Wisconsin Taekwondo Master Helping Local Community and Economy
Safety, Pricing, Location and Convenience Lead Saint to Greatmats
Related Product: Pro Taekwondo Martial Arts Mats 20 mm
By Brett Hart
For seventh degree Taekwondo black belt Ray Saint, martial arts is a way of life.
''When you instill focus and discipline into people, and they're willing to work hard, it's almost impossible to not reach your goals and be who you want to be and deserve to be in life,'' Master Saint says. ''That's what a black belt is to me. It's not the toughest guy on the block.''
Saint's martial arts lifestyle began at the age of 10 after seeing the moving Billy Jack.
''It was all about being righteous and doing the right thing,'' Master Saint said. ''That just turned me on to martial arts.''
He started his training informally as a kid with one of his friends in the whose father owned 10 karate schools in the Chicago area. After moving to Wisconsin in the ninth grade, Master Saint found a school about an hour and a half away from home where trained twice per week for the next nine years to earn his black belt and beyond.
Now the owner of Boscobel Family Martial Arts and Wellness in Boscobel, Wisconsin, Master Saint has traveled all over the country to train under world-reknowned masters and even recently brought the only living founder of Taekwondo, 83-year-old Supreme Grandmaster Kim Bok Man, to his school in Boscobel.
''In sport, the goal is to defeat the opponent,'' Master Saint said. ''In art, the goal is to win yourself. I teach the art of taekwondo, not the sport of taekwondo.''
New BeginningsBoscobel Family Martial Arts and Wellness has now been located in Boscobel for 26 years. Over which time, it's changed locations eight times.
''We started in the back room of a bowling alley,'' Master Saint said. ''I bought rundown buildings and remodeled them.''
However, last May, he built his long awaited pinnacle martial arts and wellness center building with two levels of training space.
With the latest expansion, Master Saint decided new mats were in order, but to purchase enough of the mats he had previously used, it would have cost him an estimated $12,000 just for the matting. So he began researching online and found Wisconsin-based Greatmats had mats that would cost him 1/3 of his previous mats, plus he'd be able support the local economy.
''I like shopping local,'' Master Saint said. ''I always do that. I believe in helping the local economy.''
His previous mats were thick and designed to handle falling, but Master Saint said, ''For taekwondo, you don't need it to be too soft. You're pivoting and you don't want to get your foot caught and twist a knee.''
With that in mind, he opted for Greatmats' reversible 20 mm thick Pro martial Arts Sport Mats for his training and competition rings and added some 2 inch thick folding gym mats for multiple purposes including adding back that cushion for throws and takedowns associated with the Hapkido also taught at his school.
Although his new puzzle mats are thinner, Master Saint is comfortable knowing there is still a level of protection from the hard floor below.
''You fall down and hit your head, there's still that safety component to them,'' he said. ''They're very functional. ... I hold my own tournaments in the building now instead of having to haul everything to the high school, which is really nice.''
He also takes full advantage of the portability of his folding mats. In addition to a Hapkido training tool, he uses them for traveling demonstrations and additional fall protection under his 10 foot tall by 40 foot wide rock climbing wall that adorns one side of his facility.
''It's nice to be able to bring them (for demonstrations), and they fold up and fit nice in a van or bus or trailer,'' he said. ''And the training aid that they provide by being soft enough to do throws, flips and falls on. We use them for gymnastics class. The kids are tumbling on them.''
To top things off, Boscobel Family Martial Arts and Wellness also uses Greatmats' 8 mm thick black Rubber Utility Tiles in street shoe traffic areas.
''I like that they're not slippery like the cement,'' Master Saint said of the rubber tiles. ''They're safer as well. They're easy to clean up. You sweep it and you mop it, and it looks new every day.''
Equipped with Greatmats, Master Saint can breath easier knowing that he's able to keep his students and families safe, save significant money, help the local economy and continue to provide the services to his community he's lived his life to develop.
''I love martial arts and what it does for people,'' he says. ''My black belts over 26 years have become doctors, lawyers, paramedics, school teachers, engineers, fighter pilots and actors. It's not magic.''
Master Ray Saint
Boscobel Family Martial Arts and Wellness
Boscobel WI 53805
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.