Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-25-2010, 08:38 PM   #1
Brian Gillaspie
 
Brian Gillaspie's Avatar
Dojo: School of Martial and Meditative Arts
Location: Topeka, KS
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 72
United_States
Offline
Puzzle Mats

I'm thinking about buying some puzzle mats but not sure what thickness to get. So far I've seen 1/2 inch, 7/8 inch, 1 inch, and 1 5/8 inch thick options.

If you have experience with training on puzzle mats please let me what thickness you think is suitable for aikido. There's a pretty big price difference between the 1 inch and the 1 5/8 inch but I don't want to go cheap if it could lead to injuries.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2010, 10:07 PM   #2
Adam Huss
 
Adam Huss's Avatar
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 611
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Have you worked on these types of mats before? I was otomo to my teacher at a large seminar in Toronto and they had 1inch puzzle mats on some of the session areas we worked. They are not very forgiving. I have rather soft jumping break falls and I could sometimes 'feel' the concrete underneath. Additionally, I noticed that sweaty feet on the puzzle mats used at the seminar made a kind of hydroplane effect that would be detrimental to kata, kumibuki, and vigorous toshuwaza during a robust class.

The brand you are looking into may not have these problems, though, just giving you my one-time experience.

*Actually, an inch seems a little big for those puzzle mats, but its been five years so I'm not sure. I definitely remember the hydroplaning though.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 08:21 AM   #3
Brian Gillaspie
 
Brian Gillaspie's Avatar
Dojo: School of Martial and Meditative Arts
Location: Topeka, KS
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 72
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Thanks for you input. I have never trained on them. I'm just looking for a relative cheap set of mats but I'm just not sure if puzzle mats are a good way to go.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 08:32 AM   #4
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,504
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Quote:
Brian Gillaspie wrote: View Post
Thanks for you input. I have never trained on them. I'm just looking for a relative cheap set of mats but I'm just not sure if puzzle mats are a good way to go.
Look for sheets of 2" thick "ethafoam". I understand it's used as insulation on the outside of buried walls, as for a basement. Mine came in sheets about 4' X 8' or 10'. Very, very nice surface for falls and firm and not too bouncy for any kind of stand-up work. I covered mine with a large plasticized tarp, which was not too slick and was easy to clean. Best mats I ever worked on.

Good luck.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 09:30 AM   #5
L. Camejo
 
L. Camejo's Avatar
Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Canada
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

We trained on 1 inch thick eva foam puzzle mats for about 8 years on a variety of surfaces including concrete. They were generally unforgiving and one needed to have good ukemi for training on concrete. Imho 1-inch was ok for most Aikido type falls where one was thrown across the surface but would be dangerous for Judo-type hip and shoulder throws where one is projected straight down from a height.

I want to get some puzzle mats myself. Since we do Aikido and Jujutsu I'm getting the 1 5/8 ones. Puzzle mats are great when one wants to do demos at different locations as well - very portable.

My 2 cents.

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 10:43 AM   #6
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,119
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Quote:
Brian Gillaspie wrote: View Post
I'm thinking about buying some puzzle mats but not sure what thickness to get. So far I've seen 1/2 inch, 7/8 inch, 1 inch, and 1 5/8 inch thick options.

If you have experience with training on puzzle mats please let me what thickness you think is suitable for aikido. There's a pretty big price difference between the 1 inch and the 1 5/8 inch but I don't want to go cheap if it could lead to injuries.
I have trained on various types of mats and have found the 1 5/8 puzzle mats ( like these but not an endorsement for this company http://www.greatmats.com/products/ma...-mats-judo.php) to be best. Easy to pick up and place down, firm for walking on and great for rolls and breakfalls. The last place I used them was on top of a concrete floor. I took hundreds of breakfalls on them with no problem.

David

David

Last edited by dps : 06-26-2010 at 10:45 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 06:08 PM   #7
nekobaka
Dojo: Washinkai (Kizu)
Location: Osaka
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 123
Japan
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

the thinner mats can come apart easier too. I trained on them for several years, and had a foot caught in the mat on occasion. thicker the better, probably last longer anyway, the sticking out part got ripped off of some of them.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 06:25 PM   #8
Rabih Shanshiry
 
Rabih Shanshiry's Avatar
Location: Boston/MA
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 197
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Go with the thicker 1 5/8" mats. 1" is generally OK for aikidoka already who are already comfortable with rolls. If you're doing jump breakfalls, it can be rough. For beginners, the 1" mats can be very intimidating and it will slow down their development. Yout dojo will be better off making the investment in the better mats.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2010, 09:40 AM   #9
John Matsushima
 
John Matsushima's Avatar
Location: Miura, Japan
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 226
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

I don't like puzzle mats. Some of the mats get squished down more than others resulting in an uneven surface. It is hard to get them to match up perfectly. In aikido, since we often slide our feet, it is important to have a smooth surface. Got my pinky toe caught in a ridge once. ouch.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2010, 07:48 PM   #10
Adam Huss
 
Adam Huss's Avatar
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 611
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

John, my dojo used to have those super thick brand mats (the blue ones) that connect via velcro on their underside flaps. My teacher was doing kata and his toe got caught in between the seems and broke his toe quite badly. Since we moved and refurnished our dojo location we now use more traditional style tatmi, which are perfect. Not sure of their cost variance when compared to puzzles though.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2010, 07:50 AM   #11
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 393
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

We train on a set of puzzle (jig) mats at Tuesday class, and I dislike them!

Firstly they are black and they dye the soles of our feet. They are also rather ancient (we got them 2nd hand about 10 years ago) and disintegrating rather badly - I find bits of them trapped under my toenails after class and have to spend ages trying to get the bits out

A lot of the knobbly bits have come away from the sides, leaving gaps that have to be plugged - we keep a bag of these 'bits' specifically for this reason. During training they frequently dislodge and we have to put them back straightaway in order to avoid toe-breaking gaps.

Our mats are only about 1" thick (if that) and I'm glad we put them on a wooden floor - anything else would be very unforgiving!

Their only advantage is that they are light and portable, but if you want something that will last and look good then they are not a wise investment. Constant taking them up and putting them out (as we have to do, the class being in a community hall) shortens their life, negating their portability aspect IMHO.

I'd say go for foam sheets for preference

Ruth
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2010, 08:18 AM   #12
Jory Boling
 
Jory Boling's Avatar
Dojo: A.K.I.,Misakikai Dojo
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 193
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

i had some in an empty room wall to wall and they tended to stay in one place. in a different house they drifted all over the room. i never had any trouble for solo ukemi practice or moderately energetic tachiwaza. if your going to be doing anything too wild i'd think about the dangers of catching your toes in the ...puzzle teeth?
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2010, 11:38 AM   #13
Adam Huss
 
Adam Huss's Avatar
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 611
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Most people I know with puzzle mats either use them for their home 'dojo' where they just train themselves (or with their family) for home-time training, or they just keep and store them for large events when extra mats are needed.

Ruth.....sounds gross. Lol. Hope you don't have to keep training on those mats!

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 05:31 AM   #14
Brian Gillaspie
 
Brian Gillaspie's Avatar
Dojo: School of Martial and Meditative Arts
Location: Topeka, KS
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 72
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

At this point I'm thinking puzzle mats may not be the best choice for Aikido. I'll look into some of the other suggestions you all gave me and see what I can come up with. I'll be teaching classes at a local YMCA so I'll need to get something portable since the room will be used for other activities throughout the week.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 08:02 AM   #15
TreyPrice
 
TreyPrice's Avatar
Dojo: Capitol City Aikido Club
Location: Montgomery
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 33
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

What density foam provides the best walking and falling surface?

My dojo has rolled foam covered with canvas. It is a great surface, a side from the occasional "mat burn" when you drag the back of your feet getting up. We have a 2X4 border with bungee cord loops holding the canvas tight. There is a polyethylene water barrier between the foam and canvas. It works nice, and we can use a carpet cleaner on the canvas to clean it.

Puzzle mats may be better if you got a canvas to cover them. I would also consider tapping the seams.

Train well!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 10:35 AM   #16
Robert Calton
Location: Indiana
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 23
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

I train in a dojo that uses puzzle mats, and I've also taken ukemi for a brief time on the blue, folding mats. I feel the puzzle mats provide a more realistic sensation for proper/improper ukemi. If, for example, you land "flat" versus "round," your body will know! These mats transmit that information better to the body than denser, foam mats. Conversely, the foam mats allow for more comfortable and forgiving ukemi. If you're just starting out teaching at a YMCA and only have a handful of students, you might want to consider the folding ones if budget allows, but puzzle mats aren't necessarily a bad choice by any means!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 01:56 PM   #17
Larry Feldman
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 328
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Brian - If you are using folding mats, there are somethings to consider:
If you are on a concrete floor - go 2" thick. We practice on a hardwood aerobic floor but on the second story of a building and the 1 3/8" or 1 1/2" are enough.

4x8' mats will fit in the back seat of most cars - easy to transport.5x10' mats are a little more to 'handle' but create less seams on the mat when completed.

Get 18oz. vinyl covering at the least.

The wider the velcro the better for holding them together.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 08:05 PM   #18
Brian Gillaspie
 
Brian Gillaspie's Avatar
Dojo: School of Martial and Meditative Arts
Location: Topeka, KS
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 72
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Just wanted to give you all an update since you all took the time to help me out. The YMCA has two 5X10 folding mats I can use plus I came up with another 4X8 folding mat and a 10X18 section of a wrestling mat. I think I will purchase 2 more 5X10 folding mats and that will give me enough to get started without making a large financial investment. So it may not be pretty but it will get the job done.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 08:26 PM   #19
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 903
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Puzzle mats: hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate

With that said; yeah, they suck for beginners to learn ukemi on, unless you like 7th kyu to have messed up soldiers and quit. Went to a seminar once that had puzzle mat. 2 san dans caught their toes in the cracks and messed their feet up. Puzzle mat is really hard to clean, it absorbs sweat and dirt, and doesn't seem to react well to cleaners.(it absorbs them) And I don't want to imagine training for years, falling for years, making mistakes for years, on that stuff. It would make my Orthopedic rich on the bright side.

so again: hate hate hate hate hate

MM
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 08:44 PM   #20
mickeygelum
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
mickeygelum's Avatar
Dojo: Warren Budokan, Ohio USA
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 502
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

http://www.greatmats.com/products/ma...-mats-judo.php

I do endorse these mats and have a 90' x 50' competition area. If you are looking for economical and durable investment...consider these.

Email them, they will sent you a sample.

Wondering about ukemi? View this video. The base is a concrete slab, without any supplemental padding.

http://www.facebook.com/video/video....04091802949226

Train well,

Mickey
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 10:18 PM   #21
L. Camejo
 
L. Camejo's Avatar
Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Canada
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
http://www.greatmats.com/products/ma...-mats-judo.php

I do endorse these mats and have a 90' x 50' competition area. If you are looking for economical and durable investment...consider these.
I've trained on these at my Jujutsu hombu - they are very nice for high falls even with a concrete base. I recommend them also.

It's funny that folks talk about ppls toes getting caught in puzzle mats. Over the years I have never seen someone catch their foot in puzzle mats, but it became a regular occurrence when we moved to a dojo that had tatami and foam mats that don't have an interlocking edge. In either case a frame is best if one has permanent dojo space, which is not the case here.

Finally - if the speed of your tai sabaki and footwork is something that is important to your Aikido (it is in mine) there is no comparison in the speed of movement you can achieve between puzzle mats and foam mats. The puzzle mats tend to be much denser, providing more stability underfoot (does not compress as much), allowing for much faster footwork imho.

Just some thoughts that may help you in any future decisions.

Best
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2010, 08:45 AM   #22
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,119
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

I am 5' 8" and 240 lbs have been doing Aikido since 1985. I have trained on folding foam mats, wrestling mats, gymnastic mats, tatami mats, puzzle mats and have taken breakfalls on grass, carpetted floors, wooden floors and concrete floors. Some of the hardest breakfalls I have taken were on 1 5/8 " puzzle mats over a concrete floor.

They are the best.

I have never caught my toes on the puzzle mat. Maybe these people need to be more aware and pick their feet up.

David

Last edited by dps : 06-30-2010 at 08:51 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2010, 08:58 AM   #23
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 610
United_States
Online
Re: Puzzle Mats

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Look for sheets of 2" thick "ethafoam". I understand it's used as insulation on the outside of buried walls, as for a basement. Mine came in sheets about 4' X 8' or 10'. Very, very nice surface for falls and firm and not too bouncy for any kind of stand-up work. I covered mine with a large plasticized tarp, which was not too slick and was easy to clean. Best mats I ever worked on.

Good luck.

David
Ethafoam is also marketed under the name "Polylam."

Short of purpose-built judo tatami, the best mat surface I've used as well, although I would also say that a decade of ukemi on polylam laid directly on concrete was not beneficial to my body and required some aggressive counter-measures after I swapped out the polylam for judo tatami. In general, wood frame flooring under the mat surface is best, whatever surface you're using.

Best,

FL

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2010, 11:57 AM   #24
ninjaqutie
 
ninjaqutie's Avatar
Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,003
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Most dojo I know who use the puzzle mats are karate or tae kwon do schools around here. I find them to be rather stiff, though like previously mentioned, it teaches you to land properly. In my previous style, we used blue fold up mats similar to those shown above. The floor was concrete, covered with a thin carpet and the mats went on that. The mats were only 1/2 inch thick. If you put the mats together well enough, the gaps can be minimized. We did a lot of hip throws and judo style throws and I found those mats plenty comfy to be slammed down upon

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2010, 12:13 PM   #25
Larry Feldman
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 328
United_States
Offline
Re: Puzzle Mats

Brian -

One last word of caution on the folding mats. One manufacturer (AAI) puts the velcro on their mats in the reverse manner of most of the other manufacturers. Ordering from the same manufacturer will keep you out of trouble, or just ask where the male/female velcro is on the mats.

Also try to match thickness of the mats, putting them snug next to each other will help with the 'cracks', but it is also a good idea to maintain the same thickness.

Larry
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best Puzzle mats cannonfist Supplies 10 09-22-2010 06:12 AM
Mats question - sprung floor necessary on concrete? Conrad Gus General 25 12-15-2009 02:15 PM
Realjitsu Mats 5/8 inches...really? Moe Fury Supplies 12 05-08-2009 01:08 PM
Securing canvas mats. Just Jamey General 3 06-15-2006 09:37 AM
Mats for sale - UK batemanb Marketplace 5 02-23-2005 01:28 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:09 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate