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PostPosted: 30 Jun 2014, 22:04 
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Kees wrote:
Yes, my daughter does it this way as well :)
Thank you Kees. Ah, I love feeling a little more sure about it. :)
*
Here is a "brains over brawn" approach for anybody, I think: "I do pay special attention to placement, especially when I play male players, because I cannot rely on my power or speed to win points. I have to use my strengths to cover my weaknesses in order to win." -Gao Jun
*
I'm continuously tempted to try a spinnier rubber but then it would be harder to aim straight. Oh, I often wish to respond in kind to inverted players, but making them run from side to side is sweet revenge. :-)


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PostPosted: 22 Sep 2014, 04:41 
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When rotating between forehand and backhand her thumb grips by just the tip [Edit: I don't mean the whole segment with the thumbprint; I mean it's 1/2 the length of her thumbnail deep.]. Then her thumb knuckle shifts from above to below the blade face (the part that's in the handle) and back. If the thumb is too deep into the blade face then too much load gets put on this knuckle. This is especially true if playing with a cutoff MPM because the handle is so big there (compared to any real cpen). There's more room for this knuckle on the smaller-handled Defplay Senso (also a cut off straight), and much more on e.g. P500 cpen. [Edit: Her thumb is very narrow and the knuckle doesn't stick out the side. I can see this on her DVD. My average sized thumb is so much bigger that I'm forced to modify this handle or switch blades.]

The alternative is to play with the thumb deeper and to keep that knuckle always above the blade face. If you try to do that, and try to close the blade on the far backhand, and rotate the handle to point more downward and move your index finger farther out, you will understand the reason for the "wide pincer".

I'll say it another way: That thumb knuckle defines two notches in the side of the thumb where the blade edge can be consistently indexed: outer (beside the thumbnail) and inner (the one closer to the V between forefinger and thumb). Holding the blade in the outer notch could be called true (handwriting) penhold, (calligraphy) brush-hold, chopsticks-hold, while using the inner notch is much more common, especially among males it seems.

I can tell you that being unable to commit to one or the other could leave you playing *on* the knuckle, risking injury. Can't be as stable either.


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