So, my instructor has been using a Judo belt ever since he got promoted to black belt. I decided to surprise him, and buy him a DOM belt as a present. All our belts have our school name in Hanja (old Korean characters based on Chinese writing) embroidered on them.
I decided to take a trip to Gukje market in Nampo-dong (a big international market) to see if I could find a ja soo sil (an embroiderer) 자수실 to sew the Hanja characters on some belts. Gukje is a huge market place where you can find anything from Cuban cigars to boiled pig′s feet. I got off at Nampo-dong subway station and met my friend Meung.
Meung was feeling shy that day and didn′t feel like taking any pictures...
We wandered around the market for about an hour, but didn′t have any luck finding anything. Everything was closed since it was Sunday. I should have known better anyway. By chance, we ran into one of the blue belts from the gym.
The next day, I decided to try and find something closer to my house. I live near Pusan National University, and I figured I could find something easily. I went to a couple of places, but they said they couldn′t do it. I finally found a ja soo that was willing to try.
Busan is quite well known for it′s unique dialect here in Korea. Whereas the Seoul accent sounds a bit soft and poetic, the “Busan” accent is actually loud and abrasive. People shout when they speak. Sometimes, it may sound like two people are arguing when, in fact, they are just discussing the weather. The ja soo was very nice, but informed me (in a Busan accent) that the belt was too thick, and that he wouldn't be able to do it. He suggested that I try Busan-jin Market (부산진 시장).
I spent my morning at Busan-jin looking for a ja soo, but every place I went told me that the belt was too thick. One ja soo decided to give it a go.
After about five minutes, he told me that...you guessed it, the belt was too thick. I told him that I had been to several places and asked him if he knew a place that could do it. He said that the thickness would be a problem no matter where I went. If anyone is wondering a DOM belt is probably about two times the thickness of the belt you use.
Original belt on top and DOM belt on the bottom
To be continued....
Update 9/29/12: Neither my instructor, one of the guys at the gym, or I could find someone to embroider the Hanja onto the belts (too thick). The belt is great, but I will probably end up ordering another thinner gi material belt (maybe Killer Bee), so that I can put my team's name on it.