the home dojo the author built
Photo Courtesy of Erik Landreth

The February/March 2022 issue of Black Belt includes an insightful story by Erik Landreth in which he recounts the process of building a home dojo for his family. In the article, he mentions and shows a variety of products; the links are provided here.

Author Erik Landreth on home training: "We became frustrated whenever we’d whack a wall with a weapon or bump into a piece of furniture. That’s when we started playing the what-if game. What if we were to dedicate a room for karate training? What if we were to convert a room?

"Trouble is, we didn’t have a spare room. However, we did have a two-car garage that was full of things we could live without. My wife was already engaged in spring cleaning, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dispose of some things we no longer used. We wound up getting rid of 80 percent of the garage’s clutter.

"Why were we building a dojo? Well, parents install home basketball hoops all the time, so why not a home dojo? My family was in love with martial arts, and the training instilled in all of us confidence and discipline that would continue to be nurtured over time."

Century rollout mat for the home dojo

Home Tatami Rollout Mat — 5' x 10' x 1.25" Thick

From Erik Landreth: "On top [of the underlayment] would go a set of 1.5-inch-thick tatami mats from Century Martial Arts. They proved to be a game changer. The tatami mats felt radically different from the puzzle mats. When we slid our feet across them, it was a perfect balance of firmness and give, and that made a great difference in our training."

wooden frame for martial arts mat

Three Piece Oak Mat Frame

From Erik Landreth: "I also used Century’s wooden mat frame to make sure the tatami sections wouldn’t swim around the floor."

From Century: You’ve already begun setting up the ultimate customized gym space. You’ve got the equipment and the floorplan all laid out. You’ve got the conveniently easy to assemble, custom floor mats. Now you just need that finishing touch. The one thing that you didn’t realize was missing from the classic training floor look to hold it all together. The edge work. The wood frames that really make the look and hold it together. Simple, clean, elegant. Professional.


The Wavemaster XXL freestanding bad from Century

Century XXL Wavemaster

From Erik Landreth: "I managed to acquire a Century XXL Wavemaster and a Century Kid Kick. Now we all could do bag work together."

From Century: A large simply wasn’t big enough. Neither was an XL. But an XXL Wavemaster? Now we’re talking! This largest addition to the Wavemaster line, the XXL has more than twice the striking area of the original. The bag section itself is a whopping 52” inches tall with an 18” diameter. When locked onto its base, the bag stands a total of 69” tall – unless you plan on fighting Shaq, that’s plenty tall for practicing head kicks.

Like our other Wavemaster bags, the XXL is easy to move and relocate. Just tip it onto the edge of the base and rotate to roll. This design makes it ideal for use in home and apartment use because it’s not locked in to one location. Training in your garage? Sure! Roll the XXL out for a few hours, then roll it into a corner and park your car overnight. When filled with sand or water, the base weights up to 270 lbs. That’s heavy enough for kicks, knee strikes, elbows – anything you want to hit it with!

The Kid Kick free-standing bag from Century

Century Kid Kick Wavemaster

From Century: Ideal for young martial artists, the Kid Kick Wavemaster features four height adjustments from 37" to 52" and a rounded base for easy roll relocation. Made of durable nylon with inner high impact foam, it is great for practicing punches and strikes. Weighs approximately 170 lbs. when base is filled.

ActionFlex padded weapons from Century

ActionFlex Padded Weapons

From Erik Landreth: "We opted to buy both a wooden bo and a foam training bo that bears the ActionFlex name. The latter is ideal for use in an environment where kids are wielding weapons in confined spaces."

From Century: The ActionFlex padded staff is ideal for developing fighting strategy and technique. Made with sure-grip shock absorbing material, this ActionFlex staff is designed to allow students to spar and practice without holding back. It is always recommended that participants wear padded weapons headgear.

The Versys VS. BOB training dummy from Century

Versys VS. BOB

From Erik Landreth: "The only things we left on the tatami were our free-standing bags and Century’s Versys VS. BOB. (I opted for this incarnation of BOB because I liked the idea of being able to practice techniques full force on a life-like target when I was alone.)"

From Century: Combining the best-of-the-best features from both the Versys and BOB lines, VS. BOB is one of the most versatile bags on the market. Although you can’t see it under the black vinyl cover, there is a full BOB torso within this bag for striking training, as well as the classic BOB face for practicing eye gouges, throat and neck strikes, and more self-defense techniques. The arms, which are filled with a soft padding, can be used for trapping, as well as bobbing and weaving, parrying, and other moves that involve working around an opponent’s arms.

Moving down: VS. BOB stands tall on three dense foam legs. This tripod stance allows users to work on inside and outside leg kicks, attacks on the knees, and groin shots. The three sections that form a triangle connecting his feet are sand weights. Each section weighs slightly over 36 lbs., for a total weight of 110 lbs. VS BOB stands 69” tall. 46 of those inches are in his legs; the rest is torso and head (18” – keep in mind, although his legs are 46” long, they extend out at angles so not all that length translates to height).

man standing in front of a Century Torrent free-standing bag Photo Courtesy of Erik Landreth

Torrent T2 Pro

From Century: Train hard with the Torrent T2 Pro! The T2 was made with innovative product features, like a two-part stem and hook-and-loop tension lock that attaches the cover of the bag to the base, to give a more realistic feel when struck. 18" DIA (top) 24" DIA (base) Approx. 250 lbs. when filled.

From Erik Landreth: "Close to half a year has passed between the time my family built our home dojo and the publication of this article in Black Belt. This update, which is being written right before press time, gives me a chance to happily report that our hunger to learn karate continues to grow, as does our fitness level."

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