Leading By Example with Zachary Hansen: Kyuki-Do Instructor

Kyuki-Do Instructor Competes in Throwing and Grappling Tournament

By Brett Hart

Martial Arts haven’t always been on American Kyuki-Do Federation (AKF) 2nd Dan Zachary Hansen’s radar. A former fiber optic communications professional, Mr. Hansen was introduced to Kyuki-Do seven years ago when his then 4-year old daughter, Olivia, won a free two-week trial at a 4K family fun night.

”She was having fun, and we weren’t in any other activities at the point, so we decided to enroll her. She excelled at it and enjoyed it,” Mr. Hansen said, ”I watched her for a year and said ‘That looks like way too much fun.”

Joining the fun
Zachary Hansen kyuki-do competition AKF GreatmatsAround that time Master Greg Garves cornered Mr. Hansen and encouraged him to enroll as well.

”I kind of blew him off and gave him the, ‘Check back in two weeks.”’ Mr. Hansen said. ”He held me accountable… and here I am seven years later. … It’s never something I envisioned myself doing, but I am thankful for it, and it’s been something my entire family has been able to do together.”

In fact Mr. Hansen, his wife, Bev, and daughter, Olivia, all promoted to their first degree black belt together. Mr. Hansen is now the owner and chief instructor of two academies – in New Richmond and River Falls, Wisconsin.

Competitive Spirit
Zachary Hansen grappling kyuki-do tournament AKF GreatmatsRecently the AKF, which blends multiple disciplines of martial arts into one, held its second ever throwing and grappling-centered tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Mr. Hansen decided to participate in both the judo and jiu jitsu brackets, earning first place in jiu jitsu and second place in judo.

”You want to put yourself out there,” Mr. Hansen said. ”I’m an instructor and an owner. I’ve got to be willing to put myself out there if I’m going to ask my students to do the same. Plus, being 38, I’m not exactly young, but I’m not old. (It’s one way to be) a good role model for my little bit older students, parents and other adults. You don’t have to be this ripped 20 year old to go out there and compete and have fun. It’s about the camaraderie and just the experience and learning about yourself.”

As someone who’s participated in folk style wrestling since second grade, it may seem this style of competition would be a natural fit for him, but Mr. Hansen said judo and jiu jitsu is a ”whole other can of worms.”

He enjoyed the change of pace from the traditional Kyuki-Do Tournaments, which focus mainly on forms, sparring and weapons.

”The grappling tournament is definitely more of a physical challenge, compared to the more mental challenge of our other style tournaments,” he said. ”Yes there’s sparring, but when you start getting into judo, jiu jitsu – the grappling stuff, there’s definitely a whole other level of physical involved. There’s strength and conditioning, especially the cardio workout. It’s a whole other level.”

As for the judo portion, he recognizes that he’s got a lot of work to do on this throws, but was happy to last a long as he did against an opponent he’s lost to a couple of times before.

”He’s definitely a good judo player,” Mr. Hansen said. ”He’s definitely got skill and knowledge. I survived longer than I thought I would. It goes to show, don’t cut yourself short against somebody else or based strictly on size because cardio comes into play and technique too. It’s not always strength and size.”

Ripple effect
Zachary Hansen kyuki-do tournament AKF GreatmatsFollowing his example, 15 of his students also took part in the tournament and enjoyed the experience.

”I had a young man who took last in both events, but as I was watching him, he was smiling and had a great time,” Mr. Hansen said. ”He was just there to have fun. Whether he won or lost, it didn’t affect his spirit. He had a great time, and he was excited that I was able to watch him compete. That meant a lot for him to say that, coming from a student.”

”(AKF federation events) paint a bigger picture of what Kyuki-Do is about outside of our academy and our local area and meet more of our extended Kyuki-Do family,” he added. ”I don’t use that word family lightly. It truly is an extended family. The camaraderie and the friendships that I’ve made are priceless, and they’re going to be here for a long time. It’s fun to walk into an event and know that your kids are in a safe environment, and they can just run about and know that someone’s going to be holding them accountable besides you. … To have that feeling and be in an environment like that is unbelievable and it’s almost unheard of. It’s one of my biggest reasons to promote the federation events.”

”For me its just the personal health benefits from being physical and training and just fun.”

While competition isn’t his primary focus, Mr. Hansen said, ”I’ve got that competitive bone in my body, so it’s a way for me to feed that competitiveness. I loved the tournaments and wrestling in high school, and this is a way to still kind of fulfill that childhood need.”

Learn more about American Kyuki-Do Federation Events and Athletes.

Zachary Hansen
AKF Martial Arts Academy
New Richmond WI 54017
For more on this topic please review our Grappling and MMA Mats product page.

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.

Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Elgin well represented at Spring Tournament of Champions

Elgin Kyuki-Do Team

Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Elgin participants at 2016 AKF Spring Tournament of Champions

Greatmats AKF Champions

Yolanda Juaraz-Morales (left) tied with Drew McCurdy (center) for the 18 and over Grand Championship. Juarez-Morales later won a “Form Off” between the two.

While Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Elgin (Illinois) provided ¼ of the nearly 200 participants at the American Kyuki-Do Federation’s Spring Tournament of Champions in Huntley, Ill., on May 7, approximately 15 academies participated in the festivities. One of the biggest surprises was the arrival of 19 competitors for AKF Lexington (Kentucky).

Greatmats AKF Family

The American Kyuki-Do Federation, sponsored by Greatmats, is a family friendly Martial Arts Federation.

Highlighting the Greatmats-sponsored event was the performances of Corrynn Anderson, Yolanda Juarez-Morales and Drew McCurdy. Anderson, of Huntley, won the 17 and under grand championship, while Juarez-Morales and McCurdy, both of Elgin, tied for the 18 and over grand championship which had to be decided by a “Form-Off at Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Elgin on Saturday, May 14. Ms. Morales as the overwhelming winner.

Check out the next AKF event on Aug. 13, 2016 when the Summer Tournament of Champions comes to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

If you attend any 2016 AKF tournament, don’t forget to enter the photobomb contest by tournament sponsor Greatmats. Learn more about the contest at http://www.greatmats.com/martial-arts-mats/greatmats-photobomb-contest.php.

Greatmats offers $1,000 prize for Most Inspiring Martial Arts Story

Win $1000 for your inspiring Martial Arts Story

Most Inspiring Story $1,000 Giveaway: Greatmats Martial Arts Edition

MILLTOWN, WISC. – Every martial artist has a different reason for taking up the sport, and a different reason for sticking with it. For some, its all about fitness. Others have an unquenchable competitive spirit. Martial Arts are commonly taught for self defense and serve some who have been bullied or fear they might be. For some its more about inner peace or camaraderie. For whatever reason, Martial Arts have long helped people cope and conquer challenges in their lives.

Greatmats, a Wisconsin-based martial arts flooring leader, is seeking out inspiring martial arts stories to share how martial arts have served to help people overcome challenges.

The most inspiring story will win up to $1,000 in Greatmats credit or up to $700 in cash through Greatmats’ “Most Inspiring Story $1,000 Giveaway: Martial Arts Edition”. Greatmats is accepting submissions through Jan. 10, 2016.

For more details on the contest and how to enter, visit http://www.greatmats.com/gmats-giveaway.php.

 

Judo Mats Lite

Need a durable and soft floor for your studio?  Judo Mats Lite are an excellent interlocking, judo puzzle mat for groundwork training in judo and MMA.  They can also be used for BJJ and grappling training.  They are economical and lightweight and provide excellent impact absorption for low impact martial arts practice.  Try this judo mat for skill development; it’s durable tatami surface texture will not give you rug burns.

Durable Judo Mats Lite are shock absorbing and will provide a safe and clean surface. This lightweight judo mat features two colors per mat with one color per side. This makes them truly reversible which allows you to display two colors in your floor at the same time.
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Please note:  For over the shoulder and hard throwing practice we recommend additional floor padding such as a two inch thick folding mat.

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