Some of the most popular sports and physical activities practiced around the world today involve not balls or hockey sticks or baseball bats, but the athlete’s body and a safe, padded surface to perform on. Gymnastic wedges, foam carpet tiles, foam floor mats, and more can keep an athlete or martial artist safe from bone fractures or bruises while perfo0rming, and they can be found nearly everywhere. In particular, cheese wedge mats, or gymnastics wedges, can be used for practicing tumbling or uphill vaulting or conditioning, and they may be found in school gymnasiums for students to use. These gymnastics wedges, floor mats, and more can be easily held in a storage closet and taken out for use, and floor padding is also common for martial artists and even at police academies or military training grounds. In any application, the basic idea is the same: provide an impact-resistant, cushioned place to land.
Many Americans are familiar with gymnastics, even if they don’t perform gymnastics themselves. Gymnasts, most often women and girls, will perform tumbles and rolls, leaps, land on the floor, and more during a performance, but this might be dangerous without padded surfaces to catch them. Otherwise, a gymnast landing on a hard concrete or wooden floor might suffer bone fractures, bruising, a concussion, or maybe worse. Fortunately, anywhere a gymnast might practice or perform, plenty of gymnastics wedges and floor mats will be on hand. Even highly skilled gymnasts performing in the Olympics will only perform with mats and wedges, not just high school students on the school’s gymnastics team. Such mats may vary somewhat in size, and bigger ones may have creases where they can be easily folded for storage in a closet. For use, they are simply taken out and laid on the floor wherever they are needed. These mats’ fabric covers might even have the school’s emblem printed on them.
Combat Training and MatsGymnasts have plenty of use for floor mats, but so do all people practicing martial arts of all kinds. Fitness centers may offer martial arts classes, or a strip mall may include a dedicated martial arts school, and they will all have floor mats for students and instructors alike to use. Even police academies and military training grounds make use of them when teaching CQC, or close quarters combat, and other unarmed combat. After all, even a large, well-muscled man may suffer bone fractures, bruises, or a concussion if he lands on a hard floor during training, and a training instructor won't be happy to see cadets miss training due to preventable injuries. Combat training means laying down padded mats to train on, as trainees may tumble on them, grapple with an opponent, get knocked down, or otherwise strike the surface.
A martial arts school, such as a karate school, may also make use of interlocking foam tiles. These tiles fit like puzzle pieces end to end, and can form an array as large as the user needs. They may have patterns printed on them to imitate a wooden floor, to help maintain an authentic look. Meanwhile, a related concept is padded shields that a person may hold up while someone else practices punching or kicking them. These are also using soft, impact-resistant surfaces to prevent any injuries.
Proper Mat Care
A floor mat is a simple piece of hardware, as it has no moving parts and doesn’t use electricity or fuel. But it may need care. Mats should be stored in a cool, dry place when not in use, and no one should bring sharp objects or hard-soled shoes near them. Such items or footwear might tear the fabric, allowing the inner stuffing to leak out. This creates a tripping hazard, and rips might be made worse if the mat is used again before it can be sewn up or have its cover replaced. The same may be true of gymnastics wedges, and food and drinks should be kept away, to prevent spills from staining them. Some people also use floor mats to catch oil drips from cars parked on them, but that’s a poor use of floor mats. Such mats were never designed for the massive weight of a car, after all.