FAQs

Do you guys know what you're doing?

I've sent you e-mail but never received a reply, why?

Why do I keep getting Spam from Mugen Dachi?

What is Tatami Omote?

Can I use Tatami Omote on the floor?

Why are Used mats more expensive than the New Tatami Omote?

I've seen tatami that are a nice golden yellow, what's wrong with your mats?

Why are there are so many different names for this kind of mat?

Aren't all the "tatami" mats available pretty much the same?

Why do I have to use Tatami Omote as a target?

Why use Tatami Omote as a target?

Why don't we just use the traditional rice straw?

Why should I use Mugen Dachi tatami?

Is the Mugen Dachi New Tatami Omote the same as Used Tatami?

Isn't using brand new tatami omote a waste of perfectly good mats?

What about discounts, I want discounts, do you have any discounts?

How often may I use the Introductory Discount?

Can I get a rush shipment if I'm in a hurry?

Why do we have to calculate our own shipping charges?

Why is shipping $o expen$ive?

Can I use the same shipping charges for my future orders?

Can I use my own shipper?

Can I drive in from another State to save the shipping charges?

Can I come by and pick up my order?

Why did my tatami take so long to get here after I sent in my order?

Does Mugen Dachi have Distributors outside of the United States?

Does Mugen Dachi ship outside of the United States?

How can I place an order?

Why can't I place an order by fax or phone?

How will I know you have received my order or shipped my tatami?

Do you accept echeck payments through PayPal?

How do I set up a PayPal account to make payments?

What can I do if I want to pay by credit card but don't want to use PayPal?

How long will it take to get my Tatami Omote?

What if I hate your tatami omote, can I return it?

How do I make a target?

Should I put a stick or something in the middle of the target?

How long should I soak the targets?

What can I use for a cutting stand to hold the targets?

I don't have an instructor, am I ready to start cutting?

How do I store my unused tatami omote?

 


 


Do you guys know what you're doing?
FAQ's
We hope so. We started Mugen Dachi in 1999 because we were frustrated with the low quality, high-priced used tatami being the only available target material. We decided that instead of complaining we would try to find a solution. We found and consulted with a supplier in Japan and asked for his advice so that we could provide the highest quality mat at the best possible price. Over the last few years our customers have been very happy with the quality of the tatami and our service and the business has continued to grow. We must be doing something right! Look here for the full story.


I've sent you e-mail but never received a reply, why?
FAQ's
If you've sent us an email but never received a reply from us please accept our apologies. We generally try to respond to inquiries the same business day. In this day and age of spam messages clogging cyberspace there are several reasons why your message may not have reached us. Increasingly harsh ISP filtering and spam-blocking software can block messages based on the originating address, subject line, attachments, or because a virus is detected. Messages that DO NOT contain a subject line run a very high risk of being blocked. Generic subject lines such as "Hi", "Hello", "Question", or "Information" are also likely to be discarded. Subject lines that say, "Tatami Order", "Tatami Question", or something similar, will help us to see your message quickly. We receive over 100 spam messages a day and do the best we can to sort through them.

We have also run into the problem of our replies being deleted or put into the trash folder by a customers e-mail program or their ISP's filtering system. If you have sent us an e-mail and not received a reply, please send it again and please include a phone number where you can be reached.


Why do I keep getting Spam from Mugen Dachi?
FAQ's
Mugen Dachi DOES NOT send out spam email, EVER, and we do not, nor will we ever, sell our customer list. This is another email problem that causes us great frustration and grief. Any spam email that is received from one of our addresses is "spoofed". That is, someone else simply uses our address in the "From" portion of their email software to make the recipient believe the message is valid and from someone they know. Even though this is illegal there is currently no way to keep it from happening.


What is Tatami Omote?
FAQ's
Tatami omote is the "face", or cover, on the traditional Japanese tatami mat. It is only about 1/8 of an inch (2-1/2 to 3 millimeters) thick. Tatami omote is graded mostly by the size, quality, and color consistency of the reed material that is used. The mats can also be made with different weave patterns and are then cut to fit the particular foam or rice straw base that will be used. The one feature that all genuine tatami mats have in common is that the covering is made from the plant Juncus Effusus; the common name of the plant is Soft Rush. Look here for more information about tatami omote.


Can I use Tatami Omote on the floor?
FAQ's
Absolutely! Their intended purpose is to be used as floormats. We have several customers who buy our tatami omote specifically for interior decorating uses. If you want to use our mats on the floor or wall there are some things we want you to be aware of: 1) Our mats are the thin cover used on the thicker tatami mats, NOT the 2 inch thick mats; 2) Our mats are not bound along the edges and the long side is "fuzzy" where the ends stick out; 3) If you use them as flooring you should consider using some "non-slip" material underneath to keep them from sliding around; 4) Do not use the mats in an area that will get wet repeatedly or stay damp. Because they are an all-natural organic material the mats are susceptible to mold and mildew.


Why are Used mats more expensive than the New Tatami Omote?
FAQ's
Used mats are considered trash once the cover is removed from the full-sized tatami mat. The mats are collected from numerous small shops all over Japan. These small quantities are stored somewhere until enough mats are collected to bundle up and send in an ocean container. Each person involved in the process needs to make some money, plus the expense of storing the mats until shipping. By the time the container arrives here the cost has been driven up. Added to that is the cost of storage and distribution in the US.

On the other hand the new mats are made by the thousands using an inexpensive raw material. This quantity of scale, no pre-shipment cost for storage, and the fact that they are only handled by a small number of people before shipping keeps the cost relatively low.


I've seen tatami that are a nice golden yellow, what's wrong with your mats?
FAQ's
Actually, nothing at all. Tatami omote usually has a beautiful green tea color when the mats are first made. As the rush material dries out it begins to change from the light green to the golden yellow color that most people are familiar with. If you put a new green mat in the direct sunlight you can watch the color change very quickly in just a few weeks. If you have mats from us that have changed color don't worry. They will still make great targets, but may need a slightly longer soaking time.


Why are there are so many different names for this kind of mat?
FAQ's
In all languages there are usually multiple names for an item. There is the common name and the scientific name, as well as regional names and slang names for just about everything. Check here for some useful definitions. Always find out what material a mat is made from before you spend your money so you don't get stuck with a poor quality mat that is way too easy to cut. All mats are NOT created equally, or described correctly in advertisements, and target quality can vary greatly!


Aren't all the "tatami" mats available pretty much the same?
FAQ's
No Way! First of all, many of the mats available today, regardless of what they are called by the company selling them, are not really tatami omote. Check here for some helpful definitions. Quite a few vendors are now selling 4 foot by 6 foot mats that are made from materials that will produce a much softer and lower density target which is very easy to cut. Some used tatami omote may also be a problem because the mats can run the range from very high quality to almost completely worn through and generally useless. The problem being that you cannot always be sure what you will get and your targets will not be consistent. Since you usually have to pay higher prices for the Used tatami you should at least get consistent targets.


Why do I have to use Tatami Omote as a target?
FAQ's
You Don't! See the next question down for some good reasons why you might want to use tatami omote for your target cutting practice.


Why use Tatami Omote as a target?
FAQ's
First, let us say that there is no perfect target material, period, including tatami omote. There are certainly other materials that can successfully be used to make cutting targets. Each material will tell you something about your cutting ability based on the visual record of how your blade passed through the target and whether or not you were able to cut all the way through. You have to decide what you are trying to learn, and gain, from your cutting practice before you pick a material to use for your targets.  

Swing angle, edge angle, and tip control are paramount to quality sword technique and can easily be checked or tested. With a good quality target of the right density it is also possible to check whether or not you are developing the power necessary to cut all the way through a target. Sometime during the 19th century the Japanese started using targets made from rolls of rice straw, wrapped tightly around a length of bamboo at the center, and soaked in water. These targets were used because the Japanese found that this was a material which produced a good representation of the muscle and connective tissue in the human body in both density and toughness, the green bamboo has similar cutting properties to bone. Today we use prefabricated tatami omote that closely mimics the old rice straw targets. Inexpensive bamboo or wood dowels can be added to the target to give it a hard center for more advanced students.

We do believe that other target materials can be useful to check certain aspects of your cutting ability. But when you consider all of the qualities necessary for a really good cutting target, tatami omote does a better job and fills a greater number of the requirements than any other material available. And when you look at cost versus the quality of the material, Mugen Dachi gives you more quality for less money than any other supplier. Our New Tatatmi Omote is the best for the majority of your cutting needs.


Why don't we just use the traditional rice straw?
FAQ's
Rice straw is readily available in agricultural areas if you know where to look for it. Most rice farmers would gladly give as much of it away as you want for free if you would just haul it away. The biggest problem with rice straw is the silica content. The most common form of silica that everyone is familiar with is sand. Silica is a very abrasive material and the higher the silica content, the faster and easier a metal object coming into contact with it will be dulled or scratched. The farmers who harvest rice have always had a problem with the metal blades of their cutting equipment dulling quickly. Most plants have a small percentage of silica in their tissue. The silica content of rice straw is very high at 14%-18%, while the Soft Rush that is used for tatami omote is fairly low at 3% or less. This particular problem makes rice straw substantially less desirable as a material for making tameshigiri targets.


Why should I use Mugen Dachi tatami?
FAQ's
Because the Mugen Dachi New Tatami offers you the best value for your money. There are other mats that are cheaper, but you have to use several of them to make one half-decent target. There are mats that are taller and give you more cuts, but they are more expensive and cut easily with very little challenge. There are some mats that are tougher to cut, but they are much more expensive. These other mats all have a use but the bottom line is that for the majority of your cutting exercises you will get more challenging cuts, for a lower cost, from the Mugen Dachi New Tatami than from anything else which is currently available. If you are serious about your training, and improving your cutting skills, you will not find a better material than the Mugen Dachi New Tatami.


Is the Mugen Dachi New Tatami Omote the same as Used Tatami?
FAQ's
Yes and No... Both mats are made from the same material, Soft Rush, but that's where the similarities end. Used mats are... well... used. That means they have been used on the floor, being walked on, for some period of time. Some mats are hardly worn while others are worn almost all the way through from constant use. Because they are flooring the used mats generally contain dirt and other grit that has been ground into the reed fiber. The Mugen Dachi New tatami omote has never been used on the floor so it doesn't contain any dirt or grit that might dull or scratch your sword. Another benefit of the New Tatami Omote is that you don't have to worry about checking for staples before you make your targets. Oh yeah... the new mats don't smell like dirty old feet when you roll your targets and soak them like the used ones do.


Isn't using brand new tatami omote a waste of perfectly good mats?
FAQ's
We get this question every now and then from environmentally conscious customers. The answer is "No". It is not a waste since most of this material was previously burned. One of the most creative ways our supplier was able keep the cost of our tatami omote down was to give new life to a material that was previously discarded. Some of the Soft Rush used in our mats is the by-product of a much higher quality mat that the factory produces. This material is mixed in with some smaller, shorter reeds that can't be used in other mats because of the length. Both of these materials were burned in the past as unusable. The reality is that our New mats are made from a material which has found a new use instead of being trashed, hardly a waste. We also recommend that the pieces of cut mat be used as compost, garden mulch, or put in the "green" recycle since they are made from entirely organic materials.


What about discounts, I want discounts, do you have any discounts?
FAQ's
Well let's see, we have our Introductory Discount if you live in the United States and we have the quantity discounts listed on our Pricing Page. We also strongly believe that it is important to support the Sword Arts and we offer a Special Event discount for seminars and competitions. Please contact us since some restrictions do apply.


How often may I use the Introductory Discount?
FAQ's
Once!!! For the first box of your first order. If you have placed an order with us previously you are not eligible for the Introductory Discount. We know this seems pretty obvious but we have been asked this question. Unfortunately this discount is not available to customers outside the US.


Can I get a rush shipment if I'm in a hurry?
FAQ's
Rush shipments are a bit problematic for us, see why. However, we will always do everything we can to get you an order when you need it. Rush orders must be paid for in advance by credit card using PayPal (See How). If you need to use a faster shipping method as well then UPS has a Three-Day Select service that costs about twice the normal Ground rate. Anything quicker is far too expensive to consider. Please contact us as early as possible if you have a time limitation on an order and we will let you know what is possible.

***Please note that we are not able to accommodate same-day shipping for an order, see why. Special request rush orders that are accepted on Saturday or Sunday will be shipped on Monday. Similar orders accepted on weekdays can be sent out no sooner than the next business day.

***Occasionally we are away for one or two weeks at a time and we do not send out any shipments during that time. A notice will be posted on our website letting you know when we are away.


Why do we have to calculate our own shipping charges?
FAQ's
You don't, we will be happy to do it for you, just ask. Since we are not always immediately available to help you, we provide a way for you to calculate the cost for yourself if you want to. We only charge the actual shipping cost, no handling or packaging fees are ever added. Since shipping charges can be substantial we want you to be able to see for yourself what a shipment will cost so there are no nasty surprises. Our Shipping Page will show you how.


Why is shipping $o expen$ive?
FAQ's
That's actually a question that UPS is probably better suited to answer since they set the rates. However, we can tell you why we use UPS. Their prices are competitive, they offer point-to-point tracking, insurance, and shipping notification, on every package, and they make daily pick-ups. We NEVER charge additional handling fees, only the actual shipping costs. You pay the shipping charges and nothing extra. Please don't forget that our mats weigh just under 2-1/2 pounds each, that's one of the reasons they make such great targets. EACH BOX of 20 mats weighs about 50 pounds and that's a lot of weight to ship.

Some companies are charging up to $5 to $10 more per box than the actual cost of shipping so they don't have to take the extra time time to figure out the shipping or lose money. We may be a bit more of a pain, but then again we aren't trying to make money off of your shipping costs.


Can I use the same shipping charges for my future orders?
FAQ's
No! UPS changes its rates annually and typically has a fuel surcharge that changes as the cost of fuel goes up and down. Please calculate the current shipping charges using the Quick Calculator or on the UPS website whenever you send in an order. Our Shipping Page will show you how. We will be happy to calculate the shipping charges for you if you have a problem, just contact us.


Can I use my own shipper?
FAQ's
We typically use UPS and do not have accounts with other shippers. However, if you are interested in using a shipper of your own choice and making the arrangements for them to meet with us and make the pick up from our storage facility we will make every effort to work with them. For shipments of this type the cost of the order does not include palletizing or loading of the tatami. Please contact us so that we can discuss the specifics of the order and the limitations regarding the pickup.
Please note that we will have to pay someone to wait for the truck to arrive, a $50.00 service fee will be added to the order to cover the expense.


Can I drive in from another State to save the shipping charges?
FAQ's
Yes. Unfortunately California State law requires that we charge sales tax on all purchases made or shipped within California. Out-of-State shipping is usually more expensive than the sales tax but you will have to compare the cost savings to see if the trip is worth the effort. Please see our pricing page for the current tax rate. If you do plan to drive in to pick up an order please contact us well in advance so that we can work out the details with you.


Can I come by and pick up my order?
FAQ's
Absolutely. If you are in the Northern California Bay Area and want to come by to save on the shipping charges please do. California State law requires that we charge sales tax on all purchases made or shipped within California. Since we are web-based and do not have a storefront you should contact us well in advance to set up an appointment and get directions.


Why did my tatami take so long to get here after I sent in my order?
FAQ's
That depends on a few different things, but let's look at the worst-case scenario. You put your order in the mail on Saturday since it's one of the few days you actually have time to do your own stuff. Unfortunately it goes in the mailbox after the last pickup of the day so it doesn't really get picked up until Monday. The Post Office takes longer than usual to deliver it and it doesn't arrive in time for our Thursday pickup. That means that we won't see it until the next week. So we get it during our regular pickup on the next Thursday and process the order for shipping at the beginning of the following week. Worst case again, there's a Monday holiday and UPS isn't working that day. So, ok, your shipment goes out on Tuesday instead and can take five to six business days to get to you. So what's the total delay for this order actually getting to you so you can play with it? About four weeks from the day the order was mailed out to the day the tatami omote shipment arrived at your front door. This doesn't happen very often, but it CAN happen if you snail-mail an order and things that can go wrong, do go wrong. If you use PayPal we will get the order immediately. Why don't we check our mail more often??? See why.


Does Mugen Dachi have Distributors outside of the United States?
FAQ's
Yes, Vass & Slipad in Sweden carries our tatami omote for sale throughout Europe. We have been looking for the right person, group, or business in other countries to carry our tatami omote as well. If you are interested in buying a large quantity at a substantial discount to sell in your country please contact us.


Does Mugen Dachi ship outside of the United States?
FAQ's
Yes, we have successfully shipped to customers in Germany, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Australia, and the Philippines. Shipping outside of the US is expensive and has some restrictions. Please contact us before placing an order if you are interested in purchasing some tatami omote. For more information check our International Orders Page.

Please note that as of May 2007 the United States Postal Service no longer offers Parcel Post Ground shipping. This was the only reasonably priced shipping method for international orders. The lowest priced shipping option currently available is Priority Mail International with a 6-10 day delivery time. If you are willing to pay over $100.00 USD per box of 10 mats please contact us. If not please accept our apologies that we can no longer ship outside of the Continental United States.


How can I place an order?
FAQ's

Currently there are two ways to place an order:

•  Download the PDF order form from our website. New customers who live in the United States please use the Introductory Discount Form, returning customers and international customers should use our Standard Order Form. Please fill out the form completely and snail-mail it along with your payment (check or money order) to the address on the bottom of the form. If you include a valid and legible email addresses you will receive a shipping notification with a tracking number when your shipment is processed. Make sure to allow plenty of time for the order to make its way through the mail system if you place an order this way. Why?

•  Use a credit card and make your payment through the secure servers at PayPal. You will need to set up an account with PayPal if you don't already have one. This just takes a few minutes and you only have to do it the first time. Once your account is set up you can use it to place future orders with us, or anyone else who accepts PayPal payments, in about one minute. To send an order, simply list the number of boxes you want, CA sales tax if required (check here for the current rate), and the shipping charges, in the "Note" section on the PayPal site, then send the order/payment to checkout@tameshigiri.com. That's it, no paper form is necessary, and we receive the order almost immediately. A message confirming your order will be sent, usually within one business day, to the email address used for your PayPal account. Please note that if you decide to use a PayPal echeck we will not send the shipment until the payment is cleared by PayPal.


Why can't I place an order by fax or phone?
FAQ's
In order to keep our costs down as low as possible we have decided not to set up a phone ordering system. Adding a dedicated phone line and the ability to accept credit cards over the phone would add substantially to our expenses and ultimately raise the price of our mats. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you understand.


How will I know you have received my order or shipped my tatami? FAQ's
If you send us an order through PayPal we will send you an order confirmation within 24 hours. We do not send confirmations for snail-mail orders. Please check here to see why snail-mail orders can sometimes take longer than expected. Everyone who supplies a valid and legible e-mail address with their order will receive a shipping notification with tracking numbers from UPS when the order is processed for pickup.


Do you accept echeck payments through PayPal?
FAQ's
Yes we do accept echeck payments. Please be aware that if you decide to use an echeck we will not ship your order until the payment clears. Because echeck payments can be cancelled we do not ship the order until we receive a notification from PayPal that the payment has cleared. Be prepared to wait the additional 5-7 business days for your order to be shipped. We do not have control over this process so please don't ask us to send out your shipment before the payment clears. If you need or want your tatami sooner please use a credit card.


How do I set up a PayPal account to make payments?
FAQ's
Setting up an account with PayPal is simple and quick. Go to PayPal and click on "sign up". The site will walk you through the process in about 5 minutes. Once your account is set up you can send orders using your credit card or checking account in about one minute. If you do use PayPal please be sure to list the number of boxes, CA sales tax if required (check here for the current rate), and the shipping charges in the "Note" section on the site. If you're a new customer don't forget to list that as well. Then send the order/payment to checkout@tameshigiri.com. It's that simple. No paper form is necessary, and we receive the order almost immediately. A message confirming your order will be sent, usually within one business day, to the email address used for your PayPal account. Please note that if you decide to use a PayPal echeck we will not send the shipment until the payment is cleared by PayPal.


What can I do if I want to pay by credit card but don't want to use PayPal?
FAQ's
Unfortunately there is no other option at this time if you want to use a credit card to pay for an order. PayPal is currently the only way that we can accept credit card payments.


How long will it take to get my Tatami Omote?
FAQ's
PayPal orders are received almost instantly and are usually processed within a couple of days. Snail-mail orders are received at our P.O. Box and are picked up once a week on Thursday afternoons, then processed over the weekend for shipment at the beginning of the following week. Make sure to allow plenty of time for the order to make its way through the mail system if you place an order this way. Why?. You can check to see approximately how long it will take for your tatami shipment to arrive once it has been picked up by UPS (weekends and holidays don't count). If you provide us with a valid and legible email address when you place your order we will send you a notification with a tracking number when your shipment is processed.

*** Occasionally we are away for one or two weeks at a time and we do not send out any shipments during that time. A notice will be posted on our website letting you know when we are away.


What if I hate your tatami omote, can I return it?
FAQ's
Gosh... no one has ever hated our tatmi omote that we know of, but yes, we will accept returns and give a full refund of the purchase price within 30 days of the order for multiple box orders. The returned boxes must be UNOPENED and in their original condition. Return shipping charges are the responsibility of the purchaser. Please contact us for a return authorization before sending a shipment back. Shipments that are returned without authorization will be refused and returned to the sender at their expense. Refunds will be processed as soon as the returned shipment is received and inspected.


How do I make a target?
FAQ's
We have lots of information letting you know how to make targets, including printable PDF instructions and illustrations. We also send out an Instruction Sheet with every order we ship.


Should I put a stick or something in the middle of the target?
FAQ's
Traditional rice straw targets had a piece of bamboo at the center but we do not recommend this practice unless you have been cutting for some time. If your edge angle and swing angle are not exact you risk the possibility of bending your sword or chipping/cracking the edge. Your instructor will be able to tell you when you are ready to put something in the center of your tatami targets or start cutting bamboo.


How long should I soak the targets?
FAQ's
When it is dark green our tatami omote draws up water very quickly. If you are in a hurry 4 hours should be a sufficient minimum time for soaking if the targets are fully immersed. Using warm water will help. For better results we normally soak our new tatami omote targets for at least 10-12 hours. Increased soaking time does not hurt the tatami and will produce a heavier, more dense, target. Maximum density is reached in about 30 hours. Our new tatami omote can be soaked continuously for several days without softening or losing any stiffness or density. Multiple mat targets should be soaked for 24 hours, or longer, depending on the number of mats used. As the tatami ages, the color lightens, and the targets may require longer soaking times. Stand all targets up vertically in a shaded area for 30 to 60 minutes before cutting to drain off excess water. When draining the targets keep them out of the direct sunlight or strong breezes or they may dry out.


What can I use for a cutting stand to hold the targets?
FAQ's
Our website has instructions that explain how to build your own cutting stand. A picture, materials list, and written instructions are all available for free. Just download what you need to get started. It's easy and a great way to save some money, give it a try.


I don't have an instructor but I watched a great video and bought a sword, am I ready to start cutting?
FAQ's
NO! You should work with a qualified instructor before attempting to do any cutting. Buddies, books, videos, and the general "I can do it on my own" approach do not prepare you to cut safely. Many bad habits will be built into your technique that will be difficult, if not impossible, to correct later. Even if you only work with a well-trained, qualified instructor a few times you will be much better prepared to do your cutting practice safely. Cutting is a relatively easy thing to do, doing all of the cuts well, under different circumstances, takes a great deal of training under a good instructor to accomplish. If all you want to do is to hack on something then it would be a waste of your money and time to purchase our mats.   If you are dedicated to your training and want to improve your cutting skills you will find that our tatami omote is very challenging.


How do I store my unused tatami omote?
FAQ's
Tatami omote is an organic material and is susceptible to mold and mildew if it is allowed to get wet or stay damp for any length of time. Store your unused mats in a dry area out of the direct sunlight. Heat and cold should not effect the mats unless condensation occurs. Do not store a cardboard box with mats directly on the dirt or on a cement floor.

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