You Do the Mats - Further Thoughts on Setting Tatamis for a Seminar
We had a great seminar with Osawa Sensei in October, and the mats did not move at all during that period. A few things could have been better though, so I'm following up on my last post on setting up mats.
Missing Trucks and Plan Bs
The storage for tatamis is 40 minutes away, with a bridge and lots of highways. Believe it or not, we got a call from the truck company at 5:30pm (the time of the pick up) telling us the truck had been in an accident and there was no other truck available.
Here we are, four of us, with a car, and 200 mats to move to a location 40 minutes away from Montreal, on the eve of the seminar... My stomach was turning to ash...
Thankfully, we managed to find a company quickly that had a free driver. In all, we lost 40 minutes on the schedule, and everything else went well.
We were VERY lucky!
So my lesson is this: have a plan B for moving the mat, because the impossible is possible.
One of the comments I got from my previous post on tatamis was that it was hard to visualize the patterns. I've fought with my computer to bring you these images for a square mat:
And a slightly rectangular one:
A More Rectangular Pattern
The gym we rented was not the usual shape. Slightly narrower, but it meant the pattern that we had in mind did not fit. It was too wide by a few inches, but we lost two rows of mats.
Thankfully, there was enough room anyway, but we could have chosen an even narrower pattern for a total of 210 mats:
Start with a square pattern of five tiles, then add four rows of tiles on each sides to create a narrow rectangle, then add two layers of brick pattern around.
Square or Rectangle and the Distribution Pattern of Aikidokas on the Mat
I noticed during the seminar that, as the kamiza was in the center of the long side, the aikidokas moved back to the center quickly for demonstrations, but failed to distribute themselves as evenly as with a square pattern. The result is a clear gradient of concentration where the people near the center tend to bee too packed, and the people on the long sides tend to have lots and lots of space. You probably noticed this before, but the overall shape has a dramatic impact on the distribution pattern.
Different People for Setting up and Removal
Finally, as we were removing the tatamis at the end of the seminar, it dawned on me: two different people can be in charge of set up and removal... It would help spread the loa- I mean, the love!