AKF Cartersville with Greatmats Cheerleading Mats for Martial Arts

AKF Family Martial Arts of Cartersville – Carpet Topped Mats

Instructor Donny Thompson Likes Feel and Functionality of Greatmats

 

By Brett Hart

AKF Grandmaster Kim and AKF Cartersville Donny Thompson Kyuki Do GreatmatsHaving trained in martial arts since 1983, AKF Family Martial Arts of Cartersville owner Donny Thompson has learned to appreciate the gentler side of the his sport.

A 4th Dan in Taekwondo, Thompson, beginning at the age of 12, regularly competed and admitted he wasn’t the nicest of competitors. So, after taking a break from martial arts when he started his family, he began looking for a place for his son to train that utilized a much friendlier approach.

He found that with Master Merrill Sinclair of Sinclair’s Kyuki-Do Martial Arts in Dallas, Georgia.

”It was non competition, which I loved,” Thompson said. ”I didn’t want my son to have to go through all of that.”

Although his son didn’t take to it as much as he’d hoped, Thompson’s love for the martial arts was reborn, and he has worked his way up to his 3rd Dan in Kyuki-Do, which he achieved in April of this year. Shortly thereafter, he opened his own school in Cartersville, Georgia.

Equipping Academy with Cheerleading Mats

AKF Cartersville with Greatmats Cheerleading Mats for Martial ArtsUnder the recommendation of the American Kyuki-Do Federation, which uses Greatmats martial arts mats in several of its schools, Thompson chose to equip his new academy with Greatmats 2 inch thick carpet-topped cheerleading mats.

Why cheerleading mats, you ask?

”I like the feel, personally, of the mat itself under your feet,” Thompson said. ”I was used to carpet on concrete, honestly, so it had that nice firm feeling, but when you hit the ground it’s not like hitting the concrete. … They’re thick enough to be cushiony, but they’re firm enough that you can do your techniques without sinking into the mat.”

”They’re very easy to clean,” he added. ”All you need is a vacuum, and they hold up very well. As long as you take care of them properly, they don’t have a problem lasting for years. Some of the vinyl tops, you have to worry about holes getting poked in them, and in the mornings, when it’s cold, they’re cold. These don’t have that problem.”

AKF Cartersville with Greatmats Carpet Topped Roll out Mats for Martial ArtsThese particular mats come in 42 foot rolls. So after cutting them to fit his space, Mr. Thompson had enough leftover to wrap them around the poles in his academy and use them as pole pads.

”They work totally awesome for that,” he said. ”I use the straps that came with the original ones, and it worked. I was very pleased. They’re thicker than a regular pole pad and so people can hit them harder.”

Family Oriented Environment

Greatmats Cheer Mat installation at AKF Cartersville Martial ArtsHaving found success back in the day competing with the United States Taekwondo Union, he’s now chosen a different path.

”We are family oriented,” he said, noting that he doesn’t what the message of his academy to being ”Look what I did” as much as ”Look what I can do for you.”

”It’s a whole different mindset (than competing),” he added.

That family-oriented mindset fits in perfectly with the AKF, which recently presented Thompson with his 3rd Dan Certificate at its annual Black Belt Extravaganza in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

”I go every year,” Thompson said about the Black Belt Extravaganza. ”It is immensely fun. … I come from a side of martial arts where… you rarely saw anybody from other schools unless you go to a tournament or a big test that everyone had to get together for. But for the most part, you did your own thing as far as schools went. The AKF is totally different. … Everybody’s there supporting each other. I go, not just for the seminars, but to see the people of the AKF – my martial arts family. We call ourselves the Kyuki-Do Nation, but we’re really the Kyuki-Do Family.”

Donny Thompson
AKF Family Martial Arts of Cartersville
Cartersville GA 30121
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2017 AKF Summer Tournament of Champions Recap

Vazquez youngest ever Grand Champion, Madrigal wins 4th Championship

Angelina Vazquez 2017 AKF Summer Tournament kyuki-do GreatmatsThe 2017 American Kyuki-Do Federation Tournament of Champions was held on August 12 at the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The tournament had over 120 competitors from Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and Georgia. Martial artists Angelina Vazquez and Reginald Madrigal emerged as the Black Belt Grand Champions.

Vazquez, of Geneva, Illinois, won the Under 18 Grand Championship and is the youngest black belt to achieve this honor. She trains under Mr. Chris Koffenberger.

Reginald Madrigal competing 2017 AKF Summer Tournament GreatmatsThe 18 and Over Grand Championship was claimed by Madrigal, of Elgin, Illinois, for the fourth time. He trains under Masters Jeff Kim and Rick Steainmaier.

Joe Moniot, of Lexington, Kentucky, brought 17 students with him to his final tournament before earning his Master distinction. Ms. Emily Brown of Oconee, Geroge, traveled the farthest to compete.

Ellie Murphy, from Lexington, was the winner of VIP pass to AKF’s annual Black Belt Extravaganza at Wisconsin Dells held November 3-5.

Nicole Holden, of Janesville, Wisconsin, and Chester Gustavson, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, competed in their final tournament before advancing to 5th Dan (Master).

Joe Moniot 2017 AKF Summer Tournament Greatmats

The next American Kyuki-Do Federation tournament is the Grappling and Throwing Tournament at Bigfoot High School in Walworth, Wisconsin.

Federation members can register to compete at http://www.kyukidomartialarts.com.

Learn more about Greatmats-sponsored American Kyuki-Do Federation events and athletes.

Chester Gustavson 2017 AKF Summer Tournament kyuki-do Greatmatssparring at 2017 AKF Summer Tournament kyuki-do Greatmats

2017 Summer Tournament of Champions
American Kyuki-Do Federation
Eau Claire WI 54701
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Drew McCurdy 4-Time AKF Grand Champion

Four Time Grand Champion Still Fond of ‘Firsts’

By Brett Hart

Drew McCurdy Amercian Kyuki-Do Federation Grand Champion GreatmatsBecoming a black belt has been a lifelong dream for Drew McCurdy, and in May of 2001, he began that journey when he walked in the doors of Kim’s Black Belt Academy in Elgin, Illinois.

”I thought a place with black belt in their name was a good place to start,” McCurdy said.

Now a third-degree black belt in Kyuki-Do, McCurdy has expanded his martial arts repertoire to include Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Jeet Kune Do and Kali techniques.

With years of training and a multitude of disciplines under his belt, McCurdy’s list of instructors is equally as long, including the likes of Rick Steinmaier, Jeff Kim, Rick Bjorquist, Christine Bjorquist, Chris Koffenberger, Lloyd Holden, John Canton, Reggie Madrigal and Yolanda Morales, among others.

McCurdy has been putting his training to good use at American Kyuki-Do Federation tournaments where he recently claimed his fourth Grand Champion title at the 2017 Spring Tournament of Champions.

”It’s an honor every time,” McCurdy said. ”I compete for my academy and the kids around Kyuki-do.”

Drew McCurdy Board Breaking Amercian Kyuki-Do Federation GreatmatsMcCurdy won both his sparring and breaking divisions while claiming second in forms and weapons, leaving it as no surprise that sparring and breaking are his favorite events.

”Sparring really tests some of the actual applications and techniques,” McCurdy said. ”There’s no substitute for knowing a mistake could cost you a shot to the head. Breaking really tests your physical and mental limitations as well, especially now that it’s at the end (of the tournament). Do you still have what it takes to break these boards after two hours of vigorous activity?”

The Area Director at Apex Fun Run For elementary schools in Illinois and Wisconsin, McCurdy currently does his martial arts training at Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Elgin (formerly Kim’s Black Belt Academy) and Fusion Fitness MMA in Elgin.

With all he’s accomplished in the sport, McCurdy is still most proud of achieving his Kyuki-Do black belt.

”Looking back, I can’t believe the amount of work I put into it,” McCurdy said.

2016 AKF Spring Tournament kyuki-do Grand Champions GreatmatsIn similar respect, he views winning his first grand championship as one of his biggest achievements.

”It took quite a few tournaments before I achieved one,” he said. ”I almost thought it wouldn’t happen.”

Great competition from colleagues such as Nikki Holden, Reggie Madrigal and Joe Moniot help keep McCurdy motivated to continue competing.

”It’s about growth,” he said. ”There’s no animosity before or after.”

His passion for martial arts has also rubbed off on his family. His wife is now a brown stripe and his oldest child, Devin, is a 5-year-old red belt in Pre-Kyuki-Do.

”My two-year-old doesn’t currently train, but in her mind, she is a 12th Dan Master!” he added. ”Kyukido family is real – not just a saying. If I want to go hard and train hard with adults, I can do that. If I want to my kids to learn discipline self defense and a host of other qualities, I can give them that. If I want to train as a family, I can do that. There are a lot of places where you can only get one of those things.”

”I’d like to thank Greatmats for their continued sponsorship of the tournaments,” he said. ”The word is still out on Eau Claire (Summer Tournament of Champions) for me, but I will see if I can make it to Nikki Holden’s last tournament before master. Plus the competition in Eau Claire is always awesome!”

Learn more about the American Kyuki-Do Federation events and athletes.

Drew McCurdy
Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Elgin
Elgin IL
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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
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AKF Spring Tournament of Champions: McCurdy, Kahl are Grand Champions

Elgin, Lexington Academies Well Represented at Spring Tournament

AKF Spring Tournament Drew McCurdy GreatmatsBy Brett Hart

 

Drew McCurdy, a third dan in Kyuki-Do from Elgin, Illinois, claimed his fourth AKF Grand Champion title for 18 and over competitors at the 2017 American Kyuki-Do Federation Spring Tournament of Champions in Huntley, Illinois on May 6. Meanwhile Logan Kahl, also a third dan, of Janesville, Wisconsin, claimed the 17 and Under Grand Champion honor.

”To qualify for Grand Champion, each competitor must participate in forms, weapons, breaking and sparring,” according to Master Rick Steinmaier. ”At the end of the black belt competition, the competitor with the most points is named grand champion.”

AKF Spring 2017 Logan Kahl GreatmatsCompetitors have the chance to earn points via 1st through 4th-place finishes in each activity, with first place finishes earning four points each.

Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Elgin led the field as the school with the most competitors, making up 70 of the 260 total martial artists from 12 schools. AKF Lexington (Kentucky) Martial Arts also made an impact with 40 participants.

Mr. Lain Pontious of Huntley, Ill., was the winner of a free pass to this year’s Kyuki-Do Camp which runs July 7-9.

The 2017 AKF Summer Tournament of champions will take place in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on Aug. 12. Due to the AKF’s new dedicated Grappling and Throwing Tournaments, the grappling portion of the Summer Tournament of Champions will be open to novice only.

 

AKF Spring Tournament 2017 kyukido GreatmatsAKF Spring Tournament breaking board Greatmatsyouth board breaking AKF Spring Tournament Greatmats

2017 Spring Tournament of Champions
American Kyuki-Do Federation
Huntley IL
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AKF Grappling and Throwing Tournament

Kyuki-Do Students Test Skills in Judo and Jiu Jitsu

AKF 2017 Grappling and Throwing Tournament Video
At the Metropolis Resort and Convention Center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on March 4, there was standing room only at American Kyuki-Do Federation’s second-ever grappling and throwing tournament.AKF grappling and throwing champions Greatmats
At the Winter Grappling and Tournament, there were 74 regional competitors with 40 percent of them competing in grappling for their first time. Competitors came from as far away as Huntley, Illinois.youth grappling AKF kyuki-do Greatmats

The AKF Martial Arts Academy of Eau Claire produced 21 competitors, followed by New Richmond (Wisconsin) with 13 and Janesville (Wisconsin) with 10.
AKF grappling champions Greatmats
Divisions were split by age, size and experience levels. Competitors had the options of competing in judo, jiu jitsu, or hybrid version of the two.

About half of the competitors tested their skills in both judo and jiu jitsu.

AKF adult grappling action Greatmats

Tammy Turcotte, Kyuki-Do Martial Arts of Amery’s chief instructor, said, ”My favorite part of the tournaments is seeing the camaraderie between students from different academies, parents getting to know each other, and the joy of competition.”

youth competing at AKF tournament 2017Learn more about American Kyuki-Do Federation Events.

2017 AKF Leadership Summit

AKF kyuki-do leaders summit Greatmats 2017

The American Kyuki-Do Federation held its annual Leadership Summit on February 24-26 in Elgin, Illinois.

”Our annual summit is an opportunity to share ideas, find out what the state of the art is for our industry, reconnect with other school owners and meet the next crop of instructors and owners,” said, Master Rick Steinmaier, AKF Events Coordinator.

Master Steinmaier was pleased to see the event attended by representatives from AKF’s five newest affiliates – four of which opened within the last year and one is projected to open this year.

The new affiliates include Arlington Heights (Illinois), Burleson (Texas), Elgin East (Illinois), Granbury (Texas) and Sleepy Hollow (Illinois).

American Kyuki-Do Federation Logo AKF Greatmats

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