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What is a Dojo Mat? Japanese Martial Arts Training Hall Floors

Dojo tatami mats, martial arts puzzle dojo floor mats and more

By Brett Hart // 2019

A is a padded surface that covers the floor of a Japanese martial arts training hall. Japanese martial arts include Karate, Jujutsu, Judo, Aikido and Kempo (aka Kenpo) among others.

Karate Dojo Mats


Karate dojo mats are typically around 1 inch thick and need to allow for quick foot movements for striking techniques and stance adjustments. Since Karate is primarily a standing art practiced in bare feet, these mats generally have a leather textured surface to allow the proper level of slip.



Jujutsu Dojo Matting


Jujutsu dojo mats are generally a little thicker as this close combat art involves a fair amount of groundwork and grappling techniques, including throws and takedowns. It is common to have dojo tatami mats for this type of martial art to prevent both slipping and sticking. Traditional tatami mats have been known to cause more mat burns on the skin, which is why Greatmats offers tatami style puzzle mats designed to prevent mat burns.



Judo Dojo Flooring


Much like Jujutsu, Judo dojo mats are often at least 1.25 inches thick to provide protection against throws, falls and takedowns. They should also be firm enough to prevent feet, knees and elbows from sinking into the mat and getting caught while repositioning on the ground. Many judo dojos will also choose to add addition landing or crash mats when working on throws and falling. These mats are designed to provide extra cushion for hard landings to prevent injury. Most often the crash pads are at least 2 inches thick and laid overtop of the existing matted floor.



Aikido Dojo Mat


Aikido dojo mats, much like those for jujutsu and judo, need to accommodate throws, so a minimum 1.25 inch thickness is ideal. Some mats, such as Greatmats 1.5 inch thick interlocking dojo floor mats offer ASTM critical fall height ratings to protect against serious head injuries. Just keep in mind that there is no substitute for learning to fall correctly to protect your body.

Folding gym mats are commonly used for any of the above arts where throws, takedowns and grappling take place as additional safety padding to practice and training purposes. In some cases, the entire floor is covered by folding martial arts mats to create a uniform padded surface.

Kempo Dojo Floors


As a striking art with takedowns and ground fighting mixed in, Kempo training requires a firm floor that that also offers some protection against falls. Kenpo dojos that focus primarily on the striking aspect will do fine with a 3/4 inch mat, while those schools that lean heavily toward the takedowns and ground fighting will have best results from a 1.5 inch thick dojo matting system.



For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.