Now, some background about mats, and Aikido. Tatami mats are a traditional Japanese mat used for Martial Arts, sleeping, and flooring in general. They're normally constructed out of a top layer of woven straw, and an inner packing of rice straw. Most importantly, you should always take off your shoes before you walk on a Tatami mat.
Aikido is a Japanese art with, literally translated, means something to the effect of "way of the harmonious spirit". The emphasis in Aikido is using your opponent's force to deal with their attack, and disable them while leaving them with their dignity. The idea is that they will figure out that anything they try to do to you will result in their getting thrown on the ground, and rather than seeking revenge for an injury they will give up. One of the first things you learn in Aikido is falling. This teaches you how to fall safely, builds up the impact-resistance of your body, and gives you a way to safely feel where the power of a technique is applied without getting injured. Because a person studying Aikido knows how to fall, they are not injured (hopefully), by a technique practised on them, and they can continue the practise for several hours. An attacker who didn't know these techniques, however, wouldn't be able to keep up that long.
That being said, all of this background information is either from Wikipedia, an essayessay I've read on the web, the few classes I've taken, or what little I've picked up on the way, and I won't try to guarantee the accuracy of any of it.
On to the Instructable.
(The following image is a picture of an awesome, albeit poorly executed roll. DO NOT TRY IT! What I am doing here is STUPID. A poorly executed roll would send my head and neck into the wall or the concrete floor beneath the mat, likely breaking them. If you want to do this stuff, make a bigger mat, and take Aikido. To be fair, I've only done this twice so that I don't break something. )
Step 1: Gather the MATerials
-Card board boxes (U-Haul medium size is what I used. it's about square and about body sized)
-News paper (I used unprinted because that's what I had. If it's not already crumpled, crumple it)
You'll need LOTS of all of these depending on the mat size you want. I used about half of a medium sized boxes of bubble wrap and one of news paper. You'll also need a fair amount of duct tape, and a knife (if the boxes are taped together).
Step 2: Flatten and Begin Layering
Step 3: Tape It Down
Once you've taped from top to bottom, tape orthogonally (perpendicular-ly) on those pieces of tape (see picture for details). This will keep the tape from coming undone when pressure is applied to the centre. Do the same on the bottom.
You should probably also tape the flaps of the box (on the top at least) so that you don't get caught on them or trip on them or whatever. You want this surface to be as flat as possible.
Step 4: You're Finished. Make More!
I made a second mad and taped them together. I used strips that crossed the boxes and then taped orthogonally over them. You'll see in the picture.
On my first roll I reached the join between the two mats and my shoulder slammed into the ground, causing my back to hit the second mat pretty hard. I added padding to fix that (see the third picture).
Step 5: Use It!
Please don't try rolls like that unless someone has taught you, especially not on a mat over a concrete floor. What you see me doing in the opening picture is DUMB. A poorly executed roll could smash my head into the floor, which is why I only tried it twice. And if you want to try anything dangerous, get a real mat.
I'm pretty pleased with the quality of the mat. What it lacks in padding it makes up for in awesomeness, and even then it's much, much better than a concrete floor.
Thanks for reading.