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11-26-2002, 03:02 PM
Hi all:

i was wondering if anyone has some information on how to build a wooden floor over concrete, since our dojo is moving. i heard there were some plans some years back in some aikido journals, so maybe one of you remembers.

thanks and greetings from alaska,


Mike Collins
11-26-2002, 03:12 PM
Do you want to build a proper wooden floor surface or a substrate for mats like Swain or Zebra mats? I can tell you how to fasten wood stringers to the concrete and put a plywood surface on that, but that's quite different from building an actual (particularly if you mean sprung) floor.

11-26-2002, 03:24 PM

we would like to build a "springy" floor, which then would be covered by mats. e.g. i heard about using car tires under a framed floor.

i was thinking of building a basic wooden floor like you suggested consisting of joists and plywood on top. and i am interested in hearing if there are ideas out to make it more shock absorbent.


11-26-2002, 03:47 PM
I helped with the mat construction of my old dojo, and it was done with 2 x 4's laid on edge as a basic frame structure, topped by flat hosing, and then covered with large plywood sheeting. On top of that, mats were laid and a canvas was installed over top.

My dojo has a very cheap solution on top of concrete which seems to work well: that is heavy duty carpet padding with the tatami mats laid directly on top. I am having a problem with mat shifting, but think I can elimate that with some wood framing on the outside, in which to encase the mats. Might be worth checking into depending on your budget.



11-26-2002, 04:33 PM
Try http://www.judoamerica.com/helpforclubs/springmat/ for some ideas on construction and some interesting photos.

I do remember talking to a gent who wanted to 'spring' his subfloor with the air bags used on large trucks and have them rigged to a compressor to adjust the dampening for air pressure changes and fun. Not sure if it ever became real but I do like the idea.

11-26-2002, 04:35 PM
that sure sounds like fun. good timing on the compressor switch will make ukes jump up from ukemi in no time....

thanks for the link :)


Kevin Wilbanks
11-26-2002, 05:20 PM
I don't have details, but at my old dojo, bicycle tires were used under plywood, inside a frame, then closed foam over that, then canvas.

After travelling around a bit, I'm beginning to think the canvas top has had its day. It's a nice surface, but it soaks up smells, which have to be periodically removed via spraying with an enzyme product (and letting it dry for a couple of days with no classes). My nose tells me that most dojo don't keep up with or know about this maintenance - often the people who train there day in and out get desensitized, but visitors will be nearly knocked out. Not to mention stains, seam wear, etc... Also, the grommets and laces around the edge are an unnecessary hazard, and discourage disassembly for maintenance or repair.

I think the green/yellow synthetic tatami over plywood on top of tires inside a frame is probably best. I would try to figure out a way flexibly join the plywood pieces to one another and to the edge, so that they semi-'floated' on top of the bike tires, or maybe solidly connected with each other, but flexibly to the edge... perhaps a system of joints using rubber or plastic straps. I would be looking for a surface that seemed fairly inflexible until hit hard.

11-27-2002, 08:26 PM
We have a frame with car tires in it, plywood on top of that, thick carpet pad, then Swain mats. Before that we had the carpet pad & mats that Rachel mentioned. I actually like the old system better. The new one with the tires doesn't give an even surface. We have little dips and raises, presumably where the plywood meets....but the judo guys like it :D


Hey Rachel, what was the purpose of the flat hosing in the floor? I can't quite envision it :confused:

11-28-2002, 08:38 AM
Hey Bronson,

The flat hosing is that type that you use for a sprinkler. It gives a bit of bounce to the flooring when it's down, acts kind of as a cushion. The mat system at that dojo is extremely comfortable. Its hard enough, but soft enough. I like the tatami on the mat system, but have to frame it still so that the tatami don't come apart. So far, I find tatami the most natural to train on, although suwari waza is hard (but then again, so are my knees and toes).

take care,