Martial arts are highly physical. There are impacts between the people practicing them, between the person and various surfaces, and there’s also potential for missing one’s target entirely and plowing into a wall or meeting with the floor.
We all know what happens when people run into things, fall, or get slammed into something: possible injuries. Scars are cool and all, but concussions and broken bones are not. I know of people that have had serious leg breaks and who still experience pain years after everything healed up – at least they can be relied on to predict the weather, right?
So, unless you want to become a natural weather forecaster, you really want to make use of martial arts mats.
Where are martial arts mats used?
In a gym, mats cover the floors, walls, and some pieces of equipment (in that case, they’re actually made for that equipment). Wall mats are meant to protect people when they wind up crashing into the wall, of course, and that can happen during some throws and moves. Stuff happens. Sometimes you miss your mark, sometimes whoever you’re working with misses their mark.
Floor mats are especially important because they help provide you and your dojo-mates with the grip you need to avoid sliding around – or slipping and falling – while you work. They also provide a soft, cushioned surface for throws, rolling, and if you do happen to fall.
It’s much more pleasant to fall on a cushion of foam and vinyl – that most martial arts mats are made from – than it is to fall on a hard floor. Breaking a limb, tailbone, or whacking your skull on the floor are not advised.
No, this doesn’t build character, either. Don’t be ridiculous. That doesn’t even work in cartoons.
What else should I know about martial arts mats?
Your gym’s martial arts mats should be cleaned before and after use to keep them germ-free and keep the dirt at a minimum. Too much dirt and grit can make the surface difficult to work on. If you go long enough without cleaning those mats (gross), they won’t be non-slip anymore. Also, they get really gross between foot gunk, sweat, and everything else. Seriously, clean those mats. A disinfecting solution is the best way to do it.
Bare skin has contact with martial arts mats, and skin infections can transfer between the mat and everyone’s skin. These things are pretty uncomfortable and kind of embarrassing, and if somebody gets a skin infection, they aren’t going to be able to practice or perform until it goes away. Cleanliness is a safety and health issue, never forget that.
Lastly, the wall kind really needs to be securely installed or it’s going to be absolutely useless. There are wall mounts that work by having the velcro that’s already on the mats stuck to the velcro that’s on the wall mounts. This stuff is pretty darn tough, so you won’t have to worry about anything falling off.