About Master Matthews
Ms. Lonnie Matthews is the owner and Master Instructor of Mireu Martial Arts in Coralville, Iowa. Master Matthews purchased the business in 2008. Ms. Matthews has been practicing taekwondo for 38 years and hold the rank of 6th Dan Black belt. Ms Lonnie also holds a part time job as an employment specialist working for the East Central Region Rent Assistance Program, Johnson and Linn County. Ms. Matthews has dedicated 41 years- advocating and providing support for individuals in need and people with disabilities. Ms. Matthews balances her dedication and love for Taekwondo with her work, and family – 3 sons who have blessed her with 4 beautiful grandchildren.
Ms. Matthews has over 20 years’ experience in teaching and 36 years training in Taekwondo. Ms. Matthews started Taekwondo at Jung’s Taekwondo in Cedar Rapids, Iowa February 8, 1983 attained her Black Belt in Traditional ITF- International Taekwondo Association October 12, 1985, training and teaching till 1995 reaching the level of 4th Dan June 18, 1994. Ms. Matthews took a break from Taekwondo training in 1995 to raise her 3 sons who were age 5, 3 and 3 as a single parent. Ms. Matthews’s heart never left Taekwondo and she vowed to herself that she would return to her passion of training and teaching the first chance time allowed.
In 2004 Ms. Matthews was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Leiomyosarcoma and Taekwondo was the first place she turned to build herself back to health -physically and mentally. Master Matthews began training with Kangs Martial Arts under the instruction of Master Min-Seok Kang, operating under Grandmaster Young Chin Pak’s guidance.
Ms Matthews began her training with Kangs Martial Arts family January 4, 2006 she demoted down to white belt and learned the WT, Kukkiwon standards of Taekwondo.
- Ms Matthews obtained her 4th Dan from Master Kang August 2011. June 20, 2012 she received her 3rd Dan Kukkiwon Certificate.
- October 6, 2013 tested for 4th Dan and 5th Dan Kukkiwon @ KUKKIWON Special Test in the USA, Chicago
- 2015 Master Matthews and her son Justin Matthews started training under Grand Master Yong-gul Son Black Eagle Heukchookwan Hapkido current rank Brown high belt.
- November of 2008 Ms. Matthews purchased Kangs Martial Art’s academy from Master Min Seok Kang when he moved to Arizona to go to dental school. She now teaches and runs the business in the evening along with working part time for the East Central Region. Master Matthews changed the name of the academy in 2012 to Mireu Martial Arts. (Mireu) is the hungul pure Korean name for Dragon.
- Ms. Matthews made History: Competitor 2008 World Hanmadang Games – Anhiem California Broke 2 granite slabs knife hand – men’s division
- Ms Matthews currently holds the Battle of Iowa power board breaking record for women eight boards 1 inch thick no spacers.
- 2009 International/National 1st in the US Hanmadang Chicago Gold Medal winner Knife hand, fist and turning kick.
- National Hanmadang certified referee. USTC events, trained by Kukkiwon -1st classes/seminars ever offered in the US-
- 2009 Poomsae seminar, 2009 referee and 2009 Kukkiwon Instructors certification.
- 2009 awarded Kukkiwon Commendation for conduct and contributions to the TaeKwonDo world INVITATION FROM JEOLLA BUKDO PROVINCE 2009 recognized and identified as an outstanding world leader in Taekwondo. Exclusive group of Taekwondo leaders from around the world invited, special visit to Muju.
- 2010 Obtained Kukkiwon p-2 assistant instructor license. Recognized as a Professional International License 2010 International Coach and Gold Medal Winner US Hanmadang Chicago – 1st place power fist breaking, 1st place power side kick, 3rd place Poomsae
- 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Gold Medal Winner US Hanmadang Colorado – power breaking knife hand and side kick
- 2018 Taekwondo Times Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year https://taekwondotimes.com/gallery/hall-of-fame-2018-3
- 2019 April 13 – 6th Dan Black Belt Achievement World Black Belt Association – Jungs Taekwondo Academy
- 2019 July Featured on the Cover Taekwondo Times International magazine https://taekwondotimes.com/product/july-2019/
Many of these accomplishments happened in between surgeries for the cancer. Ms. Matthews coordinated surgery dates with Dr’s so she could attend Taekwondo events important to her. Her Dr’s supported her and encouraged her to continue her Taekwondo training. They would say if you can endure the pain you can do anything you want. Its only pain training in Taekwondo will only help you recover. With this Ms. Matthews diligently trained and built herself back physically and mentally.
Ms. Matthews Cancer battle has included: 9 surgeries to lungs, stomach, arm and leg.
• Remission 8 years
Each time Ms Matthews had surgery her students and parents stepped up to run the school in her absences. When released from the hospital Ms. Matthews would return teaching and training with in two weeks of major surgeries. Taekwondo made it possible to heal faster than the average person, has helped keep Ms. Matthews body and mind strong so she could continue her passion of teaching, running the Taekwondo business, continue to compete in events like the US Open Hanmadang and enjoy all aspects of life.
Ms. Lonnie Says: To watch someone grow and develop physically and mentally under my guidance is worth more to me than to achieve myself. In teaching I am gaining a better understanding of both Taekwondo and of people in general. Taekwondo: “It’s a way of life” It is my passion and it has saved my life.