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
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Cheerleading Mats

Greatmats Cheer Mats help three Greeneville, Tennessee Area Schools Prepare for Success

By Brett Hart

In just two years, the same pair of Greatmats cheer mats have benefitted three school cheer programs in the Greeneville, Tennessee, area.

Climbing Through The Ranks – Greeneville Middle School

It all began when Greeneville Middle School Cheer Coach Tessa Carter purchased two 6×42 foot Cheer Mats from Greatmats.com in July 2014.
”We bought them to practice for competition purposes,” Tessa said. ”What we got… is exactly what we compete on.”

The ensuing season, Tessa’s team of 16 cheerleaders practiced on the mats 2-3 days per week, including during the summer, and used them for pep rallies.

”We were the first school in our town to have cheer mats, besides the local gyms,” Tessa said. ”It was kind of like a big thing to have.”

Greeneville Middle School went on to compete at state for the first time that year and claimed first place in the East Tennessee Small Division of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) tournament.

Greenville Middle School Cheerleading Greatmats Cheerleading Mats

Greeneville High School

”Our high school competed the next year for the first time in probably 7 years,” Tessa said. ”They didn’t have any mats yet.”

So the middle school squad shared its mats with the high school team occasionally to practice tumbling and stunting.

”We’d take our mats to the high school, or we’d bring them back to the middle school, and we’d practice on them together,” Tessa said. ”Both teams were able to get ready on them.”

Greeneville High School Cheer Coach Jessica Miller said, ”We realized we really needed our own (mats), and we wanted to have a full set to practice for competitions.”

In July of 2015, the high school ordered its own set of seven cheer mats from Greatmats that were exactly the same as the ones borrowed from the middle school.

Miller’s team of 21 cheerleaders uses the mats once a week to practice stunting and said her favorite part about the mats are, ”They are easy to put away and store.”

”We’ve been able to improve our overall skill since we’ve had the mats to practice,” Miller added. ”Last year was the girls’ first competition. We couldn’t have felt comfortable at all without having the mats to practice on.”

Carson-Newman University

While the high school cheer team was enjoying its new mats, Tessa and her middle school team also realized that they could really use a full-sized competition floor to practice on and came across of seven used mats at a price they couldn’t refuse. So Tessa sold her two 1.5-year-old Greatmats Cheer Mats to local college Carson-Newman University – in Jefferson City, Tenn. The sale covered more than half the cost of the used full-sized competition floor.
”The mats we have now are 12 years old, and I think we can get another 5 years out of them,” Tessa said. ”We’re trying to put up money to buy a full set of new ones in about five years when these are really worn out.”

Carson-Newman’s cheerleading team had recently grown from 20 members to 30 and needed more space, so the timing was perfect for it to add to its practice space.

Carson-Newman University Head Cheerleading and Dance Coach Christy Bowlin said, ”We use the mats during our weekly practices (approximately 7 hours a week) plus additional free stunting time.”

The mats are also used for Carson-Newman’s ”Talons Tumblers” acrobatics class.

”This is a class we teach local third grade through high school students during the school year, and during Fall and Summer cheer camps and clinics,” Bowlin said. ”We love the mats due to ease of roll out and roll up.”

The ”traveling mats” continued to bring good luck with their stop in Jefferson City as the Carson-Newman Eagles placed first in the Rally and Game Day Competition at the 2016 National Cheerleaders Association Summer Camp in Division 2.

Carson Newman University Cheerleading Greatmats


Tessa Carter
Greeneville Middle School
Greeneville TN 37743
For more on this topic please review our Cheer Mats product page

Back-to-school Athletic Flooring Sale 2015

Save $100 on athletic flooring at Greatmats during its Back-to-School Sale. Weight room flooring, gym floor covers, cheer mats, folding gym mats, gym wall pads and/or dance floor purchases totaling $2,000 or more qualify for the discount. Offer ends October 15, 2015 and cannot be combined with any other offers. Visit www.greatmats.com to see our selection of athletic flooring. Call our customer service team 877-822-6622 for more information on the sale or products.

Greatmats during its Back-to-School Athletic Flooring Sale. Weight room flooring, gym floor covers, cheer mats, folding gym mats, gym wall pads, dance floors

Greatmats during its Back-to-School Athletic Flooring Sale. Weight room flooring, gym floor covers, cheer mats, folding gym mats, gym wall pads, dance floors