Judo Mats: Harder, softer, bigger?

Can anyone who has grappled on Judo mats as well as standard wrestling mats describe the difference? I've wrestled on wrestling mats my entire life and have never been on any other type of grappling surface (I dont count rolling on pavement during the course of streetfights :), so I have no idea what the difference between Judo mats and wrestling mats are. Could someone describe the differences, however many exist, in terms of thickness, hardness, ease of movement on it, etc.?

i noticed that judo mats are harder but have a lil spring to them, wrestling mats that i been on were way to soft.

just my opinion

wrestling mats are spongy with a surface designed for shoes.

judo mats are firmer and used barefoot. (judo's empahsis on taking out your feet) on wrestling mats there would be alot more broken toes and ankles. They are much better for taking a hard fall.

CF, I was a wrestler all my life (from k-college) I've been doing judo for <4 yrs. now. I'd never go back to any other surface after training on nice judo mats.

I sell martial arts mats for Swain Sports International so I can tell you that there is a big difference between martial arts mats/judo mats versus wrestling mats. First of all the density is very different. A wrestling mat is soft causing you to sink in very easy. With our Swain mats the density is very high which is needed for movement and pivoting. This is important to prevent injuries. The 1.5" thickness of the Swain mat provides great protection when taking falls of hard throws. As far as martial arts are concerned you can't beat the reputation and quality of the Swain mat. Feel free to contact me if at the office with any questions 800-662.4616 ask for ext. 15.

Lee Heitzman

Some judo mats are amazing. The mat at the Kodokan has springs underneath it. It's as soft as landing on pillows. I've taken huge falls from 130kg Japanese top players throwing me as hard as they could with uchimata, and I didn't feel a thing.

I also train on a raised floor. Underneath our mats & framework is 3/4" plywood resting on gymnastic shocks that are not "springy" at all but certainly help when taking a very hard fall.

our tatami are on top of some old wrestling mats. works just fine, no injuries from falls.

Wrestling mats also react more to temperature changes.

Some places use (or used to use) canvas stretched over wrestling mats, which makes for a very fast surface, easy to get mat burn, also hard to clean.

I started out on canvas over carpet over some kind of foam rubber over springs (the judo club was basically working out in a gymnastics facility). Very bad for toes (especially the folds in the carpet) and more or less impossible to do footsweeps, but you could basically land on your head and walk away from it.

At Budokan Seattle they used to have straw tatami with a plastic surface on the outside and lots of duct tape patching. Impact was fine but the surface was like sandpaper (at least the duct tape was smooth). One thing though, they were easier to carry on account of being more rigid.

Now Budokan has the distinctive blue Swain mats, and UW was cool enough to put Swains in multiple rooms as part of their facilities expansion. It's awesome all around.

There is a new style of wrestling mat out that is a vinyl surace over thick foam, opposite of the old 'Resolite" mats (which SUCK) for Judo.

The new type mats are OK for Judo, still a bit too soft, but not too bad. The surface is not sticky.

Ben R.

The Swain Mats are also durable for shoes. They have been used for everything from home training facilities, police training areas, all the way up to the Olympics.

Hey Lee, OK, Swain Mats are great! Maybe you could talk to Kirik and make this the "Swain Tatami" Judo/Sambo Forum, like the BJJ forum is now the "Atama BJJ Forum".

Seriously, you should look into it.

Ben R.

I love Swain mats!


I'll run that idea by the man in charge. Sounds like a good idea to me. Thanks!

Lee, just send me a royalty check for the idea, that's all.

Ben R.

Hi LeeHeitzman
I made an order on Swainsports on 1 of april but the order has not been sent to me yet (i have been waiting over 1 month),and i have tried to contact you guys many times by e-mail but didnt get no answer..

Please help if you read this mail Confirmation Number: 419893212 ,i know the shipping is 52 $ for europe ,thats ok just send the package ASAP and confirm that its sent..


Please email me what the order was for, as well as the name the order was placed under. Also was I your sales representative or did you place this order online? I do not take the internet orders but I will be happy to personally check on your order. I appologize for not answering sooner, but I don't check this page as often as most would think. Again, I will be happy to accomodate your requests if you email the info to me.

my email: lee@swainmats.com

Respectfully, Lee Heitzman


Haha, no problem, but don't be waiting by the mailbox anytime soon! :)


Ben, be realistic. The royalty would come from MMA.tv for bringing in advertisers. You should go for some SSI money on the side by making sure Swain(TM) mats are mentioned on a regular basis, and for swift removal of threads mentioning competing manufacturers, such as


Hi Lee
Thanks,you got mail Subject of the mail - Order Confirmation,the guy from MMA.TV forum

I placed the order online...on 1 of april. Confirmation Number: 419893212

I ordered Judo Resistance Strap $19.99 x 3 $59.97


I think wrestling mats may lead to more knee injuries - the way they sink and snag at your foot, you're just bound to rotate your foot one day and find your foot hasn't moved but your knee has.