The Truth about Chinese Rubbers | Ma Long Forehand Rubber

Table Tennis Chinese rubbers

I have many questions about “where to buy a real Chinese rubber?” and “what is the best Chinese rubber to buy”. Today, I want to explain what is the best table tennis rubber for you and some myths about the Chinese rubbers that top Chinese players use.

If you are using European rubbers, and want to change to Chinese rubbers, you should read this article.

I will make another article to explain how to find the real Chinese rubbers. Some rubbers are preferred by many players on the forum.

The Truth about Chinese Rubbers

Again, I want to say that the best table tennis rubber is the rubber that suits your playing style but not the rubber that the top players use. First, you won’t play better if Ma Long gives you his racket. Second, the rubber that the top Chinese players (such as Ma Long, Fan Zhendong) use is not the same rubber which you want to buy.
For example, the commercial DHS Hurricane 3 rubbers that everybody can buy from the manufacturer has a medium-high throw angle. And most another products that will be sold abroad outside of China has the same property: a medium to high throw angle. These characteristics are confirmed by many testers.
Ma Long is gluing his own racket
Ma Long is gluing his own racket
The top Chinese players are sponsored by DHS company. And many people think that Ma Long use the same product that the company sells to the international buyers. However, it’s not true. Ma Long used a customized rubber which has very very low throw angle. So what you are seeking for (buying a real hurricane 3) is totally different to the rubber that Ma Long uses.

What is Ma Long personal rubber?

What rubber does Ma Long use?

Ma Long forehand rubber

Well, Ma Long uses national hurricane 3 blue sponge rubber, 40.5 to 41 DHS hardness scale, 2.15 mm thickness, used with the booster. Ma Long personal rubber is not available to the public. They are designed based on Ma Long physical strength, the sponge is much harder than a commercial one.
It’s not the sponge but it’s the top sheet that Ma Long’s rubber is different than the commercial version. The topsheet of  Ma Long personal forehand rubber is much more elastic, consistent. The pimples structure is also different: denser, smaller than the commercial one. The tacky topsheet with this pimple structure provides the maximum of spin to Ma Long’s shot.
Ma Long forehand rubber: higher density of pimple, tackier, glassy and consistent
Ma Long forehand rubber: higher density of pimples, tackier, glassy and consistent

You can see that both Ma Long and Zhang Jike use National Hurricane 3 (Blue Sponge) on their forehand side. The blue sponge is 1 to 2 degree harder than the  commercial Orange Sponge DHS Hurricane 3 rubbers.

Ma Long and Zhang Jike personal blade
Ma Long and Zhang Jike personal blade

Ma Long backhand rubber

Like many top Chinese table tennis players, Ma Long used Japanese Butterfly rubber on his backhand: Tenergy 05 Professional version, harder, and faster. The normal Ten05 rubber has the hardness about 36-37 ESN Scale. Ma Long backhand rubber is 39-40 hardness ESN scale (around 35 hardness Chinese scale).

Ma Long backhand rubber Tenergy 05
Ma Long backhand rubber Tenergy 05

With the new poly ball in table tennis since 2017, Ma Long switch back to custom hurricane rubber, red side on his backhand. Japanese rubber is not hard enough, so Chinese players search for more direct feeling rubber on their backhand.

Ma Long backhand rubber DHS Hurricane 3 (Red)
Ma Long backhand rubber DHS Hurricane 3 (Red)

Ma Long’s equipment: blade

Ma Long has changed many blades since 2005 to now.

  • 2005-2008: Ma Long tried some Nittaku blades: Violin, Acoustic, and Rutis.
  • 2009-2011: Ma Long’s blade is Timo Boll Spirit and Timo Boll ALC.
  • Since 2013: Ma Long uses DHS 968 and DHS 997 table tennis blade.

This is the resume of rxng for the table tennis equipment used by Ma Long.

Which table tennis blade that Ma Long uses? Here you are.
Which table tennis blade that Ma Long uses? Here you are.
2005 (Nittaku Violin)
2005 (Nittaku Violin) 
2006 ~ 2007 (Nittaku Acoustic)
2006 ~ 2007 (Nittaku Acoustic)
2009~2010 (Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit)
2009~2010 (Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit)
2011 (Butterfly Timo Boll ALC)
2011 (Butterfly Timo Boll ALC)
2012 (DHS 506) 2
2012 (DHS 506)
2012 (DHS 506)
In 2012 Ma Long uses DHS 506 blade
2013~2015 (DHS 968-997)
2013~2015 (DHS 968-997)
Actually Ma Long is using DHS 968-997 blade
Actually Ma Long is using DHS 968-997 blade

Should I buy personal Ma Long rubbers?

So why DHS does not commercialize the rubber of Ma Long? Because it’s not a good commercial plan. Not many players can use a very low throw rubber in a real situation. You must have a full and a strong stroke to use this type of rubber. So making a medium-high throw angle rubber can fit a wide range of players, and using the commercial strategy to sponsor the top player is a better plan.
Ma Long national Hurricane 3 rubber with blue sponge
Ma Long national Hurricane 3 rubber with blue sponge

Some dealers have tried to make a good business. They profit that table tennis players can pay much money just to get to the “real professional rubber” and hope to play better. They sell fake national rubber. All of these rubbers are stamped the name of the top players and pretend to be his personal rubber (look at these photos). But they are not true! Top players are not allowed to sell his rubber to the public.

Myth 1 “Chinese rubber has high throw”

These are the proofs showing the characteristics of Ma Long’s rubber.Look at the real situations in the match, you can notice how low throw angle of Ma Long’s rubbers.
Real Chinese table tennis rubber has a very low throw. To use the Chinese rubber, you must have a long and powerful stroke. The techniques are different with the traditional techniques. You must “carry” and “wrap” the ball more forward. You can see that Ma Long have to “carry” the ball with his powerful Forehand topspin, but the ball goes just slightly over the net and drops right after. The ball is very linear but not curvy.
The top Chinese players are sponsored by DHS, it does not mean they will use the same equipment line-up on the market. Their rubber is different from the commercial rubbers. There is the reason there because it’s very hard to use this type of rubber. If someone gives you the racket of Ma Long, you will feel that this racket is hard dead, not bouncy, and for you, it’s a rubbish. But in the hand of Ma Long, it’s a deadly weapon.
So if someone says to you “hey, this Chinese rubber is amazing, very easy to topspin, the throw angle is high”. It’s possible these rubbers are for the amateur players, but not for the professional one. This is the myth number 1 about Chinese rubbers. Remember: Low throw Chinese rubbers has higher spin.

Myth 2 “Pro’s rubbers are expensive”

The myth number 2 is: You need an expensive racket to win. Some players don’t believe my advice because the Chinese racket I suggested was not expensive enough. “No thanks, I’m looking for something around 200$”. Your racket is only 50$.” There are many top young Chinese players at high-level play with racket cost less than 40 $. Find a rubber that has the characteristics that you need. If it’s an expensive European or Japanese rubber, you can find something similar from a Chinese brand with a similar quality but much cheaper.

No Shortcut in table tennis

And finally, I want to say: don’t focus on the equipment. Get practicing. So, there is no short-cut in table tennis. Choose your own way in table tennis. Don’t copy the pro’s equipment if you don’t understand why they use them.
If you really want to use Chinese rubbers, learn the proper techniques first.In the next videos, I will explain why Ma Long prefer using 40.5 – 41 hardness rubber, while Zhang Jike prefers using a 39 hardness rubber.

Next post:

Learn how to do the forehand flick in table tennis.  Please share and rate this article 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

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