THE PUZZLE MAT: PIECING IT ALL TOGETHER
If you are in the Martial Arts and will be working out at home or especially if
you have a dojo, you will need a mat. It's a simple as that! But which mat to get can
be puzzling. Read on to find out more about the importance of having a mat, what types
are available and why the Puzzle Mat might just be your answer!
HISTORY OF THE MAT
Mats have been used in Martial Arts throughout history. For as long as there has been
recorded history of the Martial Arts, mats have been right there, padding the souls of practitioners and
cushioning their takedowns as well.
Japanese Martial Artists used Tatami mats in the dojo and in their homes too.
Tatami mats protected the Martial Artistists of old just like they do today except back then, they were
traditionally made of rice straw to form the core. Nowadays sometimes the core is
composed of compressed wood chip boards or polystyrene foam) with a covering of woven soft rush (straw).
Typically Tatami mats are made in standard sizes with the length exactly twice the width.
Generally, on the long sides, they have edging of brocade or cloth.
The mats were almost sacred in nature and the layout was very important. The mats were laid
certain ways for various holidays and celebrations and if four corners
of four mats touched, it was said to bring bad fortune.
Martial Arts mats were pretty muchly used around the world in every Martial Arts
form there has ever been such as Wrestling, Judo and Karate.
Today mats are made with newer technology of course and the lay out of them are for
convenience, appearance and function rather than superstition.
A puzzle is basically an object made by putting pieces together.
It's hard to say when the first puzzle came on the scene. People have been fitting
things together for ages so
The first jigsaw puzzle was created around 1760 by John Spilsbury, a British mapmaker.
He mounted a map on a sheet of wood and then he sawed around each country.
The "puzzle" was then used to teach geography.
THE PUZZLE MAT
Combining the concept of the mat and the puzzle, the Puzzle Mat is one of the
most practical of modern day inventions in Martial Arts rugs because it is so flexible, it can practically fit
anywhere and can be put away when desired.
MMA is, of course, all the new rage in martial arts training circles but the fact remains...
Martial Artist of any style don't like to get hurt, especially when the injury has them laid
up and unable to practice or perform!
The concept of the Martial Arts mat in general and the classic model
of the puzzle mat
is a must for anyone looking for protection
from injuries in a MMA class or home workout.
The key to preventing a number of unnecessary injuries involves making sure the
floor you are training on contains a cushion buffer that eliminates impact related injuries.
Kinds Of Mats
There are many different types of mats that can be placed on a floor.
Rolled mats and folding mats are quite common. Puzzle mats may not be as popular as the other two mats, but they are equally effective provided you purchase the mats from a name brand manufacturer.
In MMA, the need for an adequate and effective amount of protection is a must.
That is because there is a lot going on with an
MMA training session. There is punching, kicking, clinching, throwing, takedowns,
and, of course, ground grappling.
In MMA where beating the opponent is the object of the game, you have got
to expect it is going to rough and fighters are going to get hurt. But...why make
matters even worse by not adding in protection where you can?
Without a proper mat, the potential for injuries increased tremendously.
Ankle injuries, for instance, often occur when one's footing is not secure like a slip
on a slick surface or
tripping over something on the floor. Foot injuries are equally as common.
The most common injuries in MMA are finger and hand sprains or
dislocations. Even more serious
injuries include shoulder and elbow injuries affecting the humerus bone.
While not always preventable with proper flooring, they are much more
apt to happen on unsafe ground.
No, you can never eliminate such potential problems completely. But, you can lessen
the possibility for them for sure.
Puzzle mats are also easy to put together. As the name implies, they
fit together like puzzle pieces. This means that they can be assembled and disassembled
with relative ease.
Of course, you can always affix the mats and leave them on the
floor permanently. But, if you need to undo the mats and store them away, you can easily
do so. The choice is up to you.
How Much Do You Need?
Some may be curious as to how much mat square
footage you need in order to properly grapple on it.
This really will vary depending
upon the number of people grappling during the session.
If you are running a large
class with a number of people, you probably would want the bulk of the floor covered with mats.
There should be no space - or as little space as possible - that is not covered by the puzzle
For small grappling sessions with fewer people, 12 x 12 mat space
may prove to be adequate. However, if the space seems too small, just add to it as needed.
It is better to have too much than too little when it comes to mat space.
Wrapping it up, it is a given that if you are grappling, working out or running a dojo, you
need a mat. If you are looking for convenience and function all in the same package, the Puzzle
Mat is a great solution for you.
One of the best mats we have found is at MMA Joe's, a division of Karate Joe's. It is the
Puzzle Sports Mat and is made by Century so you know it is of great quality.
You can over your entire floor with this original Puzzle Sport Mat.
It is made of ethylene vinyl acetate foam to offer a layer of comfortable cushion
between you and the floor. The mats interlock with puzzle like edges for easy set up and take down and
are easy to mix and match for a multi colored floor or keep it just one color for a uniform look.
The mats come in Red, Blue or Black and are 40 inches x 40 inches x 7/8 inches.
Each unit weighs 6 lbs.
MMA Joe's also has a reversible model that I recommend as well. Made in the same fashion as
the regular model, this mat can be turned over to change the color and reveal a fresh new look
and feel. You can even mix and match.