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Old 07-06-2006, 08:17 AM   #1
jimbaker
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk/ Aikido Society of Memphis
Location: Norfolk, VA
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Zebra mats over carpet?

Does anyone use Zebra mats over a layer of padded carpet? The floor would be: concrete; carpet padding; industrial carpet; 1/4 inch foam underlayment; zebra mat.

The other option is to leave the carpet in place and build a floating floor on top.

Jim Baker

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:22 AM   #2
John Boswell
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

Is your question regarding the softness of the mat on carpet vs. concrete?

Zebra mats are durable and great for rolling with or without carpet or padding or anything.

I've been in dojos with zebra-like mats laid on concrete and they were fine. My dojo has padding laid out over concrete with a tarp cover and it is sufficent.

My advice would be: take whatever floor you have and use it. Make sure that it is cleaned throughly and has a good surface with nothing penetrating through (carpet tacks?) and just go for it. Carpet, Vinal, Concrete... I wouldn't worry too much.

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Old 07-06-2006, 08:50 AM   #3
Chuck Clark
 
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

Hi Jim,

Our Zebra sport tatami have been on concrete for almost 6 years now and are fine. The sport tatami that I have experienced on padding always seems uncomfortable to me. When you step near an edge it has a tendency to create an uneveness that can stub toes, etc. I know of two people that have broken toes due to this. The sport tatami work best on a surface that absorbs shock without throwing much of it back. My next dojo will be designed that way. Hopefully we can build it in within a couple of years.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:47 AM   #4
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

Our Zebras are on those jigsaw karate mats and are fine. I know what Sensei Clark is saying about the unevenness but ours feels ok to me although I agree with him about the bounce back. Our other dojo had the Zebras on a thin indoor out door carpet and that was fine although what we have now does make things slightly softer. You may also consider Swain mats. My experience has been that if they are moved a lot, the Zebras get bubbles and vinyl separation while the Swains do not.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:13 PM   #5
Chuck Clark
 
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

When moving any tatami or modern sport tatami substitute you have to be very careful about the way you carry it, etc. It should always be moved perpindicular to the floor instead of flat. Zebra mats are constructed with the covering glued to the foam. If carried or stacked wrong the covering can be broken away from the foam which causes the bubbles. They should be flat and not bent. Traditional tatami should be handled in the same way.

I can't imagine how much I would dislike working on sport tatami on top of jigsaw foam mats... Ughh! (as I saw described on another site) Excessively soft mats create many problems for budo practice. I was on a very soft foam mat with a canvas cover for a weekend in Houston recently and my knees and lower back are still talking back to me. My advice is the firmer the better as long as it absorbs shock appropriately.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:10 PM   #6
jimbaker
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk/ Aikido Society of Memphis
Location: Norfolk, VA
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

As my Wendy says, it's a matter of age!

We currently have a Zebra mat with a foam underlayment on concrete and we're feeling the impact.

Since we're moving to another building, we were going to build a floating floor, ala http://www.judoinfo.com/tatami.htm but there is already a padded wall to wall carpet on the floor. So we're wondering if the floating floor will make enough of a difference in impact absorption on older bones to warrent the cost.

We have the money, half of the mats and a large carpeted space. What would your dream mat be?

JIM

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:22 PM   #7
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

We have a floating floor built over tires and I hate it. It is very uneven. Unfortunately the judo class likes it and since they put up the money and labor to build it we'll keep it. There are rumblings of a new design (I think they're thinking of the one at the link above) to get rid of the unevenness (is that a word?). I can't wait.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 07-06-2006, 03:28 PM   #8
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
When moving any tatami or modern sport tatami substitute you have to be very careful about the way you carry it, etc. It should always be moved perpindicular to the floor instead of flat. Zebra mats are constructed with the covering glued to the foam. If carried or stacked wrong the covering can be broken away from the foam which causes the bubbles. They should be flat and not bent. Traditional tatami should be handled in the same way.

I can't imagine how much I would dislike working on sport tatami on top of jigsaw foam mats... Ughh! (as I saw described on another site) Excessively soft mats create many problems for budo practice. I was on a very soft foam mat with a canvas cover for a weekend in Houston recently and my knees and lower back are still talking back to me. My advice is the firmer the better as long as it absorbs shock appropriately.

Best regards,
Just so you will know, the jigsaw mats underneath aren't my idea but the karate guys we train with just couldn't part with them being there. It does make things softer but I personally don't need them. As for Jim Baker, his bad back is legendary so I suspect he would like the feeling of our current mat. I train on the zebras on a gym floor and the Zebras on the jigsaws and the latter does feel better. Too soft is no good and can be dangerous. I have trained on that as well. We used to have a thick foam mat on concrete and that was dangerous. It was unstable and if you hit wrong, you went all the way to the floor through the foam. Our guys though have learned to take ukemi on everything including the gym floor (not too much though!)
We were recently in a seminar in Mexico where they had what appeared to be some carpet padding with a vinyl mat over it and it was paper thin. We did our regular break falls and everyone came out OK but very bruised when it was over.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:28 PM   #9
Michael Young
 
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Dojo: Alamo City Aikido
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

We use the Zebra mats placed directly over "contract carpeting" (it was in place when we moved into the space). There is no padding under the carpet, it is glued directly to the concrete. Our mats have a wooden border bolted to the floor holding them in. The surface is just fine for rolling and break falls, no extra padding is needed.
We did have a problem after a few months with the mats over the carpet though. The mats tend to compact together after a while. The rubberized non-slip surface on the underside of the mats grip the carpet so strongly that the mats cannot uncompress. This caused gaps to develop over time, especially between the mats and the wood frame. The problem was solved by taking up the mats and taping thick black plastic down creating a slicker surface. The mats can now expand and contract as needed, solving the issue.
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:02 AM   #10
Olaf
Dojo: Aikido Dojo Rodgau
Location: Rodgau
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 26
Germany
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Re: Zebra mats over carpet?

Hi all,
We did have Zebra-like mats over carpet, and I did not like it for the same reasons Chuck Clark Sensei is mentioning.
We started out in the new dojo with the mats directly on the (tiled) concrete... but this just does not absorb enough of the falls energy. Last year we put 1-inch soft faom on the concrete (full area) and put on top of that a floating plywood cover. Plus the mats on top of that. The result is that you have a firm and stable stance and no toes/knee problems when moving (our mats are quite hard), but if you fall the floating floor will dent in on a larger area and absorb the energy. You can see the floor moving down a bit when you watch somebody walk by... without a springy feeling. Perfect in my view (although the mats could be a tiny bit softer, but that they will become with the years to come).
Olaf

Olaf Schubert
Aikido Dojo Rodgau
www.aikido-dojo-rodgau.de
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