Greatmats Gives Back to its Earliest Martial Arts Mats Customers

Greatmats Superfan Contest: Martial Arts Edition

Greatmats wants to honor its earliest martial arts mats customers through its Greatmats Superfan Contest.

Aug. 17, 2016 — Wisconsin-based specialty flooring company Greatmats is looking to honor its earliest martial arts mats customers. Founded in 1999, Greatmats has become one of the most respected supplier of martial arts mats in the United States. Starting with karate mats, Greatmats selection of martial arts mats has grown to including mats specifically designed for taekwondo, judo, jiu jitsu, grappling and mixed martial arts.

As a thank you to its earliest customers, Greatmats is offering an opportunity for anyone who purchased its martial arts mats at least 10 years ago to receive up to $100 in cash and have their story and/or business featured on greatmats.com and its social media site.

For more details on the contest and prizes, visit http://www.greatmats.com/martial-arts-mats/greamats-superfan-contest-martial-arts-edition.php.

Greatmats 1" karate mats

Greatmats entered the martial arts business with a line of karate mats.

2016 American Grappling Federation Arkansas Open Highlighted by Team LDMA

Greatmats Kids Gi Grappling Arkansas

Youth Gi Grappling Action at 2016 AGF Arkansas Open, sponsored by Greatmats

July 21, 2016 – Team LDMA (Living Defense martial Arts) tore through the American Grappling Federations 2016 Arkansas Open on July 16, winning the team title by nearly 250 points. The Sherwood, Arkansas-based team racked up the majority of its 563 overall points in the Kids Gi Division where it tallied a tournament-best 201 points. Team LDMA also won the Kids No Gi Division, with 106 points, and the Adults Gi Division with 158 points – and placed second in the Adults No Gi Division.

Taking second in the overall team standings was West Side MMA, which tallied 315 points and won the Adults No Gi Division with 138 points, and placed second in the Adults Gi Division.

Rubalcava Jiu-Jitsu was the third place overall team with 225 points – and was the third place place team in both the Adults No Gi and Adults Gi Divisions as well as the Kids No Gi Division.

Rock City MMA was runner up in both the Kids No Gi and Kids Gi Divisions’ team standings and placed fourth overall with 206 points.

Eighty-eight teams recorded points at the tournament. Rounding out the top 10 were: BQuick JJ (129 points), Cerberus BJJ (96 points), Nemesis Jiu Jitsu (68 points), Lawrence County Boxing (62 points), MHBJJA (60 points) and Searcy Wrestling Club (42 points).

Greatmats sponsored the 2016 AGF Arkansas Open and is accepting entries from attendees at the event in its Greatmats Photobomb Contest. The contest is open to anyone attending a 2016 AGF event and offers prizes after the completion of each event as well as a grand prize at the end of the tournament season.

Learn more about American Grappling Federation Tournaments and athletes by visiting Greatmats’ AGF Tournament Resource Page.

Greatmats sponsored 2016 AGF Arkansas Open

Adult Gi Grapplings at 2016 American Grappling Federation Arkansas Open

Jessica Duncan opens doors with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

World Championships Medalist Jessica Duncan at AGF Columbus BJJ Championships

Jessica Duncan competes at the 2016 American Grappling Federation Columbus BJJ Championships

By Brett Hart 

JUNE 24, 2016 – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) has provided direction and opened doors Jessica Duncan never would have imagined. This 29-year-old world BJJ medalist has not only excelled on the mat, but has used BJJ for personal and professional guidance.

Originally looking to get into Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Duncan joined a gym to take Muay Thai classes and was quickly convinced by one of the coaches to try BJJ. It was love at first roll.

Greatmats featured athlete Jessica Duncan was a bronze medalist at the IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championships

Jessica Duncan placed third at the IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championships as a blue belt

”I went from never having trained BJJ at all to training two times a day,” Duncan said.
That was almost exactly four years ago to this day!

Six months after receiving her blue belt, Duncan placed third at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) World Jiu Jitsu Championships.

”I had two submissions, both triangles, which was really exciting,” Duncan said.

Now a purple belt, Duncan has found herself on the podium numerous times in both her weight class and the open class at the IBJJF Atlanta Open and IBJJ Chicago Open in both Gi and No Gi competition.

”I love learning, and Jiu Jitsu is basically an endless journey of learning, especially with how rapidly the sport has been evolving,” Duncan said. ”Jiu Jitsu allows me to challenge myself constantly, and basically teaches me on a daily basis how to be a better version of myself. At the end of a long day, there is really nothing else I would rather do than hang out with my second family, train hard, and have fun!”

Duncan wins Greatmats Sponsored 2016 AGF Columbus BJJ Championships

2016 AGF Columbus BJJ Champion Jessica Duncan

Most recently, Duncan, who trains and instructs under 8th Degree Black Belt Master Ricardo Murgel at Union Team BJJ in Alpharetta, Ga., earned a gold medal in her weight class at the IBJJF Atlanta Pro on April 30 and gave up 37 pounds to compete in the American Grappling Federation (AGF) Columbus BJJ Championships Adult Female Purple Belt – 150 pounds and under division – on May 21, where she picked up a late takedown for a two-point overtime win to claim the Gold Medal.

While Duncan has competed on bigger stages, the Greatmats-sponsored AGF Columbus BJJ Championships in Columbus, Georgia, left a lasting impression on her.

”The venue was really cool,” she said. ”It was refreshing to compete somewhere other than a gym or a conference room. My teammates and I also enjoyed exploring historical Columbus and eating some great food afterwards. The tournament was extremely well run and mostly everything was on time, which is rare these days no matter (which) tournament you attend! I can’t remember the last time I left a tournament that early. (AGF Co-Owner) Chris (Carlino) does a great job at speaking with coaches and competitors and making everyone feel welcome!”

The Ripple Effect
”Jiu Jitsu has helped me become more focused, driven, self confident, and goal oriented,” Duncan said.

Her rigorous BJJ training regimen aggravated an old injury, introducing her to chiropractic medicine. Now, she splits her time between grappling and working on her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University.

”Maintaining a full-time training schedule while working towards this degree has been very grueling, so I am excited to be out in the work force,” Duncan said, but noted that BJJ and her studies compliment each other well.

”Over the past 3 years, whenever I am training hard for a big tournament, my grades are always extremely high,” she added. ”Marital Arts, especially Jiu Jitsu, have such an amazing capability of impacting people’s lives in so many different ways. In fact, I have also met so many incredible people from all over the world through training and competing in Jiu Jitsu. I have made friendships that I know will last a lifetime, I have gained a teacher and mentor that has taught me invaluable life lessons, and I even met my fiance on the mat! I have truly gained a second family.”

After graduating from Life University in December, Duncan plans use her degree to work with athletes, especially in the BJJ community while continuing to train and compete with the ultimate goal of becoming a world champion.

”I just love this sport so much,” Duncan said. ”I want to motivate as many people as possible to become involved. It is truly life changing.”

Learn more about American Grappling Federation Tournaments and athletes by visiting Greatmats’ AGF Tournament Resource Page.

American Grappling Federation Champion Jessica Duncan

Mayfield loving the jiu jitsu lifestyle

American Grappling Federation athlete Clay Mayfield

Clay Mayfield won the brown belt absolute division in BJJ at the Greatmats sponsored 2016 AGF Arkansas Open

By Brett Hart 

Jiu Jitsu is more than an art. It’s a lifestyle for Clay Mayfield.

For 23-year-old Clay Mayfield, his introduction to Gracie Jiu Jitsu was the beginning of a new, more fulfilling lifestyle.

”I used to have a bad temper,” Clay said. ”I used to be impulsive, and jiu jitsu has helped me work through a lot of those issues and start really understanding myself.”

Greatmats features athlete Clay Mayfield with Royce Gracie

Clay Mayfield and Royce Gracie

At age 15, Mayfield’s father sent Clay, his brother and sister to a free introductory Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu class and all three decided to sign up and start taking classes.

”As I started training, I realized that what I was learning physically was helping me emotionally and spiritually as well.”

After a few months Clay’s passion for the sport continued to grow, and he signed up for judo classes as well.

”A couple of years in, right after I received my blue belt (in jiu jitsu), I decided I wanted to teach full time and devoted myself to the instructor training program we had at the school,” Clay said. ”I’d take my homework up there and watch private lessons and take the group classes and do my homework between classes. Basically, I lived at the academy for several years and then started teach full time when I was 18.”

While Clay as dabbled with some kung fu, muay thai, kali and stick fighting, nothing kept his attention the way judo and jiu jitsu had.

2015 Gracie World BJJ Champion Clay Mayfield

Clay Mayfield wins the 2015 Gracie World Championship

Now a brown belt in jiu jitsu and black belt in judo, Clay has made a name for himself in the sports, winning two Gracie National Championships and one Gracie World Championship.

While Clay describes himself as a ”self defense guy,” he loves the competition aspect of martial arts.

”The competition extension of that is what feeds me personally. I really enjoy pushing myself and trying to be the best that I can be,” he said.

He says he uses the art as a vehicle of self development.

”I love the techniques,” Clay said. ”I love rolling. I love having fun, but the most enriching part of the journey is the lifestyle and seeing how we can take the principles and mindset that we use on the mat and apply it everyday life – from diet to philosophy and relationships. It’s such an enriching journey.”

World Grappling Champion Clay Mayfield and Natalie Brelsford

Clay Mayfield trains with his girlfriend Natalie Belsford.

Those principles and relationships are what keep him going competitively and personally. In fact, he and his girlfriend, Natalie Belsford, are training partners.

”She’s my fitness coach for my competition,” Clay said. ”I’m her jiu jitsu coach. She competes as well, so we compliment each other really well in that arena. … I couldn’t ask for a more supportive person. She drives 10 hours to compete and supports me in my matches and coaches me and then gets out there and puts it on the line herself. She’s a trooper.”

Even with his national and world titles, Clay says his biggest martial arts accomplishment is earning his brown belt.

”Having Royce Gracie – the man who started the entire revolution – award me the brown belt was a huge sense of accomplishment,” Clay said. ”Every hour, every minute, every drop of sweat from the seven year journey to get there, just made the moment so special. … When you get that promotion, it’s not really about the belt, it’s about all the work you’ve put in and the behind the scenes that no one knows about. All the personal sacrifices – the culmination of all those factors.”

Recently, Clay has been making a splash in the Greatmats-sponsored American Grappling Federation tournament circuit. At the April 23 Kansas City BJJ Championships in Missouri, Mayfield, who competes in the Adult Brown Belt Lightweight (175 pounds) division, took first in his Gi Division, second in No Gi and was among the top three finishers in the Absolute Division, but admitted it was not his best performance. Three months later he won the Brown Belt Absolute Division at the Arkansas Open in Conway, AR, and couldn’t be happier to compete in the AGF circuit.

National Champion Clay Mayfield grappling

Mayfield has won two national BJJ Titles

”There are a lot of other organizations around that don’t have their level of professionalism,” Clay said. ”AGF is constantly improving. Every event I go to, they make a little change or little tweak to make things a little more streamline. It definitely pays off. They’ve got a really well run event now.”

He also enjoys the fact that he can enter four divisions and usually ends up with 7 or 8 matches per tournament – which is what he prefers if he’s going to drive 4-6 hours to compete.

Although Clay trains seven days a week and teaches Jiu Jitsu at IQ Jiu Jitsu in Benton, Illinois, under Jared Jessup he says, ”When people ask what I do, I always tell them I’m a professional student. The first person I had to learn to teach was myself. This is more than just techniques. This is how to live a life.”

As a teacher, he says seeing the growth in his students and watching their progress is a big motivator to him.

”The little changes in confidence and kids shutting down bullying situations and watching the women become more empowered and the men – even for the people that never compete, just watching the personal development in their lives is really enriching,” Clay said.

In that same respect, he maintains his appreciation for those who have helped him get to where he is today, including his first martial arts instructor, his girlfriend and other training partners, JW Wright, Brandon Quick of AGF, Royce Gracie and Rener Gracie.

”There’s no one who competes and trains and does it all themselves,” Clay said. ”Everyone has an enormous force of people who are helping them be who they are.”

Learn more about American Grappling Federation Tournaments and athletes by visiting Greatmats’ AGF Tournament Resource Page.

Clay Mayfield executing a triangle