Training judo, jiujitsu or grappling can be very cheap, at first you only need a gi or kimono and one partner to start learning this art, but in short time, if you want to practice out of the gym, tatami mat will be a must to train throws and going hard on ground techniques. At this point if you are a beginner looking for commercial tatami mats could not be an option with prices going up to some hundred dollars for some square meters. But there is the option to do your own homemade tatami mat cheaply with easy to find materials if you have room to install it.

So here is the list of materials needed to build your own tatami mat:

  • Carpet padding
  • Polyurethane foam
  • Industrial carpet
  • Vinyl tarp

At first you should install carpet padding as base for next layers, if you are doing a big one, it is possible to join the pieces with tape. After this layer, you need some material to absorb the impacts, polyurethane foam is a good choice, going into more low cost options some installations make use of rubber from used tires, cork or others material that allow to put a layer of them 2 to 4 centimeters thick. The third layer will be industrial carpet if you want a good finishing of the work and more durability, but it is not mandatory if you use polyurethane foam for the second one. The last layer will be vinyl tarp, easy to clean and durable material.

There is a video from Gracie academy where they show this setup, they even use the trick of making the last layer removable to use the mat as “normal” floor while not training.

If this setup do not convince you or it is too much work and time to put everything together, there is always the option of buying commercial tatami mats, and some of them will be easy to install and uninstall using velcro or puzzle sides to join small pieces.


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