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Jokari!!!

Parts Catalog and Rules

 


Introduction - Jokari reintroduced

Jokari is the world's greatest ball-on-a-string racket sport. 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 on any paved surface - parking lot, wide street, basketball court, etc. No fitness club membership required! Further down this page is a complete set of rules.

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, or you can snag a pair on eBay. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, there are plans for a wood Jokari paddle down below.

Or, you can 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 elsewhere. I've seen very inexpensive rackets on eBay. The older, smaller rackets are better suited to Jokari, anyhow. For some reason, modern racquetball rackets are ridiculously oversized.

 


Jokari Parts Catalog

SORRY, SALES TO U.S.A ONLY!

ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS:

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 donaldsauter@gmail.com listing the CATALOG NUMBER(S) of the desired Jokari part(s); the TOTAL PRICE for each part; the TOTAL COST OF THE ORDER; and your MAILING ADDRESS (optional, if your address on file with PayPal is up-to-date.)

3. Wait for a CONFIRMATION EMAIL indicating everything is in order. This is mainly for your benefit; without confirmation you might not be sure the offer is still in effect.

4. Deposit the TOTAL COST OF THE ORDER in my PAYPAL account, using my email address, donaldsauter@gmail.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 have no trouble correlating the PayPal payment with the original request.

If you don't want to fool with PayPal, I can tell you how to send payment in the mail, no problem.

That's it. Sit back and wait a few days for delivery.

For the time being there is no shipping discount for ordering multiple items. Nominal return policy is "60 days, buyer pays shipping," but the best plan is to get in touch if there is a problem. I'll make sure you're fixed up.

 
For all the images below, please CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Two replacement strings

Jokari replacement strings 
(click to enlarge.)

CATALOG NUMBER: dj01
ITEM DESCRIPTION: Two long-lasting, polyester-wrapped elastic strings, approximately 11 feet long, loop at each end for easy attachment to the Jokari block and the harness on the ball.
TOTAL PRICE: $4 (equals $2 plus $2 first class postage and handling)

 

Jokari ball and two strings

Jokari ball and two strings 
(click to enlarge.)

CATALOG NUMBER: dj02
ITEM DESCRIPTION: 50mm rubber ball with 40% rebound; nylon harness, two elastic strings as described above. Works like a charm with paddles or racket.
TOTAL PRICE: $7 (equals $4 plus $3 first class postage and handling)

 

Jokari block, ball, two strings

Jokari block, ball, two strings 
(click to enlarge.)

CATALOG NUMBER: dj04
ITEM DESCRIPTION: The most stable Jokari block ever designed. 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. Jokari ball and two elastic strings as described above.
TOTAL PRICE: $16 (equals $10 plus $6 flat-rate Priority Mail postage and handling)

 
IMPORTANT WORD TO BUYERS OF THE OLD DJ03 OR DJ05 PARTS WITH RACQUETBALL SETUP! If and when the racquetball attachment system fails, even outside the one-year warranty period, email me a photo showing the failure and I will send you a dj02 Jokari ball at no cost.

 


Jokari Rules

 
Basic rules:

The block separates the front court from the back court.

                        block
  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:

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.

 
The Serve:

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 block and makes an easy, high, lob serve straight out. No kill shots on the serve!

 
Other rules:

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 block, 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.

 
Tips:

Only two players, maximum, at a time! (Howsomever... *)

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 block after your opponent makes a shot.

Don't jump to hit the ball. You'll do 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 block, that's like "playing off the back wall" in racquetball.

Instead of playing an imaginary line at the front of the block, it is best to mark an actual line, or use an existing line such as on a parking lot, tennis court, basketball court, etc.

If the string breaks, 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 block after playing. To prolong the life of the string, keep all tension off of it. Wrap the string as lightly as possible around the block on a diagonal. Then straighten up the loop so that it is looser yet.

Always lift and set the block in place; don't push it around.

The block will remain fixed for very powerful shots, but if more stability is needed, tape it down with a length of masking tape. The surface has to be reasonably clean, of course.

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.

HAVE FUN!!!

 


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.

Jokari paddle shape (click to enlarge.)
Jokari paddle shape (click to enlarge.)

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.

Jokari attachment system for racquetball.
Jokari attachment system for racquetball.

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.

Wrap up:

DONE! (Whew!)

 


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Parents, if you're considering tutoring or supplemental education for your child, you may be interested in my observations on Kumon.