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Old 06-22-2009, 04:24 PM   #1
Taj Mikel
Dojo: Aikido Institute of New Mexico
Location: Albuquerque
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 20
United_States
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Lightbulb Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

Hey everyone,

My room mate and I began training Aikido about two months ago, and are looking for a way to practice a bit while at home. We have a park nearby, but it's basically condensed dirt (red clay) and may as well be a sidewalk

I've noticed that a few places online sell "jigsaw" mats for use, and we were thinking about getting a few of those and plugging them all together in our back yard (atop a tarp maybe, as back yard is rocks). I'm just curious, do any of you have experience with these jigsaw mats, and are they good for Aikido training? I mainly just want to make sure that they hold up fairly well, can be taken down/set up relatively quickly, and will actually provide some sort of cushion for Aikido based techniques. Any thoughts/opinions would be greatly appreciated, and thanks much for your time!

Also, I have been looking at getting a bokken for solo, as well as dojo practice. Online it seems there are an infinite number of sources for bokken. Some seem extremely cheap, along the lines of 5-10 dollars, but then some seem fairly expensive by comparison, ranging from 50 to 100 dollars. What are y'alls thoughts on bokken and quality vs. price?

Thanks again guys!

-Ty A. Knight
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:03 PM   #2
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,741
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Re: Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

The jigsaw mats that I've seen are for floor protection, not for people protection. They're a cheap temporary way of protecting floors in high traffic area -- they've got good scuff protection but no padding to speak of. Maybe you're speaking of a different type.

A $5 bokken is probably an expensive piece of firewood, but a much more expensive bokken is not necessarily any better -- there's a lot of crap weapons out there being sold to the wanker market. White oak is my preferred material -- I have a white oak bokken that I have had since...err....about 1992, I think. Some folks like exotic woods, but I'd stick to white oak and not pay a premium price for something that may be just a vanity piece, or whose difference from another wood is going to be too subtle for you to appreciate. Get a basic bokken, avoid anything stylized.

As for where to buy it, you might ask your sensei where he/she gets bokken. If that doesn't lead you anywhere, I'd say stay away from any website with "combat", "karate", "blackbelt" etc. in its site name. I haven't had any dealings with Bugei (http://www.bugei.com/category_23.htm) but they seem to be on the up and up. Bujin, for some reason, seems to only have hickory and "Brazilian cherry" (yay exotic hardwoods, let's kill that rainforest!).
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
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Re: Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

Here is what you need for mats. I have two 5 X 10 flexrolls. It is my portable dojo. Run you about $500 bucks. You can carry them. They fit perfectly in my station wagon and can be set up fast and rolled up as well. good quality and have tatami surface as well.

http://www.dollamur.com/martial_arts.htm

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Old 06-22-2009, 09:07 PM   #4
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,119
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Re: Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

Quote:
Ty Knight wrote: View Post
I've noticed that a few places online sell "jigsaw" mats for use, and we were thinking about getting a few of those and plugging them all together in our back yard (atop a tarp maybe, as back yard is rocks). I'm just curious, do any of you have experience with these jigsaw mats, and are they good for Aikido training? I mainly just want to make sure that they hold up fairly well, can be taken down/set up relatively quickly, and will actually provide some sort of cushion for Aikido based techniques. Any thoughts/opinions would be greatly appreciated, and thanks much for your time!
At my church we have puzzle mats that the Martial Arts Club used for Aikido. They are 40" x 40" and 1 5/8" thick. Similar to these. http://www.greatmats.com/products/ma...-mats-judo.php

They were quick and easy to put down and take up.

For practice we would take them out of storage closet and assembly them. After practice we would then have to take them up and put them away. Very portable.

The floor they laid on was concrete with a thin worn out carpet with no pad under the carpet. They were firm and comfortable. My son and I took many a hard fall on them with no problem.

I would recommend them for your purpose.

David
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:08 AM   #5
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Here is what you need for mats. I have two 5 X 10 flexrolls. It is my portable dojo. Run you about $500 bucks. You can carry them. They fit perfectly in my station wagon and can be set up fast and rolled up as well. good quality and have tatami surface as well.

http://www.dollamur.com/martial_arts.htm
<drool>
Thanks Kevin!
As a guy who pack's his 'dojo' around in the back of his mini-van I can appreciate those.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:22 AM   #6
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 393
United Kingdom
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Re: Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

Hi Ty,

We train on jig-mats at Tuesday class in a church hall. (Friday class at the sports centre we have tatami and a canvas).

They're pretty good, have lasted many years (we got them 2nd hand) and the only problem has been that if you don't take them up carefully the little 'bobbles' along the edges can tear off.. we just keep ours in a bag and plug them in the gaps!

Also, decide carefully if you have a colour choice, as these mats are not brilliantly colour-fast and may stain your feet or clothing, so go for something lighter coloured if you can

Ruth
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:47 PM   #7
Shannon Frye
Dojo: Aikido Fellowship of VA / Chesapeake Va
Location: Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 181
United_States
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Re: Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

Mats: I run 2 dojos (both at churches), and purchased 1inch jigsaw mats from GETRUNG.com Love these mats! Price includes shipping, and I'd recommend buying the "storage bag" with them - storage or transport SO much easier. I'd recommend the blue or black ones.

Bokken: If you're not looking to whack it with another bokken, a cheapy one is fine. Personally, I'm interested in technique over how good I look with an expensive bokken.

Good luck with your decision..

Shannon

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:16 PM   #8
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Germany
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Re: Thoughts on Creating a Training Mat?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
<drool>
Thanks Kevin!
As a guy who pack's his 'dojo' around in the back of his mini-van I can appreciate those.
They really are the nicest thing I have used outside of actual tatami! Not the best for repetitive full judo throws, but good enough for aikido and BJJ for sure.

Based on my schedule and how I have to do things, my "dojo" has to be portable. Have mats....will travel! You can train BJJ comfortably with 4 persons. Aikido, well probably better with just two at a time.

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