Tatami Texture Mats vs. Smooth Martial Arts Mat Surfaces

By Brett Hart Created: July, 2017 - Modified: January, 2024

Martial arts mats are available in different surface textures. If you're a martial artist, you know that each discipline can benefit from a different type of surface for training.

Some disciplines need grip and a non-slip surface while other need to allow for quick movements like spins. If you're practicing an art that spends most the time standing you may be able to accommodate more aggressive texture to your mats and flooring than an art that involves a lot of grappling and ground fighting. Some textures are designed to resist shoes and boots while others are meant to be gentle on the skin.

Below we'll outline the different types of textures on martial arts mats and what the benefits are of each.

Tatami Mats

Tatami Martial Arts Mats
Some mats feature a tatami surface which is ideal for grappling, MMA and BJJ and martial arts styles where ground competition is predominant. The tatami surface texture resembles a rice texture. While traditional tatami martial arts mats have developed a reputation for leaving pretty noticeable skin burns - especially during jiu jitsu training, our tatami puzzle mats are designed to alleviate ''mat burns'' from the flooring.

Smooth Mats

Leather Texture Martial Arts Mats
For sports with more striking and spinning involved, such as Karate, we recommend a smooth surface. ''Smooth'' surface can vary slightly with the design of the mat. A smooth leather type texture as featured on our one inch Karate Mats allows for quick movements and is durable. It is designed for soft shoes or barefoot use. These martial arts mats are also ideal for Taekwondo, Krav Maga, Muay Thai and other striking arts.

Smooth Martial Arts Mats
Another smooth textured mats for martial arts or folding gym mats. These mats are wrapped with a truly smooth vinyl surface that is excellent for throwing and grappling arts such as judo, jiu jitsu, bjj and submission wrestling. This texture allows for longer training sessions be reducing the risk of mat burn. Due to the fact that these mats generally offer a bit more cushion than puzzle mats, the are often a preferred landing surface for throw training.

Thatch Mats

Thatch Martial Arts Mats Mats
For combat training requiring boots or shoes, we recommend our roughly 7/8 inch thick Taekwondo martial arts puzzle mats. This product is ideal for boxing, kung fu and muay thai as well as aerobics and general cardio training. The surface texture on this mat is a thatch design and is very scuff and scratch resistant, so anytime you are training with martial arts shoes or boxing shoes you'll find this mat will hold up well.

Carpet Topped Mats

Competitive Tumbling and Gymnastics Landing Mats
Carpet topped martial arts mats will come in the form of a roll out mat. Often labeled as cheer mats or gymnastics mats, the carpet surface texture helps take the sting out of falls and is very resilient for traditional martial arts weapons training as it resists punctures from bo staffs, kamas and other weapons with sharp points.

Roll out mats can feature smooth, tatami or carpet textured surfaces.

Each of these surface texture options offer their own unique benefits. Martial arts mats from Greatmats are excellent for wall to wall installations. Crash pads, roll out mats, pole pads and folding gym mats are also available for martial arts studios and dojos.

Which Martial Arts Mats Are Right For You

Which Martial Arts Mats Are Right For You

Martial Arts Mats Surface Textures