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Old 04-01-2008, 12:13 AM   #1
carlo pagal
Dojo: iloilo aikido dojo
Location: iloilo city
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 30
Philippines
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whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

we're planning to buy mats for our gym(used or new). what brand or type of mat do you think should we get? and is it available here in the philippines? thanks in advance!
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:37 AM   #2
wideawakedreamer
 
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Dojo: Bu Yuu Kan dojo
Location: Davao City
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

We use the puzzle-type mats that are used in taekwondo tournaments.

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Old 04-01-2008, 08:29 PM   #3
Eric Webber
Dojo: Aikido West Reading
Location: Reading, Pa
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 261
United_States
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

I like Swain or Zebra mats which are very easy on the kness and the breakfalls, but can be little tough on the wallet depending on your bank account. I know you can pick them up used, but not sure about shipping rates. There are also roll up mats which are now available, they are supporsed to be more reasonaby priced, not sure of the exact dollar damage. You may want to check e-bay for possibility used mats.
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:24 PM   #4
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

I like the gymnastic mats.

I looked beneath the carpet on one in Titusville, where I visited for a seminar recently, and it had springs on the floor, plywood on that, four layers of foam (about 2-3"), and the carpet.

The falls are very soft without the knee twisting stuff you get with the roll-out wrestling mats and firm without being hard. Great stuff.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:28 PM   #5
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote: View Post
I looked beneath the carpet on one in Titusville, where I visited for a seminar recently, and it had springs on the floor, plywood on that, four layers of foam (about 2-3"), and the carpet.
Last year we had our annual camp at a University and part of the training was in the gymnastics room. I loved it at first especially with falls. But after about halfway through the second day my knees *really* started to hurt.

At the dojo I practice in a few times a week we've got a raised plywood floor (i.e., a frame with reinforcing 2x4's running a grid with plywood on top to lift it off the concrete floor) with 1" thick zebra mats on top. I can train for days in a row without my knees hurting (assuming I don't do something stupid).

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Old 04-01-2008, 10:16 PM   #6
dragonteeth
Dojo: Elkton Ki-Aikido
Location: Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 108
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

I second the idea for gymnastic mats. They're firm enough to allow easy natural movement over them, but make a great cushion for ukemi and seiza. Depending on the covering, they can give nasty little mat burns on the feet until you get calluses in the right place. They can also catch toes in the cracks if you don't put them down right. That said, they are very easy to transport, store, and clean.

The rubber tatami are fun to fall on, but I really hate trying to pivot on them. My toes seem to want to stick, and since I've had knee reconstruction, that makes me a little nervous. While there wasn't a big enough sample to be statistically significant, I think Janet Rosen found a fairly high frequency of knee injuries in schools that use the artificial tatami.

The gymnastic mats may start to rip over time with certain types of covering material. The Pro-Force mats at my last dojo started to tear along the corner edges of the sections after less than two years. However, the Tifflin mats I purchased used for personal use from another dojo look like they have never seen a workout even though they've been in service for years.

Honestly, though, the most enjoyable mats I've ever landed on are the ones at the dojo where I train now. Our sensei was a sailmaker in an earlier career, and made this silky smooth sailcloth covering for the mat surface. It's tied down every 6 inches or so around the perimeter to a beautifully stained wooden frame keeping it nicely taut with just the right amount of give. I have yet to get a mat burn on it, and the cool smoothness of it under my feet is rather sumptuous in the morning.
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:21 PM   #7
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 777
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

The puzzle mats provide little protection for breakfalls; you can do front rolls and back rolls, but if you have to land with real impact, as in koshi nage etc, then the mats wont keep you from feeling just how hard the floor is underneath the mats. We avoid puzzle mats like the plague; we make our own mats out of a special kind of insulating foam.
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:19 AM   #8
carlo pagal
Dojo: iloilo aikido dojo
Location: iloilo city
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 30
Philippines
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

we breakfall a lot in the gym. we've tried 1in thick compact foam before but its too soft. puzzle mats do have little protection for breakfalls. you'll get used to it eventually, but it'll be hard for beginners. a friend suggested to put cartons between the rubber mats and the floor. i hope it works. i think puzzle mats will be the best choice for now. we'll just try to put cartons underneath it. we're on a tight budget. i hope you can help us look for affordable new or used puzzle mats here. thank you for your replies!
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:22 AM   #9
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Philippines
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

The kind of foam ordinarily used in the Phil. for aikido mats is too soft, I agree. so we use 2-inch thick portions of a denser, firmer kind. Do you have cement or wood flooring undeneath the mats? Let us know if the experiment with cartons works.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:30 AM   #10
ChrisMoses
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

Zebra sells bulk foam if you wanted a different surface.

Personally I really like the Zebra mats. Good surface that doesn't get squishy and wreck your knees. Takes enough of the impact out. If you can float a wood floor underneath, that's ideal too.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
TNBBC Blog
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:19 PM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

Quote:
Carlo Paul Pagal wrote: View Post
we're planning to buy mats for our gym(used or new). what brand or type of mat do you think should we get? and is it available here in the philippines? thanks in advance!
If you do not need to move them, ground up tires rae by far the cheapest mat you can do. You could do about 1000 sq ft mat for under $2000 total including cover.

There are companies that grind up tires as part of recycling. You can get them to clean it and also take out the pieces with steel belt in them. They will grind the stuff as fine as you want; we used 1/4 inch pieces on our mat.

You put a 2x4 frame down on the floor, cover it with heavy plastic, fill it with the ground up tire, tamp it down until the rubber is just about even with the 2x4 (on it's side). Then you seal it completely in the plastic. We found we needed to put an additional heavier plastic tarp over the whole thing to keep the plastic enclosing the rubber granules from fatiguing too much. Cover the whole thing with the cover of your choice and you are good to go.

Unlike foam, it is both cheaper, and it never wears out, ever. Every once in a while you have to go under the cover and replace portions of the plastic which have gotten brittle and split. But that's only every few years.

Once people have trained on it for a time it is quite firm. Unlike foam, which compresses but then tries to return to it's original dimension, thereby actually putting some of the energy of a fall back into the trainee, granules dissipate the force outward with no rebound at all. Our mat is 20 years old next year and it is going strong.

The only draw back is if you ever have to move. The rubber was delivered on pallets in bags. If we ever had to move, I am not sure how we would go about packing it all up again. But if you are going to stay in one place for a very long time, it's a great surface.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:22 PM   #12
mriehle
 
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Dojo: New School Aikido
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

These are a few of the alternatives I've uncovered over time: (note the URL links in the following list)
  • Flexi-Roll Martial Arts Mats - I've used the gymnastics Flexi-Roll mats and found them quite acceptable, even on a concrete floor. The gymnastics mats have a carpeted surface which can lead to rug burn.
  • Foam Rolls combined with a canvas cover. - Use a wooden frame and attach the canvas with grommets, rope and holes in the frame. Makes for a very nice mat. The guys at Custom Canvas will help you out with the canvas.
  • Great Mats Grappling Mats - I have a set of their premium martial arts mats and they're okay. But I got a sample of the grappling mats and I think it would be much better.
  • Zebra Mats - I've trained on these and I find them acceptable, not as great as some here. They're pretty expensive.

FWIW: The next time I build a mat, I'm likely to go either with the Great Mats grappling or the Zebra Mats.

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Old 04-02-2008, 01:39 PM   #13
MikeE
 
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Dojo: Midwest Center For Movement & Aikido Bukou Dojos
Location: Hudson, WI
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

Our main mat (1800 sq ft) is all Zebra Mats. It was very expensive, but the cost was broken into 3 increments as the dojo grew and we upgrade to new buildings. I can't say enough for the quality.

We also have a second mat area (600 sq ft) with the Dollamur flexi roll mats. These are nice because we have aerobics flooring underneath them. They are very easy to move and roll up out of the way when its time for group fitness classes. A great choice if you have to move your mats often.

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
Dojos
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Old 04-02-2008, 03:53 PM   #14
thomas.martinez
Dojo: Motobu Udun Te Hombu, Okinawa
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 13
Japan
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Ai symbol Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

Economical. Perhaps, may I suggest dry straw tatami mats.
If you can you find a used good condition real Japanese tatami mats, sponge type foams (like from sofas and beds), and 2x4 woods? The cost would probably be from Japanese tatami mats.
If you have wooden floors in your dojo is good. Next, breakdown sponge type foams evenly across your "training floor" where the sponges can hold your tatami mats up on its own--when you step on the tatami mats, it should sink firmly and evenly. The 2x4 comes in to hold the tatami mats firmly together.
The downside is cleaning the mats with damp cloth periodically, because your dealing with real dry straw hay interwoven into mats.
Whichever works for your Aikido dojo...rubber mats is good too. You have already received many advices from experts.
Best of Luck.

Thomas
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:49 AM   #15
Shany
 
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Dojo: ISTA
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Israel
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

as long as you can slide on the mat, it is a good mat by me!!

the mat in our dojo the mat is puzzle one with high surface friction that makes your palm warm up untill it burns! i hate it hehehe

one of my fingers got injured by it
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:18 AM   #16
carlo pagal
Dojo: iloilo aikido dojo
Location: iloilo city
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 30
Philippines
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

we'll be using it on cement flooring. we,ve been using rubber dust or ground up tires since we started and for me its the best. we just need temporary mats for now. do u have any idea on where we can buy affordable rubber puzzle mats? thank you!
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:55 AM   #17
dalen7
 
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Dojo: Karcag Aikido Club
Location: Karcag
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Re: whats the best rubber mat for aikido practice?

Quote:
Carlo Paul Pagal wrote: View Post
we'll be using it on cement flooring. we,ve been using rubber dust or ground up tires since we started and for me its the best. we just need temporary mats for now. do u have any idea on where we can buy affordable rubber puzzle mats? thank you!
Tesco has puzzle mats...nothing fancy and probably wont last long...but hey they are puzzle mats.

Peace

dAlen
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