Jigsaw mats have become a mainstay of many martial arts schools due to their ability to fit in most spaces, but they’ve never fully replaced the durability and impact absorption of wrestling mats. Taking repeated falls, especially for practitioners who have aged out of their teens and twenties, can be enough of a roadblock to prevent them from training altogether. Good mats are more crucial than a lot of teachers realize.

I ran into this problem when I started up my newest program. I found a great location with high ceilings and plenty of square footage. The catch was that the floor was smooth tile. This can be tough on bare feet for long classes, and brutal for taking falls. I realized I needed a competent mat solution, and fast.

I decided to reach out to Resilite once I discovered their zip up mat in order to get one for usage and review. I figured it might be worth a look!

Why the Zip Mat Caught My Eye

Resilite is a company with a strong existing reputation, which is one of the reasons I reached out to them first when looking for mats. In addition, their Lightweight Mat with Zip Connection has technology that allows two mat pieces to lock together without the need for mat tape. Since I don’t own my training space, I knew I would have to do mat setup and tear down each class. That meant speed and ease of setup were crucial.

Although in our style of karate we don’t usually take as many big falls as a style like jujitsu, we often move around during our techniques. That meant I needed a mat with some extra space so that we weren’t tripping and throwing each other off the side and onto the hard floor. One 5’x10′ crash mat wasn’t going to cut it, but the 10’x10′ Zip Mat might.

My Findings After a Month of Usage

Here are a couple of my key takeaways after using the Resilite for about a month:

  • Getting the hang of the zip up feature took some getting used to. The mat comes with glide wipes, after which you line up the two pieces and snap them together. If you don’t have the pieces lined up properly, they don’t connect and you end up smushing the zips into each other with little effect. However, after a couple of reps, I found the proper technique. One thing I don’t have which would make the process even easier is a roller, which you can see here:

With that, you don’t have to go hands-and-knees or walk along the seal. The roller does a much more efficient jump.

  • Rolling the mats out and picking them up is surprisingly easy. You would expect the pieces to be heavy and bulky, slipping around as you try to harness them. Not the case here. Plopping the mat down and rolling it open, or curling it back up after use takes a matter of seconds.
  • The impact absorption feels good. Resilite seems to have struck a balance between being too firm and too soft. A mat that is too firm misses the point of having a mat altogether. I’ve found this with some of the tatami options I’ve tried. Mats that are too soft can protect the user, but are difficult to move around on and don’t help the practitioner in learning how to develop good falling skills.
  • The mat is pre-marked, which saves time and effort. The circular white marking and starting lines are already on the mat when you receive it, so you don’t have to do it yourself. Of course, if you were hoping for a completely blank mat top, you might have to reach out to Resilite to find a solution.

Where to Get One

If you’re in the hunt for a good crash mat that strikes a balance between impact absorption and usability, I would recommend this product. It is working well for me and my students, and I’m looking forward to getting years of action out of it.

To browse mats for all sports (wrestling, gymnastics, etc.), click this link.

To browse the specific mat I’ve described here, click this link.