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All About Tatami Matting

Tatami mats are a kind of rush flooring traditionally used in Japanese homes, however, they are gaining popularity as a gym flooring. They have customarily been made of woven rush grass around a rice straw core creating a gentle but firm padding. There are also rubber and foam tiles that have a tatami texture surface. These training mats are still considered tatami matting, especially in the home and commercial gyms where they are used.


Tatami mats can be a great option for your gym space. Here’s everything you need to know about these comfortable and protective mats.

Table of Contents

What is Tatami Matting?

Tatami is a popular style of training mat that is quite common in Japan. Today, the mats have grown to be well-loved matting commonly used in homes and gyms.


Tatami comes from the verb tatamu, meaning to fold or pile. The name was chosen because tatami mats were initially thinner and could be folded or piled up.


Throughout history, tatami mats have been used since the 700s in Japanese history. With floors made of wood, tatami mats were used for certain reasons, including seating. Over the years their uses expanded until today when they are used in gyms around the world.


When it comes to gyms, tatami mats were first used in martial arts dojos. They are an important tool in spaces where there will be a lot of grappling and throwing, as they are versatile and durable while providing the protection needed for those types of exercises.


Increasingly, tatami matting is used in fitness facilities for light to medium exercises, studios for Yoga and Pilates, Gymnastics facilities and in Boxing and Martial Arts centres.


How is a Tatami Training Mat Made?

The basic structure of an original tatami mat is simple and is made up of three parts; the base, the cover, and the border.


  • Base - The base is a multilayered rice straw that is fastened tightly and compressed.
  • Cover - The cover is made of natural rush.
  • Border - The border meets with the cover at the edges where together they become the outer portion of a rectangle.


These are the main elements of tatami matting, however, there are other components used to make up the mats.


Modern tatami matting is simply rubber or foam flooring with tatami matting elements used as the surface for additional grip and traction in disciplines like Martial Arts, Boxing and Gymnastics.

What are the benefits of Tatami Matting

When used in homes, dojos, fitness studios and gyms, tatami mats provide multiple benefits:


Protection During Workouts

When used for martial arts or other types of grappling and or high impact workouts, tatami mats provide the protection needed. They offer pressure and shock absorption, which creates traction, comfort, and prevents joint impact and injury from throws, take downs, grappling, and any other high impact activity.


Durable Training Mat

Foam tatami matting is very durable and can have a long lifespan if maintained well.  It can withstand repetitive impact, heavy use and high traffic while remaining resilient and comfortable to train on.  It is important to opt for a thickness that will support your activities.  Tatami tiles usually come in 20mm and 40mm for heavier use.


Training Mat with High Comfort

One of the main benefits of Tatami mats is comfort.  Athletes and performing sportspersons prefer Tatami foam mats to usual gym surfaces such as rubber because the softer surface prevents friction burn while the cushioning and resilience of the foam mats have anti-fatigue properties aswell as protecting their joints and ligaments from injury during training.


Creates a Clean, Aesthetic Look

A Tatami training mat has a clean, uniform look which is aesthetic and appealing.  Many tatami mats come in bright colours, reversible designs and options for creating patterns and sports logos within the floor layout.


Easy to Maintain

Tatami mats are very easy to take care of and don’t require a great deal of effort to maintain. They can easily be wiped down and aired out for repeated use.

How to Clean and Care for Tatami Mats

While tatami mats that are not properly cared for can easily grow mould, with a bit of simple care these mats will be safe and last for years to come. To avoid mould, these mats should be vacuumed daily to ensure that nothing gets into the surface to grow.


When vacuuming, make sure to go along the grain to prevent any damage to the cover. After vacuuming, use a dry cloth to wipe along the grain of the training mat and remove any excess dust or particles.

How are Tatami Mats Installed?

Tatami foam mats come in 2 different formats.  The main type are puzzle shaped which interlock together whereas the other has a straight edge profile that can be glued.  Foam tatami sheeting is also available although it is more difficult to handle and not as easy to install.  Many tatami mat systems are glued down to the subfloor as a permanent setup and some users prefer to have their mats loose laid.  Sizes tend to be 1m x 1m square although there are many different size/shape training mat options on the market.

What are the Types of Tatami Mats for Gyms?

There are different types of tatami mats that are typically used in home and commercial gyms or martial arts dojos.  Each type of training mat has the same benefits of traditional tatami mats, however, there are a variety of features that accompany each.


Interlocking Tatami Mats

Interlocking tatami mats are suitable for martial arts floor surfaces as well as other forms of workouts that involve grappling or high impact.


These are foam mats with a tatami surface. Placement is easy, as they can simply be laid on any solid, flat surface without the need for adhesive or special padding. They need only be placed and connected like the pieces of a puzzle.


They feature the no-burn tatami texture and can prevent different types of injuries. These training mats are made of waterproof material, and they are mould, mildew, and bacteria resistant, creating a clean and safe environment on which to workout and practice.


40mm Reversible EVA Tatami Foam Mats

These thicker tatami mats are suitable for MMA floors, mixed martial arts studios, grappling training centres, and other gyms. Made from extremely durable foam, they have a large fall height rating which makes them the perfect surface on which to practice throws and takedowns.


These mats are perfect for protection from injuries, and they prevent skin burns because they have the tatami texture. They are reversible with different colours on the front and back, making them great for tournaments. They are also waterproof, durable, easy to install, and versatile.


Roll Out Tatami Mats

Roll Out Mats can be purchased in a variety of roll lengths. They are simple and quick to roll out for installation as well as to roll up for removal.


Made with a durable, polyethylene foam bonded to vinyl, they have a tatami surface texture for protection, comfort, and versatility. You can use these mats to easily expand your gym floor. Roll out tatami mats come in various colours and sizes, making them useful for most spaces.



When you are looking for the perfect training mat for your martial arts dojo, home gym, or commercial gym, you may want to consider tatami matting. This modern foam alternative to the traditional Japanese training mat is is easy to install and remove, and creates a safe and comfortable grappling space. With its simple, minimal look, and multiple benefits, tatami matting is a great choice.


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