two things that have the greatest impact on whether or not
omote will be any good for tameshigiri targets are the quality
of the rush that is used, and how tightly the reeds are woven
together. The higher quality mats are made from rush that is
more mature and is thicker. The thicker reeds will take the
abuse of being walked on for a much longer period of time. The
lower quality mats are made from the younger, thinner, plants.
This type of mat is ideal for tameshigiri because the reeds are
thick enough to give the target good density and stiffness,
not so thick that they pose an increased risk of scratching a
sword's polish or prematurely dulling the edge.
the crop is harvested all of the rush is divided into different
"grades" based on criteria such as thickness, color, and condition.
The thickest and most consistent rush is woven into the tokutokujo
grade mats. The next highest quality rush is woven into the tokujo
grade mats, and so on down the line. Some manufacturer's lay
the reed side-by-side. Other manufacturer's will overlap the
reeds slightly to make a thicker, more robust mat. This second
method produces a nice quality mat even with the lower grade
tightness of the stitching is very important. If the stitching
is loose then the mat will be too flexible. This is not so bad
if the tatami omote will be used on a tatami mat where it is bound
on the edges. However, if the tatami omote will be used for tameshigiri
it will not be stiff enough and will usually bend over when a
cut is attempted.
mats that are made for the Mugen Dachi Company are made from hand-sorted,
selected materials, and assembled to our requirements. We only
use the rush material that is young and soft, and poses no increased
risk of scratching your sword. Our supplier then uses an overlapping
construction and tight weaving to produce the best quality tatami
omote at the lowest possible prices.
What You Are Getting! Some Important Definitions.
different types of mats are on the market now and the terms used
to describe them are usually less than helpful and are sometimes
rather confusing. Always ask what kind of mat and cutting material
you are getting before you buy. If you want Traditional Tatami
Omote then buy from Mugen Dachi with confidence.
Mat: refers to a 2 inch thick mat that measures roughly
1 meter by 2 meters, and is used as a special flooring in Japanese
homes, shrines, etc.
Omote: means "tatami exterior" and is any woven
mat that is actually USED as the covering
on a tatami mat. Beach mats are not
tatami omote because they were never designed to be used as the
cover on a tatami mat.
means "reed carpet, or mat" and generically refers to any of the woven mats that are made
from reeds, grass or straw materials. Tatami omote is goza, so
are beach mats, so are some woven placemats, floormats, and window
common word for juncus effusus, the rush material that is used
to make traditional tatami omote. The word "igusa" is also
used to describe mats that are made from rush materials.
table below lists some of the common types of mats that
are available and how they compare to each other.
It is not a comprehensive list of all mats. The information
on our experience
doing tameshigiri over the years and from working with our
in Japan. Your mileage may vary.
thick, very expensive, and difficult
expensive, and somewhat difficult to
rarely found in the U.S. and a challenge to cut well.
to buy new but great to cut.
Commonly sold as "used" tatami in the U.S. (Very Nice)
New nami grade tatami omote made for tameshigiri
sold "used" tatami in the U.S.
in import stores for about $1 per mat
a reference for people who are familiar with beach mat
a target made from three or four beach mats is similar in
size but not density to a target made from one Mugen Dachi
mat, a target made from
or five beach mats is similar in size but not density to
a target made from one piece of lightly used tokujo or jo grade