History

Foeldeak – at home in the world of martial arts!

Almost a century of eventful martial arts history

The name Foeldeak has been inextricably linked with the sport of wrestling for almost a century. It all began with the courage of a young wrestler who left his country to achieve great things. His dreams came true differently than originally hoped, but no less spectacular and successful…

Jean Földeák was born on June 9, 1903 in Hitiaș, Timiș County, then Hungary, now Romania. There, as an adolescent, he came into contact with wrestling at an early age and later learned the locksmith’s trade. At the age of 21, he felt a longing to discover the wide world, with the aim of emigrating to the USA. So he tried to get to the United States of America by ship from Hamburg, but tried in vain to get a visa. What he did not know at that time: he would soon travel to the USA and write his own history there.

1924 – 1931

Away from his original goal of emigrating to America, Jean Foeldeak once again turned his attention to the sport of wrestling. He joined a wrestling club in his new home town of Hamburg. By becoming a German citizen in 1927, Foeldeak was entitled to participate in German championships. After two second places in 1927 and 1928, he finally won the championship title in 1929 (Greco-Roman) and the following year (freestyle). From then on, the versatile athlete also caused a sensation internationally. In 1930 he won the bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the European Championships in Stockholm and a year later even the gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the European Championships in Budapest.

1932

In a different role than originally dreamed of, Jean Foeldeak finally made it to the United States of America – not as an immigrant, but as an athlete! At the Los Angeles Olympic Games, he represented the colors of his new homeland, Germany. Arriving at welterweight, he competed in freestyle wrestling, where he flirted with a medal as the reigning European Champion. However, he failed to beat his US opponent and finished in 4th place. But then he managed the sensation. With anger in the belly over the missed medal, he also started in the Greco-Roman style, but had to compete one weight class higher than in freestyle, because he had gained weight in the meantime. Not discouraged by this, he sensationally won the silver medal with a great fighter’s heart and thus completed his personal American dream.

1935 – 1966

In 1935, Jean Foeldeak ended his active career as a wrestler and devoted himself to his professional career. He was particularly interested in passing on the knowledge he had gained about wrestling. Thus he worked first as a Reich trainer and after the Second World War until 1966 as a national trainer of the Federal Republic of Germany and significantly developed the German wrestling sport. During this time, he also produced numerous publications and textbooks.

1946

Then, in 1946, Foeldeak founded his own company to manufacture sports mats. His initial goal was to use new materials and manufacturing methods to improve a martial artist’s most important accessory, the mat. Originally, the wrestling mat consisted of jute sacks filled with straw, which were held down by wooden padding knobs so that they would lie flat on the ground. Today, one can hardly imagine how painful a throw could be when one’s elbow or knee was rammed with full force onto such a padding button. Today, more than 76 years later, Jean Foeldeak’s entrepreneurial successors can rightly claim to have consistently pursued the founder’s goals. The mats you can buy from Foeldeak today effortlessly meet all safety standards. Whether wrestler, MMA fighter, grappler, judoka, in general as a martial artist, whether full professional, competitive or club athlete, all trust Foeldeak quality everywhere in the world.

1974 – 2004

In 1974, Ernst Sittel takes over the company from Jean Foeldeak, who hands over the company to his successor for reasons of age. From then on, Ernst Sittel develops the company together with his wife. The wrestling mats are constantly improved, new modern materials introduced, the portfolio expanded and new markets determined. A special highlight of their work, which also coincides with the end of their professional activity, is the equipment for the Olympic competitions in Athens in 2004.

2004

In 2004, Norbert Hörr takes the helm at Foeldeak. With a great passion for wrestling and martial arts, he, together with his wife Anita and a growing team of dedicated employees, develops the company into a leading global supplier of sports mats. Around the globe, people trust the quality and service of Foeldeak, which today is still closely linked to the spirit and idea of the founder. Meanwhile, wrestling and sports mats from Foeldeak are regularly used in international championships.

2020

Michel Frauen, once a competitive athlete himself and identified with the history of the company’s founder Jean Foeldeak through his home in Hamburg, joins the management of Foeldeak GmbH as a shareholder. Having joined the company in 2017, initially as sales manager of the subsidiary brand Vennekel, he is now in charge of sales and marketing at Foeldeak GmbH. A particular focus of his work is the development of the contract business, which has made Foeldeak the leading supplier of state-of-the-art martial arts facilities.

2022

90 years of worldwide recognition of the Foeldeak name in sports and 76 years of successful company history make us proud! Every day our team works passionately to add more successful and exciting chapters to this story.

Our quality and service standards

Innovation based on tradition.

The high level of quality and safety that characterizes all Foeldeak® sports mats has grown over decades. In dialogue with athletes, clubs and sports associations, our products are constantly being developed and improved.

Certainly well protected.

The safety of the athletes and the optimal functionality of our sporting goods are paramount. Technically sophisticated systems support fast movements and turns of the athletes, injuries are avoided. Our products effortlessly meet the high safety requirements of modern sports.

Quality guaranteed.

Our products meet the highest quality standards. Lowest material fatigue ensures long life of the sports mats without loss of quality even under the highest load. Therefore, we can provide 3 years warranty on all products manufactured by Foeldeak to the extent according to the provisions in our GTC.