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Foam machete for funny free sparing

If you are a martial artist you certainly know these puzzle mats covering the floor of training rooms.

 A mat element

The mats come in elements of one square meter each, with several possible thicknesses. In our case, they are 2 centimeters thick. You need to remove the edges to combine several elements in order to have a continuous covering of the floor.

Remove edges from the element


What can we do with these edges? They seem useless. I decided to keep them, waiting for an idea to use them.

As I was training in machete combat system, I had the idea to combine two edges to make a strip, and cut the strip in a sword or machete shape. Of course, the sword must not be too long if you want some rigidity.

Combine the edges two by two


Cut the strips to have a machete


To improve the rigidity and the durability of the machete I surrounded them with duct tape.


Finished machetes


Improved model with a striping of the grip with string

I tested these machetes with children and they asked for scabbards. We made them with cardboard.










A machete with a cardboard scabbard

Of course these machetes are not good simulators in the sens oh HEMA since they are too light and to flexible to be good training swords. Despite of this point, they can be secure tools for free sparring, as a warm up for instance, or with children. This is also a good cardio-training. In fact, this foam machete is very quick. It is difficult but still possible to parry. The main lesson is that we receive many hits on the weapon hand (no guard). We quickly learnt to protect it. Another interesting point is that, when you succeed to parry, you must attack back immediately, or the opponent attacks again, and this time often touches you.