Judo Mats and Judo Flooring Systems

Thursday June 18, 2009
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Martial Arts - Judo MatchJudo, a Japanese martial art form, requires specially constructed flooring to protect the opponents from injury. Judo actually means “gentle way” though there aren’t very many gentle aspects of this combat sport. There are many different types of Judo mats or floor coverings that can be used, some much more effective at protecting the opponents than others. Choosing the right Judo flooring should be done carefully in order to provide the most effective surface for combat.

Choosing the Right Subfloor for Judo

When it comes to choosing the proper flooring for Judo, one must consider what the floor will be placed on. Placing a Judo mat directly over a hard surface floor such as concrete, stone, ceramic tile, or hardwood may not provide enough protection to properly cushion a fall and avoid injuries. On the other hand, having too much cushioning under your Judo mat or floor can cause the flooring to flex too much providing an unstable combat surface.

Picture of a Sprung Subfloor - Closed-cell polyurethaneA good solution is to use what is called a sprung flooring system (see photo to the left from JudoInfo.com). By using a subfloor that is built to act as a shock absorber under tatami mats, you can create a flooring system that can effectively protect a 200 pound man being thrown from heights above the head, which happens in the Judo "shoulder wheel throw" (Kata–guruma). It is important that whatever is placed under the subfloor to provide shock absorption compresses quickly and rebounds slowly. One of the best materials used in a sprung flooring system is blocks of special closed–cell polyurethane foam topped with a layer of plywood, which can be relatively inexpensive compared to some pre–built sprung floor systems.

Choosing the Right Judo Mats

When it comes to choosing the right Judo mats, most professionals recommend a vinyl covered tatami mat made specifically for Judo. In fact, these tatami mats are often used in the Olympics and several other international venues. They are often attached with Velcro to the subfloor so that they are firmly affixed but can be pulled up and removed if needed for periodic cleaning. Many of these tatami style mats are now available in interlocking tiles.

In closing, by choosing the right Judo mats and using a sprung subfloor system, you will protect your Judo athletes and also give your tatami mats a longer lifetime.

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