Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Road FC Lightweight Tournament Final-Takasuke Kume v.s. Nam Yui-chul

Takasuke "Da Jaguar" Kume

                                 Takasuke Kume v.s. Seung Choo-yoon Road FC 010 Busan
                                                    Lightweight Tournament semi-final

                               Takasuke Kume v.s. Lee Hyung-suk Road FC 7 Recharged

Nam "The Korean Bulldozer" Yui-chul

                                 Nam Yui-chul v.s. Colossa  Vuyisile Road FC 010 Busan
                                                 Lightweight Tournament semi-final

                       Nam Yui-chul "The Korean Bulldozer" + Joy Division=awesome!

                                                   Future Champ

Monday, November 26, 2012

Digital Underground-Sex Packets

I thought I'd post every so often about what I'm listening to at the gym.  I've been listening to this a lot lately when I'm rolling or working out.  Damn, this takes me back to middle school. 


    My instructor in France (on the right) Frederic Rabert

You are looking at a bad little man right here.  He might be small, but he will twist you into a pretzel and then choke you.  This is Fred.  My first BJJ instructor. 

My wife and I moved to France in 2009.  My wife majored in French, and she got a job teaching English at a middle school and high school after we graduated.

                              The wifey and I in Paris

That meant I was going along for the ride (good or bad).  I was pretty excited.  I was going to get to live in Europe for a whole year.  My excitement quickly dissipated when I saw the new hovel we had to live in at the high school my wife was teaching at.  Not to mention the principal at the school where my wife was teaching was a complete prick.  The first day we get into our new town, my wife goes to the school and introduces herself.  She tells, the principal (in French), "Hello, I'm the new English instructor.  I've just arrived from America".  His reply was, "Okay, so".  Generally speaking, almost everyone we met, who was employed at the school, was an unhelpful miserable twat.  We had just arrived, and we were already thinking of leaving.  It was that bad.  

   Chaumont, France

I'm glad we stayed, because my wife met a few wonderful people at work, and I made a few good friends who treated us like family.  I couldn't work at this time, because I didn't have a working visa.  Basically, my life was BJJ and boxing. 

                               My boxing club

A BJJ club had just opened when I arrived.  This was a lucky coincidence.  Our club consisted of about five or six white belts and our instructor Frederic who was a blue belt.  I remember having to get a doctor's note to train and then a separate doctor's note to say I could compete!  Anyway, Fred eats, breathes, and sleeps BJJ.  He only collected 100 Euros a year for the club, but he traveled twice a week (on his dime) to our small town to teach us.  He also did a lot of community work in his town teaching BJJ to kids (for next to nothing).  His wife, Alex, was a blue belt, and they had both traveled to Brazil to train.  Heck, they even named their son Rickson!

                Fred and Alex's son Rickson (the last time I saw him he was a new born baby)

Fred was not only a wonderful instructor, but he and his wife also did a lot of nice things for my wife and I.  Not to mention that the guy is a badass.  He can't be more than 57 kg, but the guy is fearless.  I was always in awe of his technique and finesse. 

Let me stress to you guys that when I first started BJJ, I was not a "quick learner".  No my friends, I was not the grappling stud that you see before you today.  To but it bluntly, I was retarded.  Fred was always patient though. 

  My friend Antoine and I at our first competition in Lille, France (I went 3-0, then some gorilla ripped my arm off)

I hadn't spoken to Fred in a long time, and I heard from him yesterday.  I'm actually really, really happy.  Over the years, I've met some wonderful people because of BJJ.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Road FC 010 in Busan

It was a  good night of fights tonight.  I got to BEXCO around 2:30 p.m., and there were already a lot of people in line waiting to get into the auditorium.

I hung out for awhile outside and talked to some of my teammates.  On my way in I ran into the "Korean Pitbull".

                      Seo Doo-won

The afternoon started off with Road FC Young Guns 6, which showcased all the up and coming fighters.  The fights were two five minute rounds.

My seat was pretty good (I was six rows from the front).  After Young Guns 6 finished, one of my instructors came over to me and asked me if I wanted to meet Jeff Monson.  Of course my answer was, "Yes"!  I am a huge Jeff Monson fan.  He then proceeded to try and extort money from me for the privilege.

 This guy is a 200 pound BJJ/Judo black belt and ex professional kick boxer.  Best to give him money when he asks-My instructor Sung Hee-yong 성회용

My instructor took me back stage to the warm up rooms, and I got to meet a bunch of the fighters.  I enjoyed meeting the fighters, but I didn't want to bother them too much before their fights and besides I am pretty shy person. 

                                         Sung Hee-yong, "the Snow Man", me

                               Bae Myung-ho and Kang Kyung-ho


I even got to meet my favorite fighter on the card (besides Monson) Takasuke Kume!

                                            Takasuke Kume and I

Kume was getting his hands taped.  After he was done I asked him if I could take a picture with him.  What really surprised me was how small he was in person.  We were about the same size.  He always looks huge and ripped on T.V.  Anyway, he was a really friendly guy and super nice.  He smiled a lot and even spoke some English.  I joked around and told him to him to choke Seung Chul-yoon (which he proceeded to do later on) and he laughed.  Big, big fan of this guy, and I'd love to see him in the UFC. 

After I met some of the fighters, I got to move to a seat on stage right next to the cage for the main card.

   My new seat

As I was waiting for the fights to start, Jeff Monson sat by me and asked me if I could do him a favor.  When a huge, scary looking bald man who has more tattoos than you've had hot meals comes over and asks you to do him a favor; you really only have one choice I guess (does anyone see a pattern developing here?).  Jeff asked me if I could signal his wife on his way into the cage, so that she could sit next to me.  "Could you do that for me?", he asked.  Jeff gave me an easy task to accomplish, and I failed miserably at it.  I was unable to get his wife's attention when they came out.  How simple can one man be?  Incurring the wrath of the Snow Man is not on my must do list.  I'm glad he won....

   Jeff Monson v.s. Kang Dong-guk

Looks like everyone is going to get what they wanted.  It's Takasuke Kume v.s. Nam Yui-chul for the Road FC lightweight title. It's going to be an awesome fight, and I got Kume even though I am a big Nam Yui-chul fan.   

                               Nam Yui-chul v.s. Vuyisile Colossa

After Kume won his fight I congratulated him and was able to snap a picture.  
                     "Da Jaguar" 

I tried to get a pic of Nam Yui-chul after his win, but he let out a Tarzan-esque scream and hauled ass from the cage all the way back to his dressing room.  It's probably not a good idea to bother the Korean Bulldozer when he gets excited like that. 

Also, there is a new Road FC middleweight champion:  Lee Eun-soo!
   Shungo Oyama v.s. Lee Eun-soo

Also, Mr. Monson, if you ever happen to read this, I tried!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday night training/Bathhouse 목욕탕

I had to stop sparring this past week, because I have a lower back injury. I'm one of those stupid guys that trains even when they are hurt or injured.  This injury though was way too painful, though.  I couldn't even sit comfortably or bend over without being in intense pain. 

 I tore my MCL this summer.  Then I lost all the strength in my right arm followed by the strength in my left arm (due to a neck injury).  Now, my back is messed up (from rolling with huge guys).  Man, I don't want to stop sparring with big people, because I get a lot out of it, but unfortunately that's where most of my injuries are coming from.  I think all of us who train BJJ have to pretty much accept the fact that something is always going to be hurt or messed up.   

Monday night was my first night back sparring in a little over a week and a half.  I tried to stick to guys my own size, and, if I sparred anyone bigger, I asked if I could play top only. 

I love Monday nights.  Usually, there are tons of guys at the gym, and on Mondays my friend Choi teaches class.  He is a life long Judoka (and a four year purple belt-very knowledgable) and has a very interesting style that is heavily Judo oriented. 

    Monday night class

                               Choi teaching a reversal from side control

Tuesday morning I woke up and my body felt like a wreck.  My lower back wasn't too bad, but I could hardly move my neck and my upper back was really sore.  For some reson my quads hurt, too.  Geez, I only took a break for a week and a half.

Next stop....bathhouse!

  Heoshimchung bathhouse near my house (photo used with permission from busan.for91days.com)

    Heoshimchung bathhouse near my house ( photo used with permission from busan.for91days.com)

             Korean Jimjilbang-ice room (Photo used with permission from busan.for91days.com)

I like to alternate between scalding hot water and freezing cold water.  I've read that his helps promote blood flow to your muscles.  I'm not sure if that is true, but it really helps my body to feel a whole lot better. 

Being somewhat of a bathhouse connoisseur, I'd like to touch briefly on a few differences between Korean bathhouses and Japanese onsen. 

1.  Koreans strut around in the buff.  Japanese dudes do, too, but a lot of them hold a towel over their junk when they walk around.  For some reason, Japanese guys like to put towels on their heads, too.

2.  Lots of spitting and hocking up loogies in Korean bathhouses.  Not so much in Japanese ones. 

3.    Koreans and Japanese both take showers before they enter the bath, but Koreans are really into exfoliating all the dead skin off of their bodies.  In fact, you can pay someone to do it for you (about $15.00) at the bathhouse. 

I've read that some Japanese onsen are shared sex baths.  I've traveled around Japan extensively, and I still haven't seen this. 

Also, one cool thing that I experienced only in Japan was the electric bath.  They feed electricity into the water and it shocks your body.  The  closer you get to the output, the more intense it becomes.  Crazy.

   Entrance to an Onsen in Takayama, Japan-A lot of them are free as is this one

                               Onsen in Japan

                     Bathhouse in Kyoto

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I have a confession to make.  I'm a grown man, and I have toys.  Honestly, I don't know what the hell is wrong with me.  I don't collect Beanie Babies or Barbie Dolls, so I guess that makes me less creepy.  No, I have a fetish for small pieces of plastic made in Japan.

The first thing I do when I go to Japan is hop my ass on the subway,

                     Don't touch or rub women on the subway

and head over to MANDARAKE, a Japanese toy and manga chain store that sells everything your toy loving, manga pumping,  cosplay heart could desire.

               One of the many side entrances to one of MANDARAKE'S Tokyo locations

Every time I go to Japan, I have to physically stop myself from buying everything I lay my eyes on, and usually my wife has to drag me out of the store kicking and screaming. 

                My eyes look like Glade Plug-ins, notice there is nothing going on behind them

                               Saku Hao

                              Look, it's the Missing Link!-no, that's just my Wandy HAO

                                                  The Kevin Randleman HAO rules all

                                                Do not step to this little Japanese dude

One thing that I get a big kick out of is MANDARAKE'S "adult" book section.  There you will find multitudes of teenage boys scouring the aisles looking at the latest and hottest issues of....manga porn.  It's wild.  The craziest, most vile, disgusting stuff you can think of, well the Japanese have already probably thought of it and put it into comic book form.   

                 The top half is all you guys get to see (ok, ok there's tentacles under there)

                                        My vintage Robotech Macross (Japanese version)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Noh Young-ahm 노영암

   Noh Young-ahm at the ADCC Trials-Philippines

Noh Youn-ahm is the fourth black belt we have here in Busan.  Actually, he is from Busan but is now living and teaching BJJ in Seoul at Cube MMA.  I can't say enough good things about Young-ahm.  Not only is he an amazing grappler and someone I look up to; he is one of the nicest guys I've met on the mat.  Young-ahm was kind enough to take the time to do a short interview for my blog.  Fresh from his win at the ADCC trials in the Philippines:  Noh Young-ahm. 

When did you start training jiu jitsu? How long did it take for you to receive your black belt?
I started submission grappling in 2002.  I started training in a gi in March of 2004.
                                         Noh Young-ahm receiving his black belt in 2011

How did you become interested in jiu jitsu?
Well, before I trained jiu-jitsu, I trained wrestling.  To be a good wrestler, the most impotant aspect is your physical ability.  I was really weak, so I became interested in jiu-jitsu.
What do you think is the most challenging part of jiu jitsu?
I think the challenging aspect of BJJ is that you have many different positions and, on top of that, you have to develop technique and become competent in a lot of these positions. 
What is your philosophy on jiu jitsu?
I think it is very, very important not to injure other people.  BJJ practitioners must learn to be patient.  My training partners help me get beter.  If he/she is injured then I can't improve.

                                              Noh Young-ahm and Marco Barbosa

Can you give some advice on how to improve in jiu jitsu? What did you do to help you improve?
You should practice and drill everyday and try your best to be competent in all areas. 
How many pro MMA fights did you have?
I had eight professional fights.
Why did you retire?
Well, I had to enter the army for my mandatory two years service (all Korean men must serve two years in the military).  Also, I'd be in the middle of an MMA and think to myself, "Why am I punching this guy in the head"?  I realized that I hate to strike people, hahahaha. 
 Noh Yong-ahm v.s. UFC fighter Kim Dong-huynh Spirit MC 3-I Will Be Back!!!

Do you feel like there is a difference between BJJ in Busan and BJJ in Seoul?
In Busan, the BJJ atmosphere is built in competition, and in Seoul the BJJ atmosphere is built in the gym.  Also, in Busan, it is common for the instructor to spar with his/her students regularly.  In Seoul, the instructors spar with the students too, but it is not as common as in Busan.  Also, we are lucky enough in Busan to have teachers that have trained and lived in Brazil (Park Jun-yong, Sung Hee-yong, and Chae In-muk).

At the Tozi Gym (Jeon Doo-gwang, DHK, Master Yang, Noh Young-ahm, Park Jun-young-far right)

Who are some BJJ players you admire?
My favorite BJJ player is Marcelo Garcia.  He is the no.1 BJJ fighter in the world, but on the mat and off the mat he is always gentle.  
How is the BJJ scene in Seoul? What do you think of the BJJ level in Korea in general?
I'm not sure.  I usually just roll at my gym in Seoul.
Where do you teach now? Can you tell me a little bit about your gym.
I teach at Cube MMA.  It is a gym of an acquaintance if mine

                                         Cube MMA (Noh Young-ahm third from left)

Is is true that you have never lost a competition match?
Yes, I have never lost a BJJ match, and I have done over twenty competitions.
You are doing the ADCC trials in November. Are you nervous? Do you get nervous before a competition, and how do you handle your nerves?
Of course I get nervous!   But being nervous just makes me stronger and faster. Strangely, when I fought at the ADCC trials, I was not nervous.
What is your favorite BJJ technique?
I love one legged X-guard, deep half guard, and the darce choke. *He also like to choke people, believe me.
Thank you for taking the time out to do this interview.
You're welcome.

Facebook page for Cube MMA (Seoul, South Korea):

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jean Cousteau-Leg Lock Defense & Knowing When to Tap to Leg Locks Part II

“Hello, dear viewers and welcome to the amazing and exotic world of leg locks. I am your host, Jean Cousteau. I will be your guide and companion, and together we will explore places beyond your wildest imagination”. 

Welcome to part II, episode two in our series The Joys of the Leg Lock.  In part I we explored ze' defensive positions of ze' leg lock.

In zese'....wait a minute.  Let's just cut the crap, okay?

This post is partly inspired by something I read on another blogger's website (an excellent blog by the way. I suggest you check it out).

In this entry Julia Johansen talks about tapping:  http://jiujiubjj.com/2012/11/13/bjj-the-safeword-is-tap/

Towards the end, she mentions that she is not experienced with leg locks and doesn't really know when to tap to them.  Julia brings up a really good topic, and this is actually an excellent subject to touch on.  Earlier during the week I discussed some basic guidelines for training leg locks safely:
1.  Don't crank leg locks, apply pressure slowly
2.  If someone is not tapping, let go or move on to something else
3.  If you are caught in a leg lock, tap and tap early

Now as I mentioned before, leg locks are not any more dangerous than other kind of submission.  When you are caught you know it (if you have been taught properly).  The stigma around them is largely based on people not being educated about them.

So, when should you tap to a leg lock?  A valid question and one that I myself wanted to know when I first started them.  First, think about this.  When you first started BJJ, what did your instructor tell you?  Well, my instructor told me to tap when I was caught in a submission.  He educated me on what to do and what to look for.  He also taught me some defensive positions, and finally drilled it into my head that I shouldn't wait until my arm or shoulder is cracking, popping, or in excruciating pain to tap.  Hence, I rarely get injured during training.  I tap and I don't wait until something is about to be ripped off or I am about to pass out.  I tap, plain and simple. 

Leg locks are not different.  Not getting hurt first starts with a competent instructor or teammate.  If you are interested in leg locks and are just beginning, ask a more experienced teammate (if there is one in your gym) to go over the basics with you.  The key is having a training partner that isn't going to crank them on you, as well as you knowing when you are caught.

So, when do I know when I am caught?  I think the best way to go about this is to first roll with an upper level teammate who is competent with them, so you can start to get a feel for them.  As you progress, you will become more aware of leg positions, leg placement, and how you should defend.  Sort of like when you first started sparring, remember?  Not much different.  I was lucky enough to also have a couple of teammates who were into leg locks, that I fully trusted not to crank things on me.  If you are starting out you can also grab a teammate you know you can trust, who isn't going to spaz out on you and hurt you. 

Remember, if you think you are caught you probably are.  When you become experienced you can play around a little more.  Better safe than sorry. 

Also, try to start out simple.  I started out with just two basic foot locks:  the ankle lock and the toe hold.  After I felt comfortable with setting up, executing, defending, and escaping these two foot locks I moved on to other stuff. 

Learn from someone more experienced and knowledgeable who is willing to help you, tap early, be smart, gain some experience, and you will be fine.

Happy leg hunting!

Jean Cousteau-Leg Lock Defense & Knowing When to Tap to Leglocks Part I

“Hello, dear viewers and welcome to the amazing and exotic world of leg locks. I am your host, Jean Cousteau. I will be your guide and companion, and together we will explore places beyond your wildest imagination”. 

                                                   Jean Cousteau

Today dear friends I bring you episode two in our series The Joys of the Leglock.  For zose' of you who did not tune in last time, here is episode one: 

Many people ask me, "Jean, how do I defend ze' leg lock and  how do I know when to tap"?  Today, my friends we will delve into zese' interesting riddles. 

To begin with, to properly execute ze' toe hold, djou must have ze' leg of your opponent bent at ze' knee. 


To defend, simply straighten your leg and your foot out like this.  Your foot should be pointed forward.  Beautiful and simplistic.

                                 Good defensive leg posture against a toe hold 

Zis' makes ze' toe hold less ineffective.  You can also push djour opponent's hand with your free leg if ze' have you in a toe hold. 

If ze' have you in a  heel hook, you can also grab their hand or if you don't have time to straighten out djour knee, put djour foot flat on ze' ground.

I find zat' simply straightening out my leg is the most effective way to counter zese' techniques.  Aahhh, but you may say, "Jean, if I straighten my leg out, ze' will counter with ze' ankle lock"!  You must be quick and stead fast!  Anticipation is part of defending.  Always be ready to anticipate djour opponent's reactions.  If ze' try ze' ankle lock, sit up and try to grab the back of zer' head and don't try to roll out of it!  Don't let djour opponent turn to ze' outside where ze' torque is ze' strongest.

If you roll out of ze' heel hook (in ze' same direction djour opponent is twisting), watch out for ze' dreaded creature known as ze' knee bar!  Zese' vile beast has claimed ze' lives of countless victims on ze' mat.

                                         Ze' beast in ze' wild:  Palhares

If you do not have time to triangle djour legs, seat on djour butt and push djour opponent's butt with djour free leg. 

 “Make sure to tune in next time for more adventure.  Thank you dear viewers, and until next time, I bid thee a wonderful evening”.

Part II coming soon....