Mats - yes or no?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by honest_john, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. honest_john

    honest_john New Member

    I've just realised after reading some threads thats lots of people here train with the relative luxury and safety of floor mats.

    In my years of training Lau Gar Kung Fu and now Ninjutsu, I have never used a mat in my life, not even in the large tournaments I attended now I think about it too. The thoery being of course in real life self defense situations you will have no access to pads or mats.

    In a similar vein I was gutted starting Ninjutsu when I had to be thrown bodily to a hard wooden floor and kicked and punched while my pads stayed in my bag......used to it now though after a couple of months <phew>.

    Anybody else have an opinon on the use of mats, etc?
  2. totality

    totality New Member

    i wouldn't want to slam anyone if there wasn't a mat. so i love them, naturally.
  3. Nordic_Blood

    Nordic_Blood New Member

    I'm torn on this one, I don't use them in my training, nor do I with my adult students, but I do with my small children. I imagine there are some pros and cons, but I don't know them.
  4. Yukimushu

    Yukimushu MMA addict

    Mats are like wearing gloves :) there for safety reasons...

    Whilst we are learning for use in a real situation... im still not gunna stop using my gloves when sparring so i can get used to breaking someones nose or something; just for the purpose of making training as real as possible :)
  5. Nordic_Blood

    Nordic_Blood New Member

    I suppose if it were that realistic it would be fighting not training.
  6. honest_john

    honest_john New Member

    Angles that did'nt immeadiately spring to mind were cost and location, I have often trained in improvised locations and never a dedicated Dojo or even a gymnastics hall.

    So unless its a well equipped sports centre or you have a generous and hard working teacher lugging his own mats about it I guess thats that.
  7. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    For myself and other, probably older students who may have knee, ankle, hip problems, mats allow us to practice longer and with more intensity. I don't train on them all the time, for realism purposes. But I personally like them.
  8. johndoch

    johndoch upurs

    I would say it depends on the type of training you are doing. For stand-up a hard surface is fine (assuming you dont get KO'd and hit your head on the ground) ;) but for grappling I would recommend mats. A beginner breakfalling on a hard surface has a high chance of getting injured.

    So whats the point of training in a fighting art getting injured needlessly and not being fit enough to defend your self on the street.
  9. honest_john

    honest_john New Member

    There have been times when I would have liked mats too, but bodily injury had to suffice instead...

  10. neryo_tkd

    neryo_tkd Valued Member

    when i started training there were no floor mats in our dojang, but soon afterwards we got them. it is really great to train bare foot on tatami.
    yes, in real life situations there are no floor mats, but in real situations we don't walk bare foot around either.
  11. Ad McG

    Ad McG Troll-killer Supporter

    In the street you can go through the extra pain when it is necessary and deal with the injuries later. IMO, in the dojo it's a simple safety measure that is there to prevent injury so you can train better and stay in game shape.
  12. Kinjiro Tsukasa

    Kinjiro Tsukasa I'm hungry; got troll? Supporter

    I like mats because they allow me to train without completely wrecking my joints (knees, in particular, which are not great to begin with).

    The same mats that protect me in Budo Taijutsu, however, can wreak havoc with my Tai Chi postures. I really wish I could have Tai Chi class on a nice, smooth wooden floor! What the other students tell me, however, is that if I can learn to balance and turn on the mat-covered floor, I'll do that much better on the wooden floor, so I guess it's a good training experience.
  13. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    Good point Adam, I think in my above post, that was my point. Though not very well spelled out.
  14. Ghost Frog

    Ghost Frog New Member

    For throwing and groundwork, I'd agree with John. I'd be seriously injured by now if it wasn't for mats. Floor is ok if you're doing really simple throws, but if someone slips and drops you on your head, shoulder, elbow, etc then the difference between not training for the next year and coming back next week is 1cm of foam encased in plastic.
  15. hwardo

    hwardo Drunken Monkey

    I think mats and pads allow students to take training to a harder, faster level without as much fear of bodily harm.

    What is more realistic-- training gently on a hard surface and sparring lightly with no pads, or going as hard and as fast as you can with that extra layer of protection?
  16. Freeform

    Freeform Fully operational War-Pig Supporter

    Its important to train on both a matted and non-matted surface.

    Firstly, when practicing throws/takedowns we need mats so we can perform the techniques at a realistic speed and with power so that we know they work. Without mats we'd soon run out of partners to train with (they'd all be in A & E). Although in saying this my Tai Jitsu Instructor used to have us seniors train throws without mats every now, he said something like,

    'You need to feel realistic contact with the ground, and it'll improve your breakfalls, trust me.'

    We also need to practice no mat so that we can feel the friction that 'proper' ground provides. This is so we can perform strikes with correct footwork (with shoes and without).

    Also, mats are very expensive, so when you don't really need them you should give up the space to others who do, because thats nice ;)

  17. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    We train on a hard concrete floor... which can be rough for Hapkido breakfalls and throws! We have a set of folding mats which can be put out of the way easily or brought out.

    We use mats for teaching and practicing breakfalls. If we have a small class we sometimes train on the mats to add a little more power to throws and sweeps... although the tradeoff is the footing, it is nice to throw (and get thrown) a bit harder.

    We also train on the hard surface. Again, with mat sharing, you do have to rotate around and make sure everyone gets to use them. Normally we try out new stuff a few times on the mats and then move to the floor (especially for the more senior students).
  18. Mrs Owt

    Mrs Owt New Member

    I have to just echo what many have said before me. We use mats when doing aikido and takedowns and train on bare hard floors when sparring or practicing kata. I have trained in a all-matted format and in a hard floor format. The all matted was great after my knee injury but I now realise kata and the sparring are much easier to do on a hard floor.
  19. RAD

    RAD New Member

    Me, too... I need mats for the same reason! :(
  20. Virtuous

    Virtuous New Member

    I'm very fortunate to train in a school that has an abundance of mats. There is a layer of the dense foam puzzle matts covering the floor at all times. These are great for the Seidokan Karate, Iaido/Kendo, and Tai Chi classes. They are a little forgiving, and smoother than the underlying carpet. For Aikijujutsu we throw down the soft foam(2") mats over the hard foam. For the harder throws we usuall pull out 4 of these 10" thick square soft foam mats andcriss cross 2 layers of the 2" matts over them so the surface is nice and firm. This super thick mat setup is only big enough for one tori and uke but man, you can practice really hard throws all day long with minimal impact for the uke.

    Our philosiphy is with none or thin mats, you can practice X many throws before the body starts to get tired. With a good mat set up you can practice 3 to 4 times that comfortably allowing you to train harder and longer.

    I have seen some dojos with an elevated floor using spring suspension. From what I have seen it is a series of spring attached to the bottom of a piece of plywood and then they throw hard foam, 1" or 2" soft foam mats over that. Im curious to see what poeple who used them think about them.

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