Review by Guy Power Sensei

Thank you to Sensei Guy Power for his time and efforts on our behalf and for his permission to use the article on our website. Power Sensei originally wrote the review for the Electronic Journal of Martial Arts and Sciences and placed a copy of the review on the E-budo forum site as well. Please be sure to visit the Kenshinkan, EJMAS, and E-Budo websites.

NOTE: Some of the numbers listed in the review for the Mugen Dachi New Tatami are no longer correct. We have listed the current price and discount quantities in (red) next to the original text.


Mats for Cutting
By Guy Power
Copyright © 2000 Guy Power. All rights reserved.

I used to get the tatami-omote I use for test-cutting through a friend in Japan. The tatami-omote were good and inexpensive (free); however, they were used and the tatamiya-san was happy for my friend to come around to collect his garbage! But they arrived dirty, and musty, smelly, moldy, and always took my breath away when I opened the package. Once I even found "dani" (mites) crawling around --- Eewwwwww!

Then my friend went to England, leaving me madly looking for inexpensive material to cut. I ended up buying beach mats from wherever I could find them. Then I discovered Mugen Dachi, which sells brand new, unused, fresh, clean, green tatami-omote. So new in fact, that the ends have not been trimmed to fit the tatami; the ends are little "bushy" when rolled up and you may require an extra 1/4" (6 mm) of spike to firmly seat their makiwara.

So on July 22, 2000 I conducted a test to compare commercially available beach mats and Mugen Dachi ( tatami coverings. This report is the findings of my test.

Mugen Dachi Tatami-omote
The Mugen Dachi mats are made of new double-ply construction. They are purpose-made by a Japanese company for the tatami trade and are used as the top cover on Japanese tatami floor mats. These tatami-omote - as they are called in Japanese - measure approximately 6' x 3' (70" x 35", 178 cm x 89 cm) and are 4" (10 cm) in diameter when rolled and fully soaked. After draining, they are heavy and stiff. Throughout this report I will refer to Mugen Dachi's product as "tatami-omote." Cost: US $3.50 ($3.80) each (lower prices are available for larger quantities).
Retailer: Mugen Dachi

Beach Mats
These Chinese-made mats are sold as beach mats and have thin colored cloth borders with two tie-down straps sewn along the perimeter of the short sides. These beach mats are of a flat single-ply construction and are very thin compared to the robustness of the fibers used in the Mugen Dachi tatami-omote. One mat rolled up measures about 1.5" (3.8 cm) in diameter when soaked for eight hours, and is very flexible. Three mats rolled together measure about 4.25" (10.8 cm) after soaking; however, they are still flexible and pliable compared to tatami-omote.

Throughout this report I will refer to this product as a "beach mat." Cost: About US $1.25 each.
Retailer: Various shops in San Francisco's Chinatown; Pier 1 Imports; etc.

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