Home > Foam Flooring, Martial Arts Mats > Martial Arts Mats – Identifying the best options for use at home

Martial Arts Mats – Identifying the best options for use at home

Traditionally, martial artists at home will perform their training drills in their basement, garage, or any other room large enough to handle a wide range of movements.  In many of these rooms, a hardwood or concrete floor is present which is not the friendliest of flooring surfaces to practice on.  To fix this problem, a soft and sometimes portable martial art mat or flooring surface can be used to create an at home martial arts environment. Professional schools that train in any of the mixed martial arts use a variety of flooring surfaces in their dojos and training facilities.  In this article, we will take a look at the different types of mats used by the professionals for each kind of martial art and identify what the best options are for the homeowner who would like to do some training at home.

Tatami Tiles for General Martial Arts Training

The most traditional type of mat, found in most Japanese homes as well as Japanese martial arts studios, is the tatami mat. While these mats aren’t very soft, due to the fact that they are only an inch thick and made of woven straw, it proves to be a good choice when training a more standing oriented martial art style. These mats also tend to be rather abrasive. Many dojos in Japan use this style of mat due to its distinctive look and feel however the traditional tatami mat is rarely used in the U.S.  What is now used in its place is a foam tile that has the surface appearance of a tatami mat.  These tiles absorb shocks from falls, insulate well, are easy to install, and completely water proof.

Folding Mats for Grappling and Wrestling

Wrestling or Folding Mats are more common in use of a grappling style of martial arts. This soft, easy to clean and easy to customize mat is made a layer of high-impact foam and is coated with a protective, non-stick vinyl. Generally, these types of mats are only good for styles such as wrestling, aikido, jiu jitsu, and judo. When practicing Judo on these mats, it is best to avoid too many slams to the ground. Due to the softness of the mats, you tend to feel the impact all the way to the floor. Also, the softness of the mat will give way to your feet and they will easily sink into the mats and make it harder to maneuver around, outside of basic movement. Minor injuries can occur easier if training in a kicking art on these mats. The most popular grappling mat solution that can be laid down when needed at home is the folding mat.  These mats are expandable and can easily be velcroed or taped together to form larger training surfaces.

Puzzle Tiles for Karate and Taekwondo

The most cost-efficient choice in a martial arts training surfaces are foam Puzzle Tiles, which are substantially less expensive than any other type of mat. They consist of individual square pieces with the edges cut to resemble puzzle pieces. These pieces fit together with one another to cover an entire training area. While these types of mats are cost-efficient, they are not very thick or shock absorbing and people should not be slammed down on them. However, they are ideal when practicing a stand up arts where you occasionally may fall down.  At home users training in Karate and/or Taekwondo will often find these tiles to be the best option to fit their needs.

Roll Out Matting for Judo and MMA Training

The most recent type of mat that has been developed is a Judo mat or roll out mat. Roll out mats consist of firm top surface, but a softer foam surface underneath. This allows the judo practitioner (a.k.a. the judoka) to be able to maneuver around on the mat, without their feet sinking in, as well as being able to get slammed to the ground.  These mats are also the most popular choice for mixed martial arts (MMA) training.  Home users also like these mats since they are portable and can be rolled up and stored after use.

While a Tatami mat may be the most commonly used mat in traditional martials arts training, there are many mat and floor options available today that are safer and more comfortable to train on. Some mats can take more punishment while others can help you keep your footing or absorb more shock from throws and falls. Each type of mat has its own style and also serves its own purpose.  For more information please visit our martial arts page here and click on each available product for their descriptions and recommended uses.  If you still have any questions about what martial arts mat would be best for you, please feel free to call our in house customer service staff to find the best solution for you.  The phone number is 800-613-0996.

  1. rico1961
    August 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I would like to try this for my training area

  2. Dan
    October 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for the great high level overview on the types of mats. Surprisingly man mat sellers don’t have something like this.

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