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Introduction - Jokari reintroduced
Jokari is the world's greatest ball-on-a-string paddle or racket game. Actually, it's a full-fledged, competitive, physically demanding sport for two players, or just the thing for a great solo workout. It dates back to about 1940 and was a sensation in both America and Europe.
Jokari is played outdoors just like racquetball, but without any walls. Play on any paved surface - parking lot, wide street, basketball court, etc. No fitness club membership required! Find a complete set of rules further down this page.
Jokari hasn't been marketed in years. This has gone on long enough.
I can supply everything you need but the paddles. Maybe you have a set from the good ol' days. You can always find classic Jokari paddles on eBay for much less than anyone could make and sell them for. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, there are plans for a wood Jokari paddle down below.
Or, you might use racquetball rackets; they have a fine feel with the jokari ball and work perfectly well. They also make it easier for kids and [g-word]s (one of the sexes) to keep a rally going. Either you already have racquetball rackets or can buy them anywhere. I've seen very inexpensive rackets on eBay. The older, smaller rackets are better suited to Jokari, anyhow. For some reason, modern racquetball rackets have become ridiculously oversized.
Some people have reported success with pickleball paddles. I'm guessing you'd want the cheap, all-wood kind. And I've been told that Wham-O Ultimate Paddleball paddles work great (and can be found really cheap at Dick's Sporting Goods.)
Just to reiterate, I DO NOT SUPPLY PADDLES OR RACKETS. That's left up to you, as in almost all racket and paddle sports.
Gallery of Jokari in Action
Here's a glimpse of the glorious workout in store for you. (Click to enlarge and see ball):
Better yet, view a short slide show on Youtube:
Jokari slide show (Youtube)
Don't exit early; he goes crazy! On the downside, you'll have to expand the screen and sprain your eyeballs for any hope of seeing the ball in crummy youtube video resolution.
And even better, here is surely the best Jokari video on Youtube. As far as I can tell, it's the only one that really shows the game played according to the rules (albeit in solo workout mode.) Well, he does make an illegal serve from out of his hand; you're supposed to serve the ball on a bounce.
Jokari action video (Youtube)
Ordering is easy. Just follow these steps:
1. Check the address bar of your browser to make sure you are at www.donaldsauter.com/jokari.htm (with or without the "www"), which is the active and up-to-date version of this page. If not, go there now.
2. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org including the CATALOG NUMBER(S) of the desired Jokari part(s); the TOTAL PRICE of the part or package deal; and your MAILING ADDRESS. (Sometimes Paypal will tell me this, sometimes not.)
3. Wait for a CONFIRMATION EMAIL indicating everything is in order. This is mainly for your benefit; I know I'm still in business, but you can't be sure this page is alive and well.
4. Deposit the confirmed TOTAL COST OF THE ORDER in my PAYPAL account, using my email address, email@example.com . In PayPal, click the button for "This is a purchase of Goods." A short note in the "Email to recipient" box is optional; I usually don't have trouble correlating the PayPal payment with the original request.
If you don't use PayPal, no problem! I will tell you how to send payment in the mail.
That's it. Sit back and wait a few days for delivery.
Basic Jokari parts with U.S. prices
For all the images below, please CLICK TO ENLARGE.
DJ1: Jokari strings
DESCRIPTION: Two long-lasting, polyester-wrapped elastic strings, approximately 11 feet long, with loop at each end for easy attachment to the Jokari base and the harness on the ball.
TOTAL PRICE: $5.86 (all inclusive! Shipped USPS First Class, 1 ounce, non-machinable.)
Jokari ball and two strings (dj2)
DJ2: Jokari ball and strings
DESCRIPTION: 50mm rubber ball with 40% rebound; nylon harness, two elastic strings as described above. Works like a charm with paddles or racket. DJ2 includes string pair as described above.
TOTAL PRICE: $12.66 (all inclusive! Shipped USPS First Class package.)
Jokari set - base, ball, two strings (dj3)
DJ3: Jokari set
DESCRIPTION: Rubber tile Jokari base is the most rugged ever, but sleek and stylish. Also heavier than any previous Jokari base (1 pound, 5.5 ounce), and with more surface area (64 square inch) to keep it from skidding. Just set it down and start whacking away. Best barrel swivel on the market keeps the string free of twists, which cause tangles and knots. DJ3 includes ball assembly and string pair as described above.
TOTAL PRICE: $20.79 (all inclusive! Shipped USPS Priority Mail.)
If you want several Jokari parts, I hope you can find your desired combo among the package deals below. Prices shown for the package deals below are all inclusive.
Jokari part dj1 = $5.86 (2 strings)
Jokari part dj2 = $12.66 (1 ball, 2 strings)
Jokari part dj3 = $20.79 (1 base, 1 ball, 2 strings)
Package deal: 2 x dj1 = $9.51 (4 strings. Items bought separately $11.72)
Package deal: dj2 + dj1 = $16.31 (1 ball, 4 strings. Items bought separately $18.52)
Package deal: dj3 + dj2 = $27.95 (1 base, 2 balls, 4 strings. Items bought separately $33.45)
Package deal: dj3 + dj2 + dj1 = $31.60 (1 base, 2 balls, 6 strings. Items bought separately $39.30)
Package deal: dj3 + dj2 + dj2 = $35.11 (1 base, 3 balls, 6 strings. Items bought separately $46.11)
Package deal: 2 x dj2 = $19.83 (2 balls, 4 strings. Effective unit price = $9.91)
Package deal: 3 x dj2 = $27.76 (3 balls, 6 strings. Effective unit price = $9.25)
Package deal: 4 x dj2 = $34.92 (4 balls, 8 strings. Effective unit price = $8.73)
Package deal: 5 x dj2 = $43.02 (5 balls, 10 strings. Effective unit price = $8.60)
Package deal: 6 x dj2 = $50.19 (6 balls, 12 strings. Effective unit price = $8.36)
Package deal: 7 x dj2 = $57.35 (7 balls, 14 strings. Effective unit price = $8.19)
Package deal: 8 x dj2 = $66.32 (8 balls, 16 strings. Effective unit price = $8.29)
Package deal: 9 x dj2 = $73.48 (9 balls, 18 strings. Effective unit price = $8.16)
Package deal: 10 x dj2 = $80.64 (10 balls, 20 strings. Effective unit price = $8.06)
Package deal: 11 x dj2 = $87.80 (11 balls, 22 strings. Effective unit price = $7.98)
Package deal: 12 x dj2 = $94.97 (12 balls, 24 strings. Effective unit price = $7.91)
Package deal: 2 x dj3 = $39.77 (2 bases, 2 balls, 4 strings. Effective unit price = $19.88)
Package deal: 3 x dj3 = $51.54 (3 bases, 3 balls, 6 strings. Effective unit price = $17.18)
Package deal: 4 x dj3 = $63.32 (4 bases, 4 balls, 8 strings. Effective unit price = $15.83)
Package deal: 5 x dj3 = $75.09 (5 bases, 5 balls, 10 strings. Effective unit price = $15.02)
Package deal: 6 x dj3 = $86.86 (6 bases, 6 balls, 12 strings. Effective unit price = $14.48)
Package deal: 7 x dj3 = $98.64 (7 bases, 7 balls, 14 strings. Effective unit price = $14.09)
For an explanation of how these funny prices came about, see the last section below.
For a start, the strings are easy:
Jokari part dj1 (2 strings)
Rest of the World: $6.53
Package deal: 2 x dj1 (4 strings)
Rest of the World: $10.19
After that, it becomes an overwhelming chore dealing with international orders. Besides wrestling with the customs form and standing in a long line at the post office, the postage will vary depending on the destination, so I can't just give a final price here.
But, don't despair! It is a very simple matter finding my jokari parts on eBay. Just go to eBay and search for: jokari "world sales". Just those 3 words (the quotes are not really necessary) should bring up my ongoing, fixed-price eBay sales for the jokari ball and strings and the full jokari set. I also have one for just the jokari strings, but it's cheaper to buy them here since you will avoid the 10 percent eBay fee which I must pass on to eBay customers.
The base separates the front court from the back court.
base Front court \ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Back court O 0__/ 0 / /|\ /\ O | |\ A B
Both players play in the back court.
Player A serves the ball. It must bounce exactly once in the front court and return over the line to the back court.
Player B has the option of letting it bounce once in the back court, or hitting it on the fly.
The rally continues until one player flubs.
Scoring is like racquetball or volleyball: a player only scores on his own serve, and he continues to serve until he flubs.
A player must win by at least two points.
Decide on the winning score before starting. Eleven (11) points makes a good game. Choose a bigger tally (15 or 21, say) for well-matched, competitive players; a smaller tally (7 or 5, say) for friendly, recreational play, especially if others are waiting for a turn.
Rally for serve. The winner of a rally of at least three good hits is the first server.
As in racquetball, the server drops the ball and hits it after the bounce.
The server stands near the base and makes an easy, high, lob serve straight out. No kill shots on the serve!
A player is obligated to move out of the way after making his shot. If he is "too close for comfort" for his opponent to make a safe swing, the opponent calls "Hinder!" instead of swinging at the ball. No point is scored and the serve is redone.
If the ball hits the base, that's a "take-over"; the serve is redone.
It's permissable to step over the line to get out of your opponent's way, but not to hit the ball. Reaching over the line to hit a ball that might fall short is perfectly ok.
For safety's sake, only two players, maximum, at a time! (However... *)
For livelier play, shorten the string.
Remember, there are no side boundaries, so experiment with shots to the far left and right.
Keep in mind that the ball comes back more or less to the center of the court no matter which direction it is hit, so maneuver toward the base after your opponent makes a shot.
Don't jump to hit the ball. You'll do much better on terra firma. Sir Isaac assures us the ball will come down.
Be aware that if the ball sails over your head and bounces behind you, it is still in play until it's made a second bounce in the back court. If you hit it on its way back toward the base, that's like "playing off the back wall" in racquetball.
Instead of playing an imaginary line at the base, it is best to mark an actual line, or use an existing line such as on a parking lot, tennis court, basketball court, etc.
Want more "good" hits and longer rallies? Place the base a foot or so behind the line on your side. In unequal play, such as adult versus child, you may officially cross the line to reach a short return before the second bounce by calling "Good!" first. But then, if you flub, it's on you. :-) In short, whatever makes it fun for you and your gang!
For maximum stability of the base, the pavement beneath it should be clean and smooth. If even more stability is needed (it shouldn't be!), tape it down with a strip of masking tape. Or, staple non-skid shelf liner to the bottom.
If the string breaks, just tie it back together and keep playing! Avoid stepping on the string.
It is always quicker and easier to take a step or two and grab a dead ball than trying to pinch the string to reel the ball in.
For neatness and convenience, you might wind the string around the base after playing. To prolong the life of the string, keep all tension off of it. Wrap the string as lightly as possible around the base on a diagonal. Then straighten up the loop so that it is looser yet.
Guys, squelch the urge to smash the ball with all your might. There's nothing to be gained, and the equipment will just wear out that much faster. Unfortunately, racquetball rackets are much bigger, and thus much more powerful, than back in the old days of racquetball-style Jokari. If possible, use smaller rackets strung at a lower tension.
* GOOD RULES FOR THREE PLAYERS WHO PROMISE TO BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL! A player receives a point for a flub. For each rally, the player with the highest score serves; the player with the middle score returns the serve; and the player with the lowest score is third in the cycle. In the case of players having the same score, the player who reached that score first precedes the other in the cycle. The game is over when a player reaches an agreed-upon score, such as 11. The winner is the player with the lowest score.
Jokari In Classic Literature
Jokari is mentioned in the James Bond novel, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which first appeared in serial form in some well-known men's magazine (I forget the name) in 1963. From the April 1963 issue, page 72:
On the beaten stretch of sand below where James Bond was sitting, two golden [French] girls in exciting bikinis packed up the game of Jokari which they had been so provocatively playing, and raced each other up the steps towards Bond's shelter. They flaunted their bodies at him, paused and chattered to see if he would respond, and, when he didn't...
Plans For The Wooden Jokari Paddle
Here are the dimensions of a Jokari paddle, as made by SportCraft many years ago. I hope you can figure out some way to print it out and scale it up to its actual dimensions so that you can simply trace the outline on the plywood.
Use 1/2 in. thick plywood.
Round off all the edges and sand smooth. Rough paddles and rackets are murder on the string.
For safety, drill a hole with its center 3/4 inch from the end of the handle. Tie a loop of cord through the hole. Put your hand through the safety loop to grip the handle. This is a safeguard against the paddle flying off and hitting someone.
The SportCraft paddles had a nice rubber grip around the handle. You might wrap your handle with tape to a desired thickness.
For a better grip and extra comfort, wear a glove. Those rubber coated worker gloves from the dollar store work fine for me.
Instructions For Racquetball Attachment System
In the latter 20th century, Jokari came out with a racquetball-style Jokari. The blue, hollow ball looked and behaved like a racquetball, and players used their own racquetball rackets. I spent a lot of time and effort developing a rugged attachment system for an off-the-shelf racquetball, and I used to offer these modified racquetballs on this page. I eventually got it through my head that the rubber "sponge" ball works perfectly well with a racquetball racket, and have discontinued the racquetballs.
But, if you want the purity of racquetball against racket, here is how I did it.
WARNING: VERY LABOR INTENSIVE! :-)
Now for the sleeve and harness:
With me so far? This will separate the men from the boys.
P.S. If anyone comes up with an easy way to rig up an off-the-shelf racquetball for use with Jokari, please let us know!
A Word About Pricing
In May 2015, when I replaced the wood blocks with the rubber tile base, I buckled down and examined the economics of selling these Jokari parts in complete detail. I had been happy to make them available for a bit of "hobby income". In retrospect, I was probably doing it for a small fraction of minimum wage (yowch). But with the new, vastly improved base, I figured it was time to put the operation on a firm business basis.
The pricing is based on this: you pay for all the materials and postage, plus you cover the cut that paypal takes (2.9% plus $.30). I value my "skilled" labor in assembling the Jokari parts at a very reasonable, fixed, hourly rate - much less than what you'd pay a repairman, I assure you. Plus, I tack on a handling charge for each order, no matter how big, as 10 minutes at $6 per hour, which is $1. (You're making out like a bandit there, but don't worry about it!)
In case you're curious, it takes an hour and a half to work up 60 jokari strings (30 string pairs) from the supplier's spool; an hour and 35 minutes to rig up 50 ball and harness assemblies; and 2 hours to prepare 40 rubber slab bases with the attached barrel swivel.
I've written a computer program which takes all my costs into consideration, which is why you see pricing to the penny. When postage goes up every January, I crank out the new prices, also working in the latest prices I paid for the raw materials. I think I have all the production moves down pat, but if I come up with any shortcuts you will be the beneficiaries!
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