Yes, I for one am looking forward to getting back on the dojo floor training mats. We used to train exclusively on mats in the former location. While at our temporary dojo we have had the opportunity to work out and train on carpet and on a gym floor (I hope you did not miss that training session!). Of course, outside of a few weeks on the “old mats” we have spent most of our time training on carpet. The new dojo will again have training mats and it will be an almost new experience getting used to training on mats.
I practice at home on carpet and at the gym on wooden floors (after racquetball I run kata on a gym floor). Each time I switch surfaces, I notice that I have to stop and pay attention to some of my moves as my feet transition differently on each surface.
In the most generic terms, floors seem to come in two broad categories: hard or soft. Harder training floors are generally faster but lack padding. Softer floors have more padding but are sometimes squishy and generally slower. For the recent black belt test the candidates kicked and performed kata on the carpeted concrete floor in the temporary dojo; this was a “hard surface.” We also used a double layer of mats brought in for the purpose of self-defense and fighting; this was our “soft surface,” and it was better being thrown on this surface than the carpet!
The carpet system in our temporary home has some advantages. We will not always meet opponents on dojo mats or gym floors. This is good training in multiple settings. In addition, the one foot squares appeal to me during kata and other drills when I am looking for square edges and marks on where I am going. Today in kick class we worked on skipping from one square to another and the students liked the drill on the carpet patterns.
We have a lot of room in the temporary carpeted dojo. As we move to a smaller space, are we going to lose something? Do our temporary large surroundings give large quality skills? No, those skills we learn are not from the room or even the floor. We learn skills from our quality instructors. I am sure that if we would travel to Okinawa we would not see roomy, fancy, well-appointed facilities. It is likely that the opposite is the case and most, not all, would be small and dimly lit. That would not diminish the karate teaching.
So, Sensei Glen, are you saying we need Spartan surroundings to produce Spartan warriors? (I did graduate from Michigan State University, home of the Spartans.) No, Spartan surroundings do not make Spartan warriors. I am positive the new dojo will have what we need to become successful.
Success comes from the inside and not the floor covering. I am still looking forward to seeing the training mats as a part of the new dojo. How about you? See you in class soon.