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PostPosted: 06 Dec 2007, 06:29 
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I bought this blade (other shop, but doesn't matter) with Friendship 729 Higher Transcend 2.2 mm on both sides for my youngest son. He is 11 and smallish for his age, no powerplayer, but technically talented. His style is counter-driver, close to the table, but his drives are arched and loaded with spin. The idea was to set him up with a blade that would suit his technique and rubbers that would give him some power. The Black Whirlwind seems to be ideal for this purpose. It has a flared grip which is small enough to fit well in a kid's hand (although I did find it quite comfortable myself too), it is well balanced, not too heavy, even with those two 2.2. mm rubbers, and it has fantastic control. Its speed is a strange thing; you can block any ball short and then it seems to absorb the incoming speed, but you can hit very fast balls with it too. It is rather stiff, so I don't think it will be a great blade to use for looping at a distance. But is excellent for close to the table attack and defence. Friendship rated it as DEF, but that only means it is the slowest of their conventional blades (the Toxics not included!). In reality it is only a little slower than their classic 6040ALL, so I would rate it as All-. Zhang Yining uses a Butterfly with her name which is rated for speed at 7.7; I think this Friendship blade is rather similar, only it has much, much better control.

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PostPosted: 06 Dec 2007, 09:44 
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Cheers Kees!

I agree with your thoughts on speed, I rated it about ALL myself. I didn't find it all that stiff though... but with the thicker rubbers it can be hard to judge...

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PostPosted: 06 Dec 2007, 10:51 
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Mine was pretty stiff as well. I ended up giving mine to a beginner at a local recreational club. He got a lot better when using it instead of a premade, so I agree it's a great blade for any beginner still learning the basic strokes.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2007, 00:43 
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Hi Kees! Excellent choice, my friend. I'm a penhold player, but I find funny playing other styles. I agree with haggisv's view, maybe that blade is not DEF at all.

I believe that you made and excellent selection on the blade, you should have notice that, inside the handle, there is a kind of long screw with a piece of plastic. Every LKT blade has it, even those made in association with FRIENDSHIP. This they call it a "swet spot transformer", in brief, the position of the piece of plastic adjust the swet spot; in lower positions the blade becomes more controled; in highers it gives more speed. Just because the center of mass of the blade is been moved since the pice of plastic is changed of his original place. You can really feel the difference! Just give a try and you will see.

You can set the blade with more control to begin, and then, gradually increase the speed with the trainning sessions.

I'm not sure, but I've heard that in the package you can find an adjusment key.

Meanwhile, I think the rubber selection is hard to judge. Maybe a softer rubber for his backhand, or a little harder for his forehand, but not sure what to say. You can choose between reinforce his weakness or give more power to his play.

Hope that I've help you a little. Sorry by the long text. My best wishes to your son.

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PostPosted: 05 Feb 2008, 04:28 
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This blade I described is NOT the modern LKT version of the Black Whirlwind! The LKT version is softer and much faster. This is the "old" version with a solid handle, no gimmicks.

And just to add some info after my son had a training session with Dong Li, female Bundes-Liga player, formerly of the Hebei provincial team, a formidable defender. She told us the stiffness (relative thing, of course) of Friendship blades combined with the hardness (this too is relative) of Friendship sponges is a deliberate design, meant to compensate for the relative weakness of Chinese kids' arms. More muscular European types are better off with softer blades and softer sponges, since they can generate power Chinese kids can't. But my son is more "Chinese" in build than he is "European", a light-weight, fleet-feeted, slender boy of 12 (for a week now), not much over 4 ft tall, so this kind of set-up suits him very well, for now. My guess is that young lightweight European girls would do very well with it, too. No set-up for power-spin. But just about right for technically talented kids.

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PostPosted: 05 Feb 2008, 06:32 
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Very interesting comments from the coach, and that does make sense.

I also prefer the normal version of this blade, it just has more feel and I agree it is slower.

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PostPosted: 13 Jun 2009, 05:22 
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Here's an update on the original review. Since my son has grown stronger, he doesn't use the blade anymore (changed it for a Friendship Hinoki, a real sweet OFF blade with great touch and good speed) and just for fun I put an LP on the backhand (Meteor def version, 0.5 mm, black) and a matching inverted rubber on the forehand (Friendship Supersoft 1.5 mm); the idea was to play in chopper/attacker style with this set-up, just to see how fast a combination I could manage... But it turned out this set-up was not hard to use at all; on the contrary, it was pretty easy to use despite having good speed on its forehand (for close to the table attacks; 1.5 mm doesn't quite work for looping away from the table, too slow). The relative hardness of the blade went well with the LP, which gained bite by it; I used it before on a Joola Toni Hold Whitespot blade, which is soft poplar and pretty slow, and with the Black Whirlwind the Meteor reversed better, blocks were still very controllable, and chops away from the table were easy and with good spin. Hitting with the LP was easy and effective because of the speed. Attacking/looping with the inverted, even if only 1.5 mm, was very effective too, and I could feel (maybe because of the thinner rubber) the blade actually does have good dwelling-time and loops very well although it hits great too. After I had used it for the first time, it came to me that an ALL- blade like this is actually what Joo and Chen are using. Never really realized that before! So I guess the DEF label Friendship put on it makes very good sense after all - it is quite suitable for modern defense.
A week ago I played my first tournament with it; not bad, I made it into the quarter finals. So I am going to stick with it for a while.
Friendship rates its speed as 7 and control as 9+++ (http://74.52.59.210/~table/eshop1/index ... oductId=67) and I think that makes good sense too. Too bad it doesn't come with a sturdy straight grip... Even so, I wouldn't dream of paying twice as much for a Joola Chen blade or four times as much for the Butterfly Joo. It would be a waste of money, in my opinion.
There are more fine blades like the Black Whirlwind to be had for the same sort of money: Palio Era (very light), Sword Subdue (soft-wood backhand, hardwood forehand), Palio Chop no. 1 (heavier), DHS Magician ALL, Globe BW-4, and so on. I have always wondered why it was so hard to find Chinese blades that are real slow, like the Toni Hold or Butterfly's Matshushita and Defence blades; apparently Chinese mostly make DEF blades which are more suited to modern attackers' styles than to classic away from the table chopping or modern close to the table defending.

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PostPosted: 13 Jun 2009, 08:58 
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Yes I think that makes sense Kees!

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PostPosted: 05 Jul 2014, 23:32 
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I resurrect this topic because im very interested. Can you confirm that:

729 Black whirlwind
FX el soft 1.5
Meteor 0.5

is a good setup for a beginner of modern defense?


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PostPosted: 06 Jul 2014, 00:11 
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:up: :up:
CelestialBoy wrote:
I resurrect this topic because im very interested. Can you confirm that:

729 Black whirlwind
FX el soft 1.5
Meteor 0.5

is a good setup for a beginner of modern defense?


Yes :up:

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