So, you’re thinking of adding some mat space to your home? Well, as someone who’s done this already I have some points of advice to offer. The first thing to consider is what you’re going to be using this mat space for.
|Ground Work||At minimum some padding is needed – puzzle mats will work if all you’re doing is ground work with no standing component.|
|Takedowns||A 1.5″-2″ thick mat is a good idea for takedowns. Some padding underneath the mat is usually recommended as well.|
|Throws||High amplitude throws will require at least a 10′ ceiling. A 2″ thick mat and a sprung floor system are highly recommended for any throws.|
|No-Gi||Due to the mat burn from a tatami texture, you’ll want a smooth surface mat (MMA surface) if you’re planning on using it for no-gi.|
My floor was to be used for judo, BJJ, and wrestling, both with and without the jacket. My basement has a pretty good height – a bit over 9 feet. This means I can’t do high amplitude throws like kata guruma, but I can still do some high impact throws such as harai goshi or harai makikomi. Since I wanted to do judo throws I chose a 2″ thick Flexi-roll mat and a sprung floor. My instructional and the two blog posts about my experience are below which include a couple of pictures if your needs are about the same as mine. It should be noted that I recommend a different layout in the foam than what I used because my corners ended up not stiff enough. This has become less of a problem since I tightened my border, but the recommendation stands.
If your needs are different than mine, consider the table above. You can also consult with whatever company you’re buying your mats from to see what they would recommend. Each manufacturer makes mats out of different density foam so it’s possible that they may recommend a thicker or thinner mat for your purposes. In general puzzle mats are less expensive and some companies even boast that their puzzle mats can be used directly on concrete for judo (I wouldn’t believe that).
As an additional variant to sprung floors – you can find what is essentially very thick carpet padding and use that under your mats. It’s relatively inexpensive. Fight Prime TC in Madison was using this as a solution under the mats they had when I first went to visit. Even high amplitude throws were good on their setup which was just a 1.5″ mat on top of the pad directly on concrete. If you’re worried about height because you’re on the cusp this is a solution which will save you a couple of inches over the full sprung floor, but I can’t speak for how well it will hold up over time.