Yes, Virginia, there is a way to practice martial arts at home. It doesn’t require the same amount of space you’d see at the gym or a martial arts facility, but it does need dedicated space outfitted to make your practice time at home safe and worthwhile.
If you want to commit to a practice at home, there are a couple of things to consider: what kind of practice will you be doing, will you be doing it alone, how much are you willing to spend to create this space, and what are your personal preferences regarding equipment? Once you’ve answered these questions you can begin to create your own martial arts practice space at home.
What is your discipline? BJJ? Aikido? Judo? If you practice solo, your space requirements will be less than if you’re grappling or doing throws. It can also have an effect on the type of flooring you’ll require. Always put martial arts mats down on a hard surface like hardwood, tile, or concrete. Never practice on carpet: its softness is deceptive and can lead to injury. A textured martial art mat is best, and the thickness can be determined by the type of MA you’re doing and the level of skill you’ve already achieved.
You don’t have to spend your life savings outfitting your new space. Floor mats are relatively inexpensive; you might want to consider using them on the walls, too. Good lighting and whatever additional training equipment you’ll want can be added over time. If you just want to be able to get started before you lose momentum, clear out that garage or corner of the basement, put some mats down, and you’re good to go. Add to your space as funds allow, but always keep your ideal practice space in mind. Don’t waste your time or resources on the latest whistles and bells. A simple practice space will help you keep the mental discipline you’ve worked so hard at.
If you’re a beginner, keeping the practice space simple will help you stay focused on the basics. If you’re more advanced, a simple space will help you focus on the intricacies of movement and strategy. With some adjustments, the padding you use on the floor can be applied to walls to add additional protection. And as finances allow, adding training equipment to your space can increase the versatility of your home gym. A home practice space is an excellent choice, though it’s no substitute for highly-trained instruction. But for extending your martial arts practice, well, there’s no place like home…there’s no place like