06 May 2011

Mat Stickiness

So most of April was a total write off for me.  I managed a grand total of 6 training session;  injuries and holidays are bad for Jiu-Jitsu!

One thing I’ve rarely paid is the mats I train on.  My gym has old worn out PVC rubber mats that have lost the ridges and gloss.  In other words you could never use them as a slippery slide. 

I’m musing whether or not one type of mat in particular stifles the learning of BJJ.  Other mats I’ve trained on are the opposite;  they are so slippery that you can slip and slide on them if you wear socks.

I wonder how would this effect the development of a person’s Jiu-Jitsu. Would having low friction mats enable the person to develop excellent hip movement from underneath.  Promote a more flowing game and fun rolls?  Would high friction mats promote more reversals than escapes,  and make it harder for the person underneath to move or escape?  My experience is this – on high friction mats it’s physically easier to wait for a timed roll or reversal than it is to escape by moving on the mat.  Would one mat promote an overall more well rounded game than the other?

Or are both fine and good to train on?

Take tennis as an example.  The surface of the court makes a massive difference.  A person who only ever trains on a hard surface courts usually really struggles when they play on a clay surface and vice versa.  They develop very different games, and if you’ve watched matches on both types of courts you would notice that they style of tennis even looks different.

From my observation of video’s released on Jiu-Jitsu it seems more places have low friction mats than they do high friction mats.   So I wonder, am I doing myself a disservice by training at a gym that has extremely high friction mats?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen any good conversation around this as applied to Jiu-Jitsu and grappling.