TATAMI CUTTING MATS – The Japanese used to practice body cuts on convicted criminals who were already slated for execution. The sword testers would line up several prisoners to see if they were skilled enough, and swords were sharp enough, to go completely through in a single cut. They would then check the blades to see if any damage occurred on the cutting edge. After some time, it became illegal to test cut on criminals in modern day Japan. At this time they found that using a water soaked, bound rice straw mat with a bamboo weaved core would simulate various human body parts. One bound matt was deemed to be the same density a human arm, leg or neck. Putting 3 together would be equal to cutting through a torso. Once you cut through one of these mats you will see how scary these TFW bladed weapons must have been in actual combat. Here is the best method we at TFW have found for preparing the mats for cutting: Soak them for approximately 24 hours. Stand them up and let them dry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before cutting.
Many TFW collectors like to test cut with their new swords and knives. Here you can get a great deal if you purchase a set of 3 tatami mats: http://traditionalfilipinoweapons.com/shop/tatami-mats-set-of-3/