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Freestyle Martial Arts Mats Testimonial: Valor Academy of Martial Arts

By Brett Hart Created: October, 2018 - Modified: February, 2022

Brenda Flanders has been training in the martial arts since she was 8 years and believes in building well-rounded martial artists. That's why this taekwondo and freestyle martial arts black belt opened Valor Academy of Martial Arts in West Bountiful, Utah, in 2011.

''We focus on freestyle martial arts, which is a combination of various martial arts disciplines,'' Flanders said. ''I have been training for 32 years now. I started out with taekwondo instruction and then moved over to freestyle martial arts, and that's where I find my passion in martial arts - in a more diverse martial arts setting rather than focusing on one set.''

Flanders earned her first taekwondo black belt by age 14 and her first freestyle black belt by age 16 when she started teaching at the school where she grew up training.

Finding Greatmats

Now a fifth degree black belt, Flanders began looking for a more functional and professional looking flooring for Valor Academy of Martial Arts in 2017.

''We just kept looking at all of these different vendors - like the typical martial arts centers had, and their prices were just so outrageous,'' Flanders said. ''Being a small school, I'm the only owner to it, so it was just something I didn't think was feasible.''

Then she came across and ''the prices offered were so competitive, it was a no brainer,'' she said. ''And then we got the mats, and to my surprise, they were better quality than our martial arts industry provided. They are awesome.''

Flanders opted for Greamats Pro Taekwondo Martial Arts Mats with a 20 mm thickness.

''I was really kind of uneducated on what kind of thickness we needed and somebody recommended that 20 mm would be great,'' she said. ''That way when we're working on our tumbling and tricking - more advanced techniques - it would cushion without taking away from our jumps.''

And that's exactly what she found.

''I like how they feel on your feet,'' she said. ''You don't slip; they're nice and soft for the cushion, but they're not too soft to the point where you can't jump.''

The cleaning process has been another pleasant surprise.

''We can clean them really super easy,'' she said. ''We can sanitize them, and they don't fade in color. It's been awesome.''

Based on the approximately 4,200 foot elevation of West Bountiful, Utah, Flanders was advise by her Greatmats representative that she could experience some expansion of the mats.

''We have not seen any of that,'' Flanders said. ''They've been Great.''

Running 160 students and 42 classes on the mats per week for a year, Flanders says the quality of the mats has far surpassed her expectations.

''My friends - they have to flip their mats over every year to keep them looking nice, and I was expecting to do that this year... not even having to do that,'' Flanders said. ''The mats look stellar. So the extra work of having to go back and flip them so they keep that nice new look - I just haven't had to do that yet. They really have been holding up.''

In addition to get the functionality and look she was aiming for with her new mats, she also found it to provided an extra confidence boost to the kids training on them.

''It just really pumped up our school for several months at a time - based by the way they look and the way they feel on the feet,'' she said. ''We're just really happy.''
Brenda Flanders
Valor Academy of Martial Arts
West Bountiful UT 84087