More on Making a Target Using Tatami Omote

The technique for rolling a target is the similar no matter
what size, or how many mats you use.

1) Take your half, full, or double/triple/etc. mat, and lay it flat on the clean floor or tarp.

To make rolling much easier you can use a long dowel (40”- 48”) that is 1/8 of an inch smaller in diameter than the peg you use on your cutting stand. Place the dowel along the short edge of the mat and start rolling the mat around the dowel toward the opposite end. You can make targets without a dowel, but you should check the fit of the peg from your cutting stand when you are done to be sure it fits into the center of the target snugly. It is very important to push firmly as you roll the target, making sure to keep all the layers of the tatami rolled together as tightly as possible. A target that has air gaps and is rolled loosely will lack stiffness and be difficult to cut.

For targets made with two or more mats, roll the mat tightly all the way to the end and continue with step 4.

When you have rolled the mat to within 14-18 inches of the loose end, grab the far edge, bring it back towards you, and slide the loose end of the mat under the section you are rolling. Continue rolling the mat tightly until you have no more to roll. At this point, with the mat rolled as far as possible, you can flatten the end with the heel of your hand or a wooden peg.

Keeping the mat rolled tightly, tie a string approximately 2-3 inches from the end of the target and repeat the process at the other end. With the two ends tied, you can tie a third string around the center of the target. For a more traditional look tie the target between the center tie and each of the end ties. Carefully remove the dowel making sure the tatami stays in place.

Don’t forget to remove the dowel before you soak and cut the target!

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.

See how it's done with this visual guide to making a target.

To help make things a bit easier we have provided the following PDF files

Make a Target (text) | Make a Target (illustrations) | Make a Cutting Stand

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free to easily view and print PDF Files
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Our tatami omote is made from 100% organic materials. Please make sure to recycle the cut mats if possible. Many communities provide "Green" containers for this purpose. Some of our customers even use the cut pieces as a mulch or weed block.

Test cutting can be very dangerous for the practitioner and those nearby. Do not attempt to do any test cutting without first getting qualified guidance from a trained instructor. Make sure that your equipment is in good working order and that the area is clear of people and obstructions. ALWAYS check to make sure that the mekugi (peg) in the sword handle is in good condition and firmly in place before starting. We strongly recommend the use of two pegs for an additional margin of safety. Please read and follow all instructions.
The Mugen Dachi company,, and its owners are not liable for
any accidents, injuries, or damage that occur during the use of our products.

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