1 inch Martial Arts Mats for Karate and Yoga
By Brett Hart
There’s no doubt about it, 32-year martial arts veteran David Younglove knows the importance of a proper foundation.
Beginning his training as a martial artist in 1983, Mr. Younglove earned his first blackbelt and began teaching Karate by the age of 17. A Minnesota state champion, Mr. Younglove joined the U.S. Marine Corp in the early 1990s where he trained Thailand Marines in hand-to-hand combat.
”We taught on just carpet over cement in those days and if you fell, it was just terrible,” Mr. Younglove said. ”The first generation of mats… we put in martial arts schools were just terrible. They were very hard. They were very grippy on the feet.”
Despite these less-than-ideal training surfaces, Mr. Younglove continued to pursue his passion for martial arts and, from 2012 to 2014, he was the top-ranked North Central Karate Association (NCKA) competitor in traditional form for 40-49 year olds.
In July of last year, this sixth-degree blackbelt finally found the perfect martial arts flooring on Greatmats.com – 1 inch thick foam karate mats. These 1×1 meter interlocking foam tiles, designed to look like wood floors, have a leather-like, waterproof surface that provides both proper stability and cushion.
”I’ve tried many of the others in all of our different schools – and (talked to) other owners,” Mr. Younglove said. ”These are by far and large the best that I’ve found.”
”I went to different martial arts owners and worked out on their floors. I looked at the Swains; I looked at the Zebra mats and all the different ones, and I got some samples.”
After inspecting a free sample of the Greatmats Karate Mats, Mr. Younglove purchased three tiles and snapped them together for a test.
”(I) just did a few moves on them and decided by far and large, it had the most support, but also had the most cushion at the same time,” Mr. Younglove said. ”It works out great.”
In fact, he liked them so much that he not only purchased them as his dojo flooring at USA Karate in Rosemount, Minn., but also for his yoga studio in the same building.
”I have a dual studio,” Mr. Younglove said. ”We incorporate a full yoga program with our full martial arts program. At this facility we have two classrooms. Kids can be taking karate class and mom can be taking yoga class simultaneously. I put it in the yoga side and, to my knowledge, we’re the only yoga studio that has a padded floor. We’re constantly on our knees and on our elbows and a lot of our population is 40 and over. We have some 70 year olds taking class. It is very gentle on the joints. It also really challenges your balance.”
Mr. Younglove noted that it took about six months of regular use to fully break in the flooring, which was a bit slippery to start, but it was well worth the patience, knowing that he offers yet another tool in helping his students build the best foundation in self-esteem with a positive and safe learning environment.