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Chon-Ji Martial Arts - Taekwondo Mats Testimonial

By Brett Hart Created: December, 2018 - Modified: July, 2021

For 51-year old Lorraine Tucker Reid, martial arts have become a way of life. After earning her first dan in Taekwondo while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2004, Lorraine and her family decided to branch out on their own and start Chon-Ji Martial Arts in Richland, Washington in December of 2006.

''We all decided we couldn't live without taekwondo,'' Lorraine said. ''The longest I've gone without doing martial arts is for 10 days when I went to Europe last year. I have not stopped doing this, honestly, for 18 years.

''It's the ability to use my body and my knowledge - now that I've been teaching so long - to help other people with confidence, and with body image.''

Although she doesn't like the term ''self defense,'' Lorraine, now a 4th dan, also takes pride in helping others be ''confident in their abilities to take care of themselves.''

''It’s not about defense,'' she says. ''It's about being offensive. Self defense - to me means you've already decided to be the victim.''

At Chon-Ji Martial Arts, Lorraine, her husband and two daughters teach the Jhoon Ree style of taekwondo to colored belts and then switch to traditional taekwondo instruction for black belts.

''I'm really proud that I can help people and my whole family is still involved,” Lorraine said. “Now my grandkids are involved which is really cool.''

Training on Greatmats

In 2006, Lorraine began looking for martial arts mats to put in her academy. Not only did she do online research, but she also visited several different schools and found she liked Greatmats 20 mm puzzle mats best due to durability and color options.

''I am not a red, white and blue school.'' She said. ''As much as I love this country and my husband’s a vet, I wanted to go more natural colors. My first set of mats were gray and black. They were understated so I could bring in other colors.''

That first set of Greatmats lasted her 10 years until she decided to replace them in August of 2016. In order to get the longest possible lifespan out of her first set, she followed Greatmats advice of cleaning only with Pine Sol and flipping the reversible mats every other year.

Knowing that the EVA foam material will stretch and compact a little overtime with use, Lorraine was very careful to label the mats and keep them connected identically even after the flip.

''I literally flip them immediately where they are because of wear patterns,'' she said. ''You're talking about 40 kids a day on those mats, 6 days a week. That's a lot of wear and tear.''

By the time she replaced the mats, Lorraine estimated they had worn off about 80 percent of the texture on both sides.

''When I got my new mats, my longterm students who had only been on used mats were like - 'These are so slippery, and they have so much texture!'... It's not that they're dangerously slippery. It's just a different feel. They weren’t used to that feel. It probably took about a month and they were all used to it.''

She explained that with the 10-year-old mats, bare feet would almost squeak during a pivot due to the rubbery nature of the worn material.

''With the new ones, when you do a pivot, it's this wonderful slide,'' Lorraine said. ''I think it's amazing.''

In addition to the quality of the mats, she said, ''My experience with Greatmats has been nothing less than exemplary. Everybody was always open and honest, and I appreciated that.

When they said they were gonna be here, they were here. I appreciate that from a business standpoint because the world is crazy enough and if I’m counting on something and have set forth a date - if you can keep your end of the bargain, then it makes my life easier.''

While Lorraine is hopeful that her second set of Greatmats will last just as long as her first set, she says, ''I don't think I'm going to ask them to.''
Lorraine Tucker Reid
Chon-Ji Martial Arts
Richland WA 99354