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David Maidment 07-10-2010 02:00 PM

Building a Basic Training Area
I have a fairly long garden, which several months ago I decided I wanted to use for light training. I had a small area of decking outside by back door, but a 3m x 3m square with rails isn't really enough room to swing an uke in.

At the very end of my garden I had a shed, a solidified half-full bag of cement, weeds and several piles of ash from where I had enjoyed burning the various junk that comes through my letterbox.

What I would like to share with everyone on AikiWeb is the first stage of a training area which I (along with copious help from my dad and brother) have spent the last two days putting up. Pictures at the bottom of this post, but first I would like to outline my overall plan.

Basically I have covered an area somewhere in the region of 3.5m x 6-7m with decking. This is what has been achieved over the last couple of days. I have a makeshift shomen/kamidana that consists of a dead bonsai tree and a picture of O-Sensei (one of my next tasks will be to make something a touch more tasteful and permanent).

After fixing up the shomen, I have two options, which I may end up combining into one course of action. The first is to blow a fortune on puzzlemats to Aikido-proof the area (currently it is only fit for Iaido practise or Aikido without any ukemi). Storage of the mats when not in use may be an issue, as I will need to clear the area for other uses on nice sunny days. I have a couple of pet turtles that will love roaming about out there. The second option is to construct some kind of semi-permanent structure around the area. This could be either in the form of a waterproof material suspended from above (or alternately a store-bought tent or gazebo), or maybe something made of wood. When the Winter comes it will be nice to be able to continue using the space for training.

But that is for another week or month altogether. For now I have the following:

Mikemac 07-10-2010 03:07 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Ok seriously..YOU ROCK!!! I really envy that training area.

To address the mat storage issue, have you thought of having a tarp that can be laid over the mat to protect it from the elements? You could rig it to be tied or secured down to the sides.

Randy Sexton 07-11-2010 08:22 AM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Shows what you can do with desire and some hard work. It seems like it will be a cool place to practice. Keep us posted with pictures as you finish the project.
May I suggest instead of a dead plant consider a nice vase and a single or small group of live flowers that may be readily available in your or a neighbor's yard (with their blessing of course). It gives a simple clean elegant touch (and cheap).
Doc Randy

Benjamin Mehner 07-11-2010 10:18 AM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Truly beautiful. I am jealous.

Gorgeous George 07-11-2010 07:03 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
This looks excellent - there's even plenty of room for ukemi (with two people training, anyway), by the looks of it.

Best of luck with it. :-)

Shannon Frye 07-11-2010 08:31 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Wow - you've created a very nice space!

Daniel Coutts-Smith 07-11-2010 11:17 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
I hope you don't fall through that decking doing a break-fall! Plenty of support beams i hope?
I wish my back yard wasn't at a 45 degree slope so i could train at home...

donplummer 07-12-2010 03:00 AM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Looks great from here. A suggestion on mats, there is a product originally produced for insulating houses which is fairly resistant to the elements and very forgiving for Ukemi. It is called Min-cell foam, comes in various sizes. It is a rubberized product and works well either covered or not. I am a 400lb Aikidoka and it holds up to me being chucked onto it very well, and is fairly firm. From what I remember it is fairly economical as well. Hope this helps.:freaky:

lbb 07-12-2010 06:27 AM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Awesome space, although to be honest, I think I'd rather relax in it than train!

David Maidment 07-14-2010 04:22 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
A quick update:

I've now put some puzzle mats down. I looked into lots of different materials, but standard EVA mats ended up being the best for my budget. I bought eighteen 1m^2 mats and asked for them to be delivered to my place of work. I figured they would fit into the back of a car. This is what turned up, on a pallet:

Oh dear. Luckily my boss has a van and his son was kind enough to ferry them to my house after work. Here's them all assembled in place:

Next up I need to maybe cover them with a PVC or similar sheet and frame the whole lot (after I got them home I realised that storing them when not in use would not be an option, given the sheer size).

All brilliant fun :)

kironin 07-14-2010 10:17 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Looks great!

I just wonder how that's going to weather, some protective cover that you could remove for practice I guess.

I would have gone for Dollamur Flexi-Mats

Shannon Frye 07-15-2010 11:53 AM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
OMG! Those are some thick mats! Mind sharing what company you used, and how much they cost?

Janet Rosen 07-15-2010 12:49 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Oh my. Anytime you want to come to California & build me one ... :-)

Keith Larman 07-15-2010 01:16 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Wow, that is inspirational. Maybe it is time to get off my duff and convert that area in our back yard that is mostly just a weed factory. I've long thought of making a deck area where I could polish on nice days or clean up and use as a small training area. Hmmmm....

David Maidment 07-16-2010 10:43 AM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area

Shannon Frye wrote: (Post 261340)
OMG! Those are some thick mats! Mind sharing what company you used, and how much they cost?

I used Cannons UK. The mats were 18.50 (ex. VAT) each. I checked out a few companies and ended up on eBay where I found these. Then I googled the brand and found them slightly cheaper on the manufacturer's website.

Next up (hopefully arriving tomorrow): a big section of tarpaulin to either cover the mat directly or to construct a temporary roof while this wonderful English weather persists.

Anita Dacanay 07-17-2010 05:22 AM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Wow! Great job, David!

ninjaqutie 07-18-2010 10:53 PM

Re: Building a Basic Training Area
Looking better and better!

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