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BKimpel
09-04-2006, 05:38 AM
Iím making an Aikido dojo in my basement, and I was wondering if some of you out there have had experience with Zebra mats (http://www.zebramats.com/grapple.html ), and floating floors (http://www.judoinfo.com/tatami.htm),

I have an area in my basement approximately 24í by 12í that I can use for my mats.
See attached gif file.
The area outlined in red is where I am going to put the mats, the mat arrangement is ugly green, and the cool little niche at the top outlined in red will be the kamiza.

Now I think I can fit 4 mats down (12í), and either 3 or 4 (24í) mats across as each mat is 1x2 meters or 3' 3" x 6' 6" although I may have to cut some of them.

Is that going be a big enough space to practice on (for 2 people usually)?
I know Saito-senseiís old dojo that you see in pictures was pretty tiny (counting tatami), and it seemed fine for a couple of Aikidoka.

I have seen how to cut them and roll the vinyl over.
Has anyone cut them? Did it work out or did the foam tear apart?

Now do people use zebra mats as is, or do they cover them with canvas?
I know they have a rubberized covering, but I am wondering about the gaps where the mats meet. Do people roll there toe in the crack because they depress, or are they stiff enough that that doesnít happen?
Do you have to Velcro them down so they donít shift? Zebra mats say no, but the folks that did the floating floor did.

Does it matter how the mats are arranged, or is that just an ascetic thing (or just a space-fitting thing)? http://www.zebramats.com/layout.html

Is there anything to do with the color selection in traditional / current dojos?
Is that weird green a traditional dojo color in Japan?

Is there any taboo or rule about the multi-color selection? I know Judo, Wrestling and BJJ use the multi-colors to outline a match ring Ė but do Aikido dojos have some rule about a different color in front of the kamiza or some such thing?

For that matter is there some such rule that the kamiza can only face a certain direction?
Not much I can do about that one in my basement though.

Appreciate any experience with these kind of things, as mats and flooring are expensive (my wife will kill me when she finds out how much it will cost) and I don't want to make mistakes.

SeiserL
09-04-2006, 07:59 AM
Many of the dojos have zebra mats that I have trained on and love them. I would use them if I were make a home dojo.

crbateman
09-04-2006, 08:24 AM
Zebra mats are good stuff. You might look around on eBay or check with Zebra themselves about used mats. Zebra will often cut a good deal on mats they use as display models or in shows and seminars. That could save you some money.

A built-up subfloor in a basement dojo is probably overkill, and in a basement, I would imagine that ceiling height is already at a minimum. No point in making it even less by building up the floor. You probably won't get much jo or bokken work done with the low ceiling either way.

The 12' x 24' area should be OK for 2 people. Just like any other time, you should be aware of your surroundings, to avoid rolling into the walls.

JAMJTX
09-04-2006, 02:01 PM
In a small space, you may want to pad one of the walls and only throw in that direction.
I had a basement dojo in a smaller space than this, but we only did techqniues where uke fell directly in front and never rolled away so that was one problem eliminated.

I would also highly reccomend the Zebra mats.

vjw
09-04-2006, 02:31 PM
We use the double sided tape supplied by zebra to hold the mats in place. They are stuck to a wooden floor and have stayed in place perfectly. We have both green and blue mats due to buying them used from zebra sponsored events. The green mats are slightly softer than the blue which you may prefer on a hard floor.

Larry John
09-04-2006, 03:47 PM
Taping mats to the floor has the possibility of marring it, as does just placing the mats on the floor (grit can work its way under the mat and scrape up your floor). You may find it useful to put a thin carpet remnant or pad (commercial grade, if you can find it) under the mats to keep them from shifting around.

Nick P.
09-04-2006, 07:45 PM
I envy you.

Advice? Here we go...

1- That space in the top right corner? If i read your plans properly and that is your furnace area that is walled-in, that section would be surrounded by 3 hard walls. You'll likely neither want to throw into that area, and if you are in there allready you'll want throw out of there. Also, your kamiza will be centered if you only do 12 mats, as well as being cheaper. Also, you will likely have bigger sense of space without that corner. You can always add those 4 mats later and fill in that space. In fact, I would extend the side closest to your stairs, and perhaps shift the whole thing towards that bathroom to clear the furnace-room wall and corner; might skew the centering with the kamiza, but you could fashion a false wall to shrink the kamiza space and shift it left.

2- I think the kamiza should be on the north wall, but could be completely wrong on that.

3- Mats; if Zebra's are the ones we have (has tackie, grey, waffled foam on bottom), and if you lay them down tight, a simple border should keep them from shifting (see http://www.zebramats.com/matframe.html ). Shifting only happens during really engertic practice, and we put our mats down and take them up each class, so we are only relying on the rubber underpad that comes with each mat. The spaces are really quite tight and low-profile.
Under the mat; try the mats as they are, and if you need to build a suspended floor you will know for sure (thereby also differing some of the cost to later). Direct on concrete (which we do) can be pretty hard, as many visitors have mentionned.
Number of mats; minimum is 3 for 2 people (your circles will tighten up!), 6 is comfy, 12 is luxurious, so I think you are good with the number you have.

Got any more pictures of the actual space right now?
Keep us posted, and good luck.

BKimpel
09-05-2006, 12:14 AM
Thanks for all the replies folks,
A built-up sub-floor in a basement dojo is probably overkill, and in a basement, I would imagine that ceiling height is already at a minimum. No point in making it even less by building up the floor. You probably won't get much jo or bokken work done with the low ceiling either way.
I am having the house built as we speak and I have paid extra to have 9 foot ceiling put in the basement. Also because of the style of construction (where the ducts are, etc.) that part of the basement will really be almost 9 feet (not losing much when the ceiling is closed).
That being said though, my other option is to use heavy underlay, soft carpet, and then perhaps another chunk of underlay under the mats. I would only lose about 2-3 inches instead of 6 inches (with floating floor, and mats).
I will have to think about that because the basement concrete floor is very unforgiving.
In a small space, you may want to pad one of the walls and only throw in that direction.
I am thinking that with a 24' area, 2 people on the mat, we can stand in the middle and throw each other back and forth across the long length (never towards Kamiza or stairs).
We use the double sided tape supplied by zebra to hold the mats in place. They are stuck to a wooden floor and have stayed in place perfectly.
I'm not sure whether I want them permanently attached to the floor. Maybe attached to plywood so they don't shift and I can still move them if I ever move.
Taping mats to the floor has the possibility of marring it, as does just placing the mats on the floor (grit can work its way under the mat and scrape up your floor).
Don't have to worry about marring the floor (concrete), but I wouldn't tape it directly to the floor anyway (too hard a surface, need some underlay, etc.).
1- You'll likely neither want to throw into that area, and if you are in there already you'll want throw out of there...but you could fashion a false wall to shrink the kamiza space and shift it left.

2- I think the kamiza should be on the north wall, but could be completely wrong on that.
I don't have a big choice on this one, can I can't do much else with that weird little alcove anyway - but I am curious about the 'rule'.
3- Mats; if Zebra's are the ones we have ...Number of mats; minimum is 3 for 2 people (your circles will tighten up!), 6 is comfy, 12 is luxurious, so I think you are good with the number you have.
I could do with 12 mats instead of 16, and as you said it would be centered on the kamiza - but I can't really do anything else with that corner so I figured I might as well mat it and get that little bit extra throwing space (I can 't see having a problem throwing or being thrown across 12', but 24' lets us throw back and forth across two directions without having to always throw to only one side of the room (as mentioned).
I also have to leave that bit of space above the bathroom for a little TV/video game/couch area for me and the kids, so I can't encroach much more that direction.
Got any more pictures of the actual space right now?Keep us posted, and good luck.
No pictures yet, they are just starting to build my house as we speak. It will be a while. Just thought I would do all my planning now while I have the time - plus I was curious about people's experience on smaller mat area sizes and whether I would have enough space to enjoy it.

Thanks for all the advice so far, keep it coming. Any other mats on concrete stories?

Nick P.
05-21-2007, 06:45 PM
So, it's been a while; how are the plans coming along?

Chuck Clark
05-21-2007, 07:33 PM
Don't have to worry about marring the floor (concrete), but I wouldn't tape it directly to the floor anyway (too hard a surface, need some underlay, etc.).

Good luck in your home dojo. We have had Zebra mats (tatami green) directly on concrete for about the last six years at the Jiyushinkan and have no problems. Everyone found their ukemi getting better and we take lots of falls.

My son just bought a house about 45 minutes north of Seattle with a space in his basement that's similar to yours (almost 1000 sq. ft). He's putting Zebra mats in soon. His ceiling is 10'. When he gets the outdoor dojo built, I suspect the basement will become the home theater room...

Howard Popkin
05-21-2007, 10:03 PM
Hello,

I have the Zebra mats and the floating floor, similar to the directions that were found on that judo website.

It's great. If height isn't a problem, I would recommend it.

If you need advice, please e-mail.

It was a project, but well worth it in the end.

Howard Popkin
NY Roppokai

Erik Johnstone
05-22-2007, 09:17 AM
Hello!

I am planning a small basement dojo as well, hopefully to be followed by a separate dojo on my property.

Does anyone have any advice with respect to insurance? Does one's liability insurance for a dojo (under a registered business) protect one's home, even if that dojo is on the same property as one's home? I should say that although training in such a dojo would be available to my students, I am not thinking of a dojo on the property as a major commercial venture (zoning would prohibit that anyway).

Thanks in advance!

Erik