Matting: Fitting Out Your Combat Gym

Matting: Fitting Out Your Combat Gym

Published by Alistair Marx on 17th Feb 2019

So it’s time to mat your space.  Large commercial gym, or garage, there are many factors to consider when choosing appropriate flooring.   It may seem like an insignificant factor, but the correct flooring in a gym can make all the difference between a fully utilised space, and a waste of space.

When building a gym there are some points you should consider. What kind of space are you trying to create? What will this space be used for? Will this space be used for a single purpose, or multiple pursuits?

Naturally, your flooring preference will have to be tempered by budget and space restrictions, but broadly speaking the options for flooring can be categorised by their ‘softness’, or resistance to impact.  If you’re planning on doing a lot of takedowns, or there is an emphasis on floor-work, then consider an option that will better cater to heavy impacts. Lessening impacts is not only easier on the body for you, your partner, and students, but may also be that little factor that makes the difference between someone coming back or deciding it’s not for them.  The downside to ‘softer’ mats is that they can reduce your ability to react quickly, or spring off your feet. If takedowns are relatively rare, and footwork is an important component of your activity, then you may decide a firmer mat is more appropriate for you.

Naturally, your flooring preference will have to be tempered by budget and space restrictions, but broadly speaking the options for flooring can be categorised by their ‘softness’, or resistance to impact. If you’re planning on doing a lot of takedowns, or there is an emphasis on floor-work, then consider an option that will better cater to heavy impacts.Lessening impacts is not only easier on the body for you, your partner, and students, but may also be that little factor that makes the difference between someone coming back or deciding it’s not for them. The downside to ‘softer’ mats is that they can reduce your ability to react quickly, or spring off your feet. If takedowns are relatively rare, and footwork is an important component of your activity, then you may decide a firmer mat is more appropriate for you.

For example, when MA1 builds a cage or boxing ring we provide layers of EVA jigsaw mats and memory foam to go between the wooden base, and canvas cover. We suggest for boxing rings that if they are mostly being used for stand-up, you may choose to leave out the memory foam, because for that use it is a more suitable balance between absorbance and speed.

Another major consideration for your space is whether or not you need some form of wall padding. In a restricted area wall pads can effectively increase the amount of useful space because you can feel more comfortable working closer to a wall or obstruction. Most Martial Arts do not involve vertical surfaces, but because of the heavy influence of the cage panels on MMA a heavy-duty form of wall padding is usually necessary to effectively train some techniques.

EVA Jigsaw Mats

MA1 40mm Jigsaw Mats

"The 20mm are sufficient for stand-up, but if you are planning to do takedowns or ground-work, we would recommend the 40mm." - MA1 
Jigsaw Mats

Jigsaw Mats offer a great compromise between price and coverage.They’re also easy to quickly place and remove if you’re sharing a space, and are generally easier to store than other options.  The 20mm are sufficient for stand-up, but if you are planning to do takedowns or ground-work, we would recommend the 40mm.

Jigsaw mats were previously one solid slab of interconnecting foam.  Our current model has multiple layers of EVA foam, with a softer core sandwiched between 2 outer layers of more substantial heavy-duty foam. This effectively means a better balance between the shock absorbance from the inner core, and the superior grip and fluid repulsion of the outer layers. MA1  Jigsaw mats are available in 20mm or 40mm, and blue/red or black/grey options.

MMA Mats


‘MMA mats’ or ‘Judo Mats’, often referred to colloquially as ‘Tatami’, are the industry standard for BJJ gyms and competition.  They offer outstanding shock absorption while maintaining a solid surface for traction. They are significantly more substantial than jigsaw mats which means they are harder to move, and take up more room when stored, but being larger and heavier they are less likely to shift under load and easier to clean.  

 MA1  MMA mats come in blue, red, black and blue.  Our standard mat is 2m x 1m, but we also carry 1m x 1m to allow for all floor shapes and sizes.


MA1 Equipped Facility: Absolute MMA

"MMA Mats are industry standard for BJJ gyms and competition. They offer outstanding shock absorption while maintaining a solid surface for traction." - MA1 MMA Mats

MMA Rollout Mats

MA1 Rollout Mats

"Rollout Mats are offer the same shock absorption and traction characteristics as MMA mats" - MA1 Rollout Mats

‘Rollout’ type mats are a fantastic option for large spaces. They offer the same shock absorption and traction characteristics as MMA mats, but have less edges, so are far easier to clean, are more solid as they are a single large piece, and can be fitted more precisely to an awkward space than MMA mats.

MA1 rollout mats come in blue and black, but can be custom ordered in a variety of colours and finishes.

Crash Mats

Another great compromise between speed and compression is to use a crash mat.  Often Judo gyms will use thinner floor matting in combination with heavier crash mats.  You can train specific takedowns for hours without tiring on a crash mat, then use the thinner floor matting for general sparring to make the most of the swift and reactive foot movements required for Judo.

MA1  Crash Mats come in black at 2.4m x 1.5m. They come in a super compressive 15cm, or an incredibly compressive 30cm.  


MA1 Crash Mats
"Thick crash mats are ideal for takedowns and MMA mats are ideal for general sparring" - MA1 Crash Mats

Cage Panels

MA1 Cage Panels
"Cage Panels are great substitute for a cage in combat gyms where space is at a premium. Ideal for training cage-fence-specific MMA techniques, they are great for isolating MMA area to increase safety" - MA1 MMA Cage Panels

Probably the ultimate addition to any gym short of an actual cage, cage panels are the last word in enclosing your mat space.  They are ideal for training cage-fence-specific MMA techniques and, in my opinion, look fantastic. They are also unique as, being transparent, the panels can be placed on the open edges of a matted space (i.e. not against a wall).  This increases the amount of usable space on your mats, increases safety for participants and spectators, and keeps unwanted mat invaders to a minimum.

MA1 sells  cage panels in  a variety of lengths, as well as accompanying poles and pole pads to support them. Custom orders can also be made for specific lengths or panels with doors.

FREE Fitout Quotes

Fitting out a combat fight space is a hard job. But that is where MA1 steps in. With our large range of fight gear, matting, padding and combat equipment, we are truly a one stop shop to setting your fit out completely.

If you know what the space is used for, the MA1 team would be able to help suggest some ideas and solutions to work out your space. So set up an appointment with us, come in for a chat or even simply give us a call to get started. If you can get hold of a floor plan for your space, we can even work out layout plan according to your brief and needs.

We provide a free, zero obligation quoting session and if you already have a quote from elsewhere, be sure to run it by us to see if we can do any better!

Give us a buzz on  03 9706 5292 or shoot us an email at admin@ma1.com.au to find out more info on any of our quality combat fight gear and matting to find out what is best for you. Remember that if you are in the fitness industry, we can set you up with an wholesale account - click the banner below for more info. If you are only purchasing for yourself but are looking to put in a large order - do get in contact with us to see if you are applicable for a package quote!

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