Of course, quality and durability are foremost when deciding on a martial arts jigsaw mat, but how do you know if your mat is going to absorb shocks, last through hours of training and be protected from mold, mildew and all your sweat?
The first essential component to consider is the PU/EVA ratio. PU (polyurethane) is a softer, open-cell type of foam made in varying degrees of firmness. EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) is a closed-cell co-polymer foam. The combination of these two polymers helps determine the firmness, density, grip and cushion your mat will provide. These foams also have a “memory,” which enables the mat to reset itself to its original shape after impact.
The Shore Hardness Meter (using a durometer) is how the hardness of the foam is measured. This scale uses numbers 9 through 77, 9 being medium soft like a pencil eraser, and 77 being extra hard like a bowling bowl. Mats having a Shore C hardness rating have just the right level of hardness to provide proper footing for martial arts athletes.
Density of the mat is expressed as kilograms per cubic meter. The lower density mats measuring 80 kg/cbm are softer and have less impact absorption. Mats having a higher density such as 120kg/cbm are harder mats and offer more support for higher impact workouts. The type of flooring your mat will be placed over is also a consideration, so placing your mat over concrete or other hard flooring will ensure optimal performance.
By definition jigsaw mats feature interlocking tabs which fit together like puzzle pieces. These edges interlock to avoid popping loose under stress. You want a high quality mat to ensure the teeth won’t tear or rip, and you want to purchase your tiles from the same source to guarantee teeth conformity. Once the tiles are joined together the entire surface of the mat provides seamless footing.
Some other important advantages these mats offer are noise reduction, minimal liquid absorption and easy cleanup. The foam is resistant to weather, chemicals and water, so your sweat will literally just wipe off. The foam is also nontoxic.
Last, but certainly not least, price has to be a consideration when purchasing your mat. Jigsaw mats provide a very affordable choice for beginners to world class competitors who want lightweight portability, easy setup/take down and ability to custom configure their space, while guaranteeing shock absorption and fall protection.
Performing martial arts is a high impact discipline and requires the proper floor mat in order to avoid injury and maintain confidence while honing your skills. By choosing a mat with the optimal PU/EVA ratio, the right density, a Shore C hardness rating and an affordable price tag, you will be purchasing flooring that is stable, functional and attractive. Set up your home studio, perfect your moves, and then start traveling to competitions. Your premium jigsaw floor mat will be with you through every kick, lunge, strike and punch of your journey.