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Old 04-14-2004, 09:14 AM   #1
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 152
Dojo Floor Construction

I am looking for construction plans for a dojo floor. The building will not sit on a concrete slab. It will be a post/beam construction raised off the ground.
The mats that will eventually be used are tatami-like mats...such as Swain or Zebra.

The actual mat size will be about 16x20 feet.

I am hoping to avoid issues others have had by getting the info before I make a mistake!!!

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Old 04-14-2004, 10:14 AM   #2
p00kiethebear's Avatar
Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 374
Our dojo,

We have a hardwood bamboo floor initially.

On top of this (in the mat area) we have a "spring" floor constructed of soft cuddly foam similar to that used in a gymnastics floor. On top of this we have a layer of plywood (1/2 or 1 inch, can't remember) and then finally, our mats sit on top of the plywood. the whole practice area is raised about 2 or 3 inches from the entry-way floor and we have a border around the mats in some areas (2 x 4's maybe?)to try to keep the mats from moving too much.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:03 AM   #3
Location: West Yorks and Merseyside, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 170
United Kingdom
I think someone on these forums mentioned using car tyres under the floor
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Old 04-16-2004, 10:51 AM   #4
John Boswell
John Boswell's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
To the best of my knowledge, the flooring we work on is concrete. Over that, they layed stips of 2" by 2" and nailed that to the concrete. These were spaced 2 to 3(?) feet apart so that the 3/8" plywood on top would have some give. Next, 2" of a nice spongy foam was put down and a commercial grade carpet on top of that.

It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it's easy on the uke and durable.

Just a thought: I wonder if Zebra Mats would have any recommendations of their own on what to build under their mats?? Might e-mail them and ask.

Have a good one and good luck!

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Old 04-16-2004, 11:33 AM   #5
Location: New York
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 164
Several references on dojo floor construction can be found in this thread. Hope this helps.

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Old 04-16-2004, 11:54 AM   #6
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 152
Thanks for the ideas....

Happy weekend to all
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:02 PM   #7
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Two designs I've experienced, both seem to be good:

Our dojo has a layer of car tires supporting a grid of 2x4s. These are covered with plywood, a thin tarp, and then vinyl-covered tatami mats. This floor is hard but very springy--it practically tosses you back to your feet after a fall. It's challenging for beginners, though, and we add portable gym mats when we're teaching forward rolls to newcomers.

Another Seattle dojo has a plastic-lined box filled with tire dust and covered with tightly stretched canvas. This is much softer, but not as springy. They have to rake the tire dust periodically to keep it level and flat. I found it very comfortable to roll on, but by the end of each evening I was missing the spring effect.

Both of these floors are quite heavy and require some attention to your building's structural capacity.

If you use tatami, be sure to cinch them securely into their framework as gaps between them are very bad. During the last stages of our move one of our mat's four sides was unsecured, and every evening horrid gaps would appear between the tatami, just waiting to swallow a toe.

We sweep and hand-mop our tatami floor every night. The owners of the tire dust/canvas mat vacuum it, which certainly seems easier.

Good luck with the new dojo!

Mary Kaye
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