Interlocking Jigsaw Mats
Every martial arts gym knows the value of having good quality jigsaw mats to train on. Make no mistake, having plenty of jigsaw mats free space to train on is the biggest draw card you can have to attracting new members to your martial arts school.
The simplest fact is if you don’t have jigsaw mats to train on, and the martial arts club down the road does, then it’s a no brainer where people will choose to go to train. Even if you are only doing a standup fighting martial art and not practicing going to the ground, jigsaw mats are still essential to train on, as people will occasionally loose their balance and fall over. Any martial arts training on a hard floor is not very user friendly and real turn off especially for beginners. When students are learning new moves their balance is not sound, so accidentally falling badly on a hard floor is a real possibility. Falling over when you are trying to learn something new can be embarrassing enough when you have yet to build your confidence without having a preventable injury added onto the humiliation.
On the other hand people do take on martial arts to toughen up, get fit and to learn practical and realistic self defence so you don’t want to over do it by having mats that are too thick and too soft. This is why the high impact absorbing 100% EVA foam jigsaw mats available online from the Universal Self Defence web store are still the most popular type of floor mats for martial arts training and competition. Good quality jigsaw mats have all have high impact absorbing qualities and a fast rebound rate and are not too hard and not too soft. If jigsaw mats are too soft then they bottom out too easily ending with the thud of the hard floor underneath. Mats that are too soft also make your all important footwork slow and unstable which is the last thing you want when you need to be able to move around freely with martial arts sparring.
Choosing Jigsaw Mats Sizes
Jigsaw mats come in different size thicknesses usually 2 cm, 3 cm or 4 cm thick sizes. They are all one metre square with a couple of extra cm on the outside perimeter for the edging pieces. This makes it easy to workout how many jigsaw mats you need to cover a given area. For example if you need to cover an area that is 5 metres x 10 metres you will then need 50 jigsaw mats.
Deciding what size thickness you need with your jigsaw mats depends on what type of martial arts or what other type of activity the mats will be used for. Also whether the mats are for children &/or adults and whether the floor surface already has a little give in it as with a suspended timber floor or is a rock solid concrete based floor can sometimes make a difference in choosing how thick to have your mats.
2 cm thick jigsaw mats are ideal for most standup martial arts like Karate, Taekwondo, Kung fu, boxing and kickboxing. 2 cm mats will not slow down your footwork to any significant degree whilst still providing adequate protection from the occasional low level fall. 2 cm mats are also good for grappling and wrestling when you stay at ground level as you are only rolling and falling from a low base.
3 cm thick jigsaw mats are much better for MMA or freestyle martial arts that like to combine taking down the opponent mixed in with practicing both standup and ground fighting.
4 cm thick jigsaw mats are recommended for judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and other martial arts that practice throwing the opponent and often go to the ground in a hurry with one player on top of the other.
You may also consider having a combination of mat thicknesses so you can cover the main area with mats that are thick enough for most general activities and then have special designated areas with thicker mats for when they are needed.
Setting Up Jigsaw Mats
Jigsaw mats can become puzzle mats if you don’t know the best way to join them together. When setting up and joining your jigsaw mats there are two simple things to remember. Firstly always start at one end and work your way across the floor. Do not start from several sides and try and work you way to the middle because the mats may not finish in perfect alignment. Secondly and most importantly always have the jigsaw mats corners with the arrowheads pointing in the same direction. If you have to pack up mats to store them away so they can easily be set up again later then it is quicker to pack them away leaving 2 mats joined together. You can also make up a handy mat trolley very easily just by putting a set of heavy duty trolley wheels onto a solid piece of 2m x 1m timber.
Always stack your mats horizontally flat same way as they go on the floor so they stay nice and straight. If you stack your mats vertically or bend your mats and store them for long periods especially in high temperatures they may become warped. Also make sure no-one walks on the jigsaw mats with high heel shoes or puts chairs or heavy furniture on the mats as this may damage or puncture them.
Cleaning Jigsaw Mats
Jigsaw mats are very easy to keep clean. Just use a quick sponge mop over the mats with a mix of luke warm water and some quick drying anti-bacterial detergent usually does the trick. The mats dry off very quickly if in a well ventilated area especially if you can blow a couple fans over them. If you need to dry the mats in big hurry just wipe them over with a couple of big beach towels.