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Master Your Table Tennis Penhold Grip

Welcome to EmRatThich channel. Today’s our 6th Ping Sunday. I will explain you the most important tips
to master the penhold grip (japanese penhold grip, chinese penhold grip and reverse penhold
grip) based on chinese coaching. Europeans use a knife and fork to eat. That’s why the shakehand grip in table tennis
comes from western country. Shakehand grip is called “grabbing knife grip”. I’ve covered the topic “How to hold the racket
– shakehand grip” in the previous video. Asian use chopsticks to eat. That’s why penhold grip is popular in China,
Korea, Japan, Vietnam. I will cover 3 types of penhold grips today:
Chinese Penhold grip, Japanese Penhold grip and the modern
Reverse Penhold grip. [1] Japanese Penhold grip The Japanese penhold grip is common not only
in Japan, but also in Korea, Taiwan and many other asian countries. The Japanese penhold grip has an advantage
in power in both Forehand and Backhand side. This grip can produce the biggest shots in
table tennis. Players using Japanese penhold grip have a
specific weapon: BH fast block and BH smash. The disadvantage is restricted flexibility
in the backhand. You can’t completely close your racket on
the backhand side. To play this grip, you must have a very good
footwork to attack every ball using your Forehand. If the opponent attacks on your Backhand side,
you must counter by the aggresive Backhand block
and Backhand smash. Holding a Japanese penhold grip is not as
difficult as holding the Chinese penhold grip. The index finger always presses on the handle
edge. That’s
why this handle edge is large and square. Always put your index finger on the edge. The thumb and the index
come together more closely than the Chinese penhold grip. That
means the index and the thumb finger always touch each others. To use this grip on the backhand side, you
must change the grip. Open
your palm. Turn the thumb on the handle side. The thumb will push on
the handle and turn the blade from the vertical position to the
horizontal positon. To block the topspin ball, you must close
your racket. To do that,
remember to open your palm maximum. You should also press your racket
downward to “absorb” the topspin. To block the ball on your backhand side, you
should rotate the racket to horizontal position and a little upward. Use the movement of the whole
body to drive the ball. This will add power and the consistency. Remember to put the middle, ring and little
fingers together againts the back of the blade. This provides an advantage in power since
those fingers are behind the contact point on the
blade and add to the force of the stroke. [2] Traditional Chinese
pendhold grip Traditional Chinese penhold grip is used in
East Asian countries: Japan, China, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and North
Korea. The players use
mostly only one side of the racket. Very strong forehand attack and
very strong serve due to the flexibility of the wrist. Some players combine the traditional penhold
grip with the short pimple on the Forehand to make a unique table tennis
style. Best penhold players are:
Liu Guoliang, He Zhiwen (juanito), Ma Lin, Wang Jian Jun, Wang Zeng Yi. Traditional chinese penhold grip also uses
the Forehand rubber to block on the BH side. However, this grip has greater flexibility
of wrist than the Japanese penhold grip due to the use of short and round
handle. Holding the penhold grip is different than
the shakehand grip. But as for
shakehand grip, you should know where to apply the pressure. Shakehand grip has 3 contact points: The thumb
and the index are 2 main contact points where you apply most of
the pressure. The middle,
ring and little fingers are used only to complete the grip (small force). Penhold grip also has 3 contact points. The thumb and the index are the
2 main contact points where you should apply the force. The middle,
ring and little fingers are the less important contact point. You can’t
apply the pressure on these 3 fingers (middle, ring, little), they are only
used as a support point for your thumb and index. (They are called “dead
contact point”). However, penhold grip is different than the
shakehand grip. Shakehand
grip has the 2 main contact points at the 2 side of the blade. Penhold
grip has the 2 main contact points at the same side. So the technique is a
little different. Unlike the shakehand grip, where your thumb
must be put on the edge of the handle, in the penhold grip, you put
your thumb directly on the blade. You pinch your blade mainly by pressure from
the thumb and middle finger. Therefore, the penhold handle is rather small
and flat. The index finger is used to “hook” (attach)
the blade. This is the
advantage of the penhold grip because you can freely use your wrist. The index finger gives the additional force
to keep your racket won’t fly away. The little and the ring finger are put close
together with the middle finger to support the middle finger. The traditional penhold grip has these 3
fingers rather straight. This type of grip will favor your FH stroke,
but limit your BH. You can’t do a Reverse Penhold Backhand with
this grip. You should apply the pressure mainly on the
index finger for your serve and your FH stroke. You can see that, Ma Lin applied pressure
on his index finger, his thumb finger is almost “free”. Remember: Presse the index
finger for the FH stroke ! [3] Reverse
Penhold grip The Reverse Penhold grip is the modern penhold
grip which allows player to attack on the BH side as the shakehand
grip. Wang Hao is the best
Reverse Penhold grip player. I will explain the most important tips for
this grip. Wang Hao explained: The index finger wraps
around tighter. On the
reverse side, the middle and the ring finger press against the racket. The
thumb controls the angle of the blade. The index finger provides driving
force for the Backhand. Look at the Penhold grip of Xu Xin. Compare to the grip of Wang Hao. The thumb and the index are put close
together. This grip requires you to put pressure from
your thumb to curve your middle finger, making a greater support
point to do the Reverse Penhold Backhand without locking up the wrist. You can clearly see that Wang Hao pressed
his thumb finger before doing his Reverse Pendhold backhand. His support finger (middle, ring, little
fingers) are not straight, but curvy. These curvy fingers will help him to
close the racket more and hence easier to do a backhand topspin. Wang Zengyi also explained this tips: put
your thumb closer the middle of the bat. This will help you make a curvy support fingers. Put the pressure on both index and thumb finger. The pressure also locks
the blade in place, disallowing traditional backhand block. And you can do
Reverse Penhold backhand: Flip, topspin. You can clearly see that Xu Xin put the pressure
on the thumb finger before doing a Reverse Penhold Backhand. Very important ! Remember for the Chinese Penhold grip: – Put the pressure on the index finger for
your serve and FH stroke – To have a good Reverse Penhold Grip: Put
the pressure on both the index and the thumb finger. This will make the support fingers (middle
finger, ring fingers) curvy. This favors the BH stroke as you can close
the racket more to topspin and flip the ball. – For your BH stroke, put the thumb finger
close to the index finger to lock the blade. This also increase the flexibility of the
wrist, therefore increase the quality of your BH stroke. I hope you enjoy this tutorial ! Now enjoy
the beautiful rally of the Penhold grip player ! See you, coach EmRatThich. See you next Ping Sunday !

David Frank



  1. dzhang58 Posted on January 23, 2017 at 1:37 am

    For penhold forehand shots, is the main pressure point should be the thumb and not the index finger?

  2. gilberto yaxcal Posted on January 23, 2017 at 1:48 am

    wow, thank you

  3. affendy ghazali Posted on January 23, 2017 at 1:52 am

    tq bro…good info..i luv it

  4. Victor Yanase Posted on January 23, 2017 at 2:05 am

    It's very interesting to see things after your explanations. Even in slowmotion, there were things I've never noticed before!

    Thanks for another great video, especially for gathering so many footages, they help a lot!

  5. Austin Emmons Posted on January 23, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Fantastic video! Best one yet.

    However, one grammatical error that recurs in your videos is the use of 'to explain'. You say 'I will explain you…', whereas the correct usage is 'I will explain TO you…'
    Otherwise very informative and helpful, and your English is improving by leaps and bounds!

  6. ZestLight Posted on January 23, 2017 at 3:02 am

    ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ GREAT ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

  7. liiroy Posted on January 23, 2017 at 3:06 am

    thanks for the video! good choice of music too :]

  8. Coc Gamer Posted on January 23, 2017 at 7:23 am

    hello emrathich can you put french subtiles please ?

  9. Nikola Georgiev Posted on January 23, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Now this is really a nice desert 😉

  10. Nikola Georgiev Posted on January 23, 2017 at 8:56 am

    What is going to be the next video 🙂

  11. Eisenhower Yu Posted on January 23, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Finally! Thank you so much emratthich! I have used the backhand wrong all the time.

  12. chebkhaled1985 Posted on January 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    plenty of good information, even if I'm no penholder

  13. Nikola Georgiev Posted on January 23, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Wow, I swear, with every video the quality is better and better! Thank you a lot for all the effort 🙂

  14. Harri Kylliö Posted on January 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    EmRatThich Do You know where I can Get real Chinese Rubber? Thanks

  15. EmRatThich Table Tennis Coach Posted on January 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Finally, as promised, this is the tutorials for the penholders. By collecting several footages, I want to show to the new players where to apply the pressure in the penhold grip. We are learning the penhold grip from Xu Xin, Wang Hao, Ma Lin and others. I think this video would help you to improve your penhold shots, especially the RPB (Reverse Penhold Backhand).

    Notice: I've missed one tips in the video. For the penhold backhand, as Wang Hao mentioned, the thumb is used to control the angle of the blade and the index is used to help the driving force. You should apply the pressure on the index finger for the penhold backhand grip.

    For the penhold forehand grip, it depends on the stroke. For the shots that require the flexibility of the wrist (such as forehand serve or the forehand flip on the table) you should apply the pressure on the index finger and release the pressure on the thumb finger as shown in the slow motion video of Ma Lin. For the forehand topspin far from the table which require a stronger guidance force, you should apply the pressure on both the thumb and the index finger to stabilize your stroke and also to add power to your forehand loop.

  16. R HP Posted on January 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    My Chinese coach ( even though she is a shakehand player) told me that for the penhold forehand, I should be applying pressure with the thumb for the forehand grip. I can confirm that if you try to use the index finger, it is very hard to control the racket angle closed without lifting elbow very high or twisting the wrist to a very uncomfortable position.

    For the traditional chinese backhand grip, it is similar to the Japanese backhand grip with respect to the index finger. My coach says that I should apply pressure with the index finger.

  17. R HP Posted on January 23, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I am not sure why Ma Lin released his thumb after serving. I suspect more that, he was anticipating to do a traditional backhand return, so released the thumb and applied pressure with the index finger, but the changed his mind and re-applied thumb pressure to do a forehand return instead.

  18. Woon Posted on January 24, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Can you make a video about spinning? Thank!

  19. Eisenhower Yu Posted on January 24, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Hi Coach EmRatThich!
    You have mentioned in a video before that real chinese rubbers are hard and low throw rubbers. But I have seen the chinese players use "hybrid rubbers" or softer sponge with tacky topsheet (example, skyline 3-60 or hurricane 3-50) and I was wondering if I should switch back to using hybrid rubbers. Before I was using Hurricane 3-50 and now I moved to Skyline tg2. I feel that my shots were stronger, but it has a dead feel. I recently tried a Stiga Genesis and it felt really great! I'm not sure I will be able to use the Chinese technique though. What do you think?

  20. neelam mane Posted on January 24, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Can u tell me who has more advantages shakehand or Penh older plsss

  21. neelam mane Posted on January 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Thank u very much and I like your videos very much plss always make TT videos on Chinese techniques

  22. RivalHornet7461 Posted on January 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Hi Nice video your channel is best in table tennis content I wanted to ask which rubber and blade you use

  23. artmaroof90 Posted on January 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    hey coach as i have learned many things on shake hand grips should i keep with my shake hand grip or i can try pen hold?

  24. Desert Posted on January 26, 2017 at 10:01 am

    What all wood blade would you recommend me. below $20 usd

  25. Thomas Kim Posted on January 27, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Dear EmRatThich
    I would like to deliver my sincere appreciation to all your valuable videos.
    I live in Switzerland as Korean origin who started Pingpong over 50 years old.
    I didn't have any chance to have coach but I am getting a serious player.
    Therefore, I have eagered to find an Internet coach for a year.
    During last Christmas break, I watched all you videos and I admired your logical explanations. I can see some difference between oriental culture/method and western one. But I believe that you recognize it and balance it well.
    I am a fan of your video and you are my genuin coach absolutely. Thanks for your kind efforts. Best regards

  26. Abdur Rehman Posted on January 27, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Thank You very much for your effort and time in putting this video together. Greatly appreciated!!

  27. Colin Bilzerian Posted on January 29, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I think I`m doing the backhand wrong. Will the RPB always have side-topspin, or is it possible to put only topspin when doing long distance loops?

  28. KY Chiu Posted on January 30, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Pressure point of penhold forehand on index finger is completely wrong. Foreigners know nothing to penhold.

  29. N8 Posted on January 31, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Fantastic video! I'm glad you finally made this.

    As a new table tennis player, im glad I found this channel. I picked up ping pong a while ago and when i went to buy a raquet, the club owner sold me some 5+2 carbon zebrawood doublefish blade that was extremely hard and some soft and springy rubbers that are completly non-tacky. The opposite of what you reccomend!

    I can use it decently, but now that I am starting to improve i find my shot consistency is holding me back and i tend to make most of my errors on simple plays like pushes and gentle flicks. Now that i am more informed, i want to get a softer blade and tackier rubber so i can learn to loop the chinese style. Do you think you can help me pick a backhand rubber?
    My thoughts are

    Blade: yasaka sweden extra penhold. All blade, good for looping i think?

    fh: 729 super fx bs. Hard and tacky rubber!

    bh:??? I play rpb and can flick, counter and block with some level of consistency.

    Thank you for your time!

  30. Geoffrey Cheng Posted on January 31, 2017 at 5:56 am

    very good explanation about the RPB grip. I been trying to figure out myself and got confused! thanks for clearing it up

  31. Zulhairee hairee Posted on February 1, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    pliss..malay subtitle ERT

  32. daniel cadena garcia Posted on February 2, 2017 at 9:03 am

    What would be the correct grip if I want to block with the traditional cpen and drive with rpb?
    Thanks! 🙂

  33. Ramon Antoniolli Posted on February 13, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Fantastic video!

    Thank you so much, coach.

  34. James Owen Posted on February 14, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Great video, I've never seen anybody actually explain how different your grip needs to be for the reserve backhand. Now I may know why I've been struggling to get it going. Many thanks!

  35. Jari Alcides Gonzales Reyes Posted on February 23, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Thank you for all your videos! love them

  36. Eugene Lim Posted on February 25, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I once loose hold of my racket with the pen hold grip

  37. Zoran Roglic Posted on March 14, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    I am ruined about 10 good blades trying to get god grip for rpb. I am losing hope. My question is:
    How deep the thumb have to get in to the blade and also very important question is does the thumb have fixed position (I mean dose it have one position and I don't mean on the pressure on the blade face,I know that the thumb must do press and release) or thumb move even millimeter up and down on the blade face??
    please somebody answer correctly.
    Few times I had a good grip but it was so painful for the index and fingers on the back so I give up. I must say that the good grip was GOOD only when all my fingers (thumb,index, middle and ring) are fixed and have same position on the blade always. maybe fingers on the back have little moves but index and especially thumb had to have fixed position. if Thumb move on the blade up or down even 1 mm I have feeling that my recket will fly away or I'm losing position of my back finger.

  38. Eugene Pytkin Posted on March 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Dat music at 9:32

  39. Gurjot Dhaliwal Posted on April 28, 2017 at 10:10 am

    If you observe carefully you will notice that to do a fore hand Xu Xin changes his grip similar to that of Ma Lin's and when he does RPB he holds the bat with his index finger further apart like in the picture in 9:17 so he basically has his own variation of RPB but has a forehand technique like Ma Lin. Also it is sad to see no one is interested in Japanese penhold 🙁

  40. AtoOmoS Posted on May 22, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you for the video! I'm a french beginner player with the penhold grip, and I would say that your tips are usefull!

  41. franco mayer Posted on June 2, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Great video! I'm thinking about buying a butterfly or dhs penhold, can't decide on wich

  42. Octavio Leal Posted on June 14, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Hi EmRatThich, thanks for the video, awesome. I've heard that the wang hao's grip is unique for him, is that true?

  43. Milano Posted on July 10, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    This is PENhole grip; it has not much to do with chopsticks. Even people in the west use pens, not just Asians.

  44. Andy Zhao Posted on August 23, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Hey coach, how should my back fingers be positioned if I want to use both sides on the backhand side? I want to block with the traditional backhand and also topspin with the reverse penhold backhand. Any ideas?

  45. ADITYA THOMAS Posted on September 20, 2017 at 3:17 am

    emratthich I am unable to return very fast balls against a shakehand player…… could you please tell me some tips to return these shots…….I am a j-pen player with butterfly p20 racket ..thnx

  46. Toshi Nobe Posted on September 24, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Thank you Coach! Very informative and you confirm my playing style.

  47. lewciuk1 Posted on September 29, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Coach! Thanks for the video. I wanted to ask if this makes sense to use short pimples like 802 with fast japanese penhold.

  48. KiwiOverlord Posted on October 3, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Wow, fantastic video

  49. Andy Zhao Posted on December 1, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    When I do my penhold forehand, my index finger always slips downward. Can anyone help?

  50. Arthur Li Posted on August 18, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    did you know that some table tennis pros file down their blade so they can grip them better?

  51. You Tube Posted on September 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    что такое пенхолд?

  52. Maestroz Posted on February 6, 2019 at 6:28 am

    the amount of misinformation in this video is insane

  53. Vinod Mahale Posted on February 6, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Thanks for your valuable videos because of you my game improved
    Could you please tell me which is good premade bat under 20$ I am a penholder
    Reply As soon as possible
    Once again thank you

  54. aquhoil Posted on March 19, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    good this video clip

  55. Daniel Smith Posted on March 24, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this video

  56. Aspire D Posted on April 3, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    To block the "roar" you must …


    Subtitles: To block the ball you must …

    Me: Oh…

    (not being racist or anything, just for laughs)

  57. Acrid Posted on June 21, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    i am not asian but use the penhold gripp becouse i have more accuracy

  58. Man pro Posted on July 11, 2019 at 3:08 am

    I know traditional Chinese penhold grip it's in my gene from india

  59. Stefan Musulin Posted on July 28, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Hi, I'm new in table tennis, but my father learned me to use penhold grip, and i love it. Shakehand grip does not work for me very good… I know cpen have some flaws. I just want to play for fun with my friends, but still I will like to win some games. They are beginners too.
    My question is. Because I'm from Europe (Serbia), i don't have many options here to get some good penhold blades. I want to listen to your advice and get allaround 5 ply, all wood blade, but i can't find one here that easy.
    I find one that i like, and the name of the blade is like the name of my favorite player, Ma Lin (Ma Lin Extra OFF cpen). But it is offensive blade… You said offensive is not good for beginner, and i respect that, but what do you think about this model? Is it possible to advance with this blade, or is too fast, and hard to control for me at this level. I just want to say that this blade is in my price range (I'm not very rich, Serbia is not so good place to live in).
    And one more question to add. What rubber do you recommend for cpen beginner. I watch your video when you said hard ones (harder on FH 40+, and -2 on BH). I like spins, and control for now, so at this moment I don't want to focus too much on speed. I want to learn basics and technique first, reverse backhand later. So what do you think that is the best rubber for me at this point on FH and BH (and where to put black and red colors).

    English is not my mother tongue; please excuse any errors on my part. Thank you

  60. JayB29 Posted on August 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    a little thing that Wang Hao was doing on his backhand rubber was, to put a little square of glue on the rubber where his fingers are in contact. like this, he has more grip when he switches for backhand. he can grab it tight to unleash the royal backhand stroke.

  61. The Three Little Gamers Posted on October 1, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    I use the penhold grip and the backhand flexibility is my downfall