FOLDING MAT: BECAUSE THE MAT MATTERS
HISTORY OF THE FOLDING MAT IN MARTIAL ARTS
The concept of the matted floor is not a new one.
Martial Arts floor mats have been around for years.
Traditionally these mats were made of rice straw to form the core, with a covering
soft rush straw.
The Japanese used Tatami mats which were made with rice straw or, in more recent years,
composed of compressed wood chip boards or polystyrene foam. They often have edging of brocade
or cloth and are generally twice as long as they are wide and were folded or rolled up when not in
use to prevent wear and tear. The term "Tatami" comes from the verb "tatamu", meaning to fold or pile.
There were even rules to govern the layout of these mats.
An "auspicious" layout was the desired pattern to use where the junctions of the Tatami formed a
An "inauspicious" arrangement, where the Tatami are in a
grid pattern with the junctions forming a "+" shape or have the four corners of four mats touching,
was said to bring bad fortune.
Tatami mats were popular with Martial Arts practitioners. They were used in dojos and
were given a special, almost sacred, status.
Floor mats have been on the scene since the Martial Arts have been and are a part of
not only the Japanese Martial Arts but in all countries around the world in every
Martial Arts discipline there is.
Of course, a lot has changed. The development of
modern industrial machinery has aided in improving on the original design and concept of the
mat and mats are they can be layed out and arranged however one wishes without worry of bad
fortune. The only really bad fortune is...not using a mat!
No matter how a mat is constructed or what it is
made with or how it is laid, the purpose remains the same...
to offer padding for comfort as well as to provide protection.
For those looking to train in MMA, having a folding mat on the gym floor is an absolute
The reasons for this are fairly
self-evident: folded mats reduce the potential to suffer injuries.
In MMA, there are a great many throws and takedowns. Having a matted floor will lead to an
absorption of impact that will keep injuries to a minimum. Of course you still better know how to fall!
This does not mean that placing a folded mat on the floor is the same as placing a
trampoline down. You still need to be careful and avoid reckless behavior.
But, a folded mat can certainly reduce the impact of a bad fall or harsh takedown.
Just keep in mind that not using a mat can pull the rug out of your game, literally! You
can't do much when you are laid up with an injury.
Safety is of utmost importance by all means but being comfortable during your
training routine is
worth mentioning as well. You will train longer, harder and more effectively when you are
on a cushioned mat rather than a hard floor.
Folding mats are perfect for stretches and floor exercises.
As seen in the photo below, even UFC Heavyweight
Champion Cain Velasquez uses a mat to stretch out on.
A folded mat also provides a safe and easy friction buffer for those that wish to spend a lot of time on
the ground grappling.
Needless to say, without adequate protection on the ground when you wrestle, the issue of injuries will raise its ugly head.
On a side note, you would be able to gain additional traction with wrestling
shoes as opposed to bare feet. But, a quality mat will not have traction problems for those that
are not wearing wrestling shoes.
The operative word here is, of course,
You do not want a cheap folding mat that undermines the safety purpose the mat is intended
to provide. This is why sticking with name brand, reliable mats is of critical
At first examination, the
size of the individual mats can be considered somewhat small. This is not much of a problem
for those that wish to train since the folding mats are affixed together through
The assembly and disassembly of folding mats has the
added advantage of easy storage when the mats are not in use.
Some may even glue the mats to the floor and lay a tarp over the maps.
The tarp can then be stapled in place. This creates the impression of a permanent floor
mat that can certainly improve the look - and safely - of a training hall.
The fact that Folding Mats do exactly that, "fold", make them easy to store when not in
use. These days, it is not unusual for a garage or basement to
double as a dojo or for an office or living room to be a workout room as well. With a fold-up
mat, you are able to quickly clean up the "evidence" of a training session.
It's nice to be able to go work out with a partner too. Simply fold up your mat and
you are good to go!
Adding quality training mats to a MMA dojo or any training environment is a must. It improves the performance
environment while also enhancing safety. Consider that a top combination to bring
into a gym setting.
UFC FOLDING MAT
With a name like UFC, you know this mat is not only good, it's great! The
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the biggest name in all of MMA and has quite a reputation to
live up to.
Ultimate Fighting Championship is the world's leading mixed martial arts organization.
In the past ten years or so, it has taken the sport from a spectacle viewed as barbaric to a
sports organization that is respected.
Bouts between well known mixed martial artists have become some of the
most popular sporting events and even passing up boxing and professional wrestling.
"AS REAL AS IT GETS!" is the UFC motto.
The UFC not only hosts fighting events and reality television shows where future fighters
are found but they also make great Mixed Martial Arts equipment like mats, gloves and
protective gear. In addition, they
manufacture clothing, memorabilia and even market video games!
Many UFC fighters
train on UFC Folding Mats.
This is an accordion mat with five
easy-folding 2' panels that are lighter weight for handling and storage.
Each side has a
2" hook/loop fastener. This allows attachment to other folding mats. It is constructed of
closed-cell polyethene foam and it is covered in 18 oz. laminated vinyl fabric with
terial and anti-fungal compounds.
5' x 10'
OTHER FOLDING MATS WORTH MENTIONING
EVERLAST FOLDING MAT
If you are looking for an inexpensive folding mat, this one is exactly that.
The Everlast Folding 2'x6' exercise mat is a fairly durable, somewhat thick mat that
has a foldable design for convenient storage and transportation.
The non-absorbent shell is easy to clean for continued use, and handles
make carrying the mat to a breeze. It measures 24 x 72 inches (W x L).
REVGEAR FOLDING MAT
Revgear makes some fine Folding Mats, perfect for the dojo, gym or even your home.
Available in 4' x 8', 5' x 10' or 6' x 12', each mat features an 18 ounce vinyl coated nylon cover
material, 1 3/8" thick cross linked polyethylene filler and 4-sided velcro for maximum stick.
The mats are available in Red or Blue.
Note on this item they take allow 3-5 weeks for delivery.