In the world of fight there are a heaps of different martial arts and most of them are traditional. Some martial arts are modern like Krava Maga, the Israeli martial art, and Sambo from Russian, but the vast majority are traditional. In saying they are traditional martial arts I mean that they have historical significance which sometime includes ceremonial aspects. These traditional martial arts come from everywhere including Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, France, Africa and so forth. Every tribe and people it would seem has a traditional form of fighting.
Two of the traditional martial arts from Japan are karate and jiu-jitsu. Both of the martial arts are traditional and both of the arts require some kind or training mats as part of their training. Jiu-jitsu requires jiu-jitsu mats and karate requires karate mats. Whilst both these arts are similar in that they are both from Japan and both require martial arts mats for training, this is where the similarities end. Whilst they might have these two things in common essential they are different which is reflected in the type of mats they use for training.
Karate means empty hand in Japanese. Essential karate is a form of unarmed combat. Saying that it does have some weapons but they main focus of the art is hand to hand fighting. The art uses kicks and punches to defeat an opponent. There are some throws involved but they a just rudimentary. Karate is thought of as a hard style due to the yelling and such but a good and seasoned fight is in tune with both his / her mind and body. The hazard in karate is in getting hit and falling to the ground which is why having karate mats is so important. Karate mats help reduce the impact with the ground therefor minimising impact.
Karate guys like these mats
In karate the kind of martial arts mats used is usually jigsaw mats. The jigsaw mats are made from EVA which is a closed cell mats. There are schools of karate that use traditional tatami mats. But you usually find them in places like Okinawa in very traditional schools. These day the karate mats being used tend to be jigsaw mats. Also karate mats tends be 20mm jigsaw mats or at the most 30mm jigsaw mats as they offer enough protect from falls but don’t inhibit stand up training. The 40mm jigsaw mats tend to be used by grappling arts that do most of their training on the floor.
This brings us to jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu is also a traditional Japanese martial art. Jiu-jitsu, or jujutsu as it is also know, means “gentle art” in Japanese. This is because it endeavours to take a soft approach to self-defence and uses minimal strikes like punching and kicking. Jiu-jitsu, or jujutsu, mainly uses throws and submissions to subdue an opponents. The aim is to have the opponent to submit without getting hurt or causing injury to the victim of the attach, the jiu-jitsu practitioner. Even though it is referred to as the gentle art there is still a chance to get injured during training which is why jiu-jitsu mats or jujutsu mats are required for training.
The best thicknesses to use
As mentioned before the type of mats required my karate and jiu-jitsu are different. With jiu-jitsu there is an emphasis on throws just like in judo. The need to practice throws means that there is a need for jiu-jitsu mats to be able to offer more protection during training. For this reason jiu-jitsu mats are usually 40mm thick or more. Sometime 40mm jigsaw mats are used but more often they are tatami mats. Tatami mats have the traditional tatami finish. They come with an inner compressed foam and an outer vinyl cover. The thickness of the jiu-jitsu mat means that there is less opportunity for injury during training which is what makes them so good for this kind of training.
Karate Mats versus Jiu-Jitsu Mats