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A real low and short no-spin serve can give you some easy points in matches, as they are difficult to flip hard, and they require good timing to push hard. Mix it up with a heavy backspin in the same spot. Remember to get it short, the ball should bounce short on your side close to the net...

 Yasaka blades and rubbers

Here is my summary of the most notable / special rubbers and blades from the Yasaka brand. This is not meant to promote or criticize the Yasaka brand or products in any way, it’s simply a summary of opinions of the more famous and highly regarded products of the brand.

Overview:
The brand Yasaka has its origin in the late 1940s when founded by Mr Hirose Yaoita and Mr. Sakamoto who gave the name of the company (YAoita + SAKAmoto). Yasaka has since grown to become a major player among the table tennis manufacturers, offering the complete range of equipment, and having shown some great innovation in their products. Yasaka used to work together with Stiga, who made their blades for them, whereas Yasaka made their rubbers, but they separated in the early nineties and went their own way.

The majority of the Yasaka blades are made in Sweden. A large portion of their rubbers are made in the Japan, with the remainder of their rubbers are made in Germany and China.

After talking to many people, and getting lots of great feedback from people on the table tennis forums, I’ve summarised the most popular Yasaka rubbers and blades below. Although the popularity can be biassed by marketing and availability, there are some that many agree on to be great products, so there must be something to it…

Rubbers:
Mark V – probably the most famous of all rubbers, that has stood the test of time and is still commonly used in modern days, even after several decades since it was released. This rubber is suitable for all levels, where thinner sponges are usually used for more control at the lower levels and they rubbers are speed glued at higher level for extra performance.

Other Mark V variants (AD, 30 degrees, XS, M2), building on the great reputation of the original Mark V, have been developed over the years. The 30 degrees has been particularly popular among speed gluers, where the glue provided some very desirable properties. The XS and M2, although not bad rubbers, have not enjoyed the same popularity.
With the forever increasing demand for faster rubbers, Yasaka developed the V-Stage and also the X-Tend series, in more recent times. Although these are regarded as good rubbers, they have not been quite as popular, partially due to the wide range of similar speed rubbers now on the market.

The Yasaka Pryde is their latest venture into the German Tensor technology, and is recognized among the top Tensor rubbers currently on the market.
The Do, Original T-Version and Visco are almost worthy of mention, and have had a decent following but for a more select group of players.

For the more defensive players, the Yasaka Anti Power is held in high regard and has been very popular for many years. Their long pimpled rubbers, like the Yasaka Phantom series enjoyed some good popularity for many years, but the early ones did not survive the ITTF long pimple bans. The more recent additions are quality products, but don’t seem to be that popular, although it’s still early days, and many long pimple players are still looking for alternatives.

Blades:
Although Yasaka is probably not one of the most popular brands for its blades, they’ve had some great success with quite a few blades. The Gatien series of blades were a huge success, the Gatien Extra 3D being one of all-time best selling blades! More recently the Ma Lin series, the Ma Lin Carbon and Ma Lin Extra offensive (especially in pengrip) in particular, have become very successful, no doubt helped a little by the great success of Ma Lin the player.

Other worthy of mention are the Max Wood, Balsa plus, Leopard, Yasaka Allround 40, who have enjoyed great success but among a smaller group of players.

Final words:
Most agree that the Yasaka manufacturer produce high quality products, and has been very successful spanning many decades. I believe part of the reason the brand is not even more successful is due to limited distribution… many blades (and also some rubbers) are simply not available in some areas. They’ve also discontinue some of their previous moderately successful products. The same can probably be said about some of the other Japanese brands.

It is likely that a player of any level and style can find something appropriate from the Yasaka brand, but this is the case for many of the other major brands too. Hopefully this summary will be useful for Yasaka fans or those that only have this brand available to choose from. Yasaka do have a range of other table tennis related items, in fact they pretty much sell everything related to table tennis, but blades and rubbers are the extent of this write-up.

 

YASAKA - THE STORY


# 1947 YASAKA Co. Ltd. was founded by Mr Hirose Yaoita and Mr. Sakamoto who gave the name of the company (YAoita + SAKAmoto). Mr. Yaoita was a table tennis player and his aim was to offer table tennis players products with high technical quality and superior performance.

# In the 50's YASAKA developed rapidly, in a close connection with Japanese top players that took over the leading position in World table tennis. With the rubber Original Yasaka supplied several Champions all over the world.

# In the end of the 60's Yasaka made break through in the rubber development and could introduce superior table tennis rubbers to the market. Winning the men's single in the 1970 European Championships and 1971 World Championships MARK V started a victory-road in table tennis all over the world. Since then MARK V has been continuously developed and Yasaka MARK V is probably the most well known (top quality) table tennis product on the market.

# In the 90's Yasaka started a new blade factory in Sweden and 1993 the success story Gatien EXTRA blade was introduced. EXTRA is a blade that was created by the wood technicians in a very close cooperation with the 1993 men�s singles World Champion Jean-Philippe Gatien and since then Gatien EXTRA is one of the absolute best selling blades all over the World.

# In the year 2000 the International Table Tennis Federation changed the regulation regarding the ball, and the 40 mm ball was introduced to improve the sport. Players all over the world had to adopt and develop new playing techniques. This change was of course also a big challenge for table tennis manufacturers, to be able to offer equipment suitable for the new size of ball. Proving the high performance of Yasaka products World Championships gold medals was captured with Yasaka rubber and blade in the first WTTC with the 40 mm ball (Osaka 2001).

# 2002 Yasaka made a major step in the field of rubber and V-STAGE was launched. Through own laboratory tests it is shown that V-STAGE offers more spin and more speed than any previous rubber. In the same year Yasaka also surprised the TT-World, to be able to produce a 17-layer blade, DYNAMIX. And again an immediately success! In the Swedish Championships 2003, Mattias Stenberg as an outsider won the men�s singles. Mattias is using V-STAGE (red/black) and DYNAMIX.

# Since a couple of years Yasaka has successfully entered the biggest single table tennis market, China. A big, and very demanding market, with a hard competition from numerous companies that wants to share. Now Yasaka offers a complete range of high quality table tennis products also in China. Especially the Yasaka blades are very much demanded, and the 5-ply blade "EXTRA" is a big sales success also among Chinese players.

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