Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Jiu-Jitsu Lab!

    The Jiu-Jitsu Lab

My teammate Young-ahm just opened a new gym here in Busan located near Pusan National University.  It is called the Jiu-Jitsu Laboratory.

Young-ahm is a black belt and an ex-professional MMA fighter, and he just won the ADCC trials in the Philippines last year.  I actually wrote a blog post about him back in November:

The new gym is really beautiful.  Young-ahm told me that he wanted to create the atmosphere of a relaxing coffee shop in his gym, so he used lots of natural wood and soft lights.  Not only is the gym beautiful, Young-ahm is a very successful tournament player and an awesome teacher to boot.  He is very, very technical and knowledgable, and it is a real pleasure whenever I get the chance to learn from him.

Class Schedule

Younh-ahm has cross fit classes along with regular gi and no gi BJJ classes offered throughout the week all day (morning-night) Monday-Saturday.

There are showers and separate facilities for male and female students. 

                     Noh Young-ahm

The Jiu-Jitsu Lab is located near PNU.  From Busan subway:  Take the red line to PNU.  Go out exit 3# and walk straight.  When you get to the main road take a right (there will be a Starbuck's on the corner) and walk straight.  The Jiu-Jitsu Lab is located directly in front and across the street from Tous Les Jours.  It is located on the fifth floor in the same building as ABC Mart and Love in Busan Guest House.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ADCC Korea & Seoul trip

Waking up before 12:00 p.m. on the weekend rates at the bottom of my to do list.  Out of all the seven deadly sins, sloth is the one I am the most guilty of.  Nothing pleases me more (besides BJJ) than sitting on the couch in my underwear on the weekends, watching T.V. and eating Cheetos while sticking various objects up my nose with a vacant look in my eyes. 

So, just imagine the pain and horror I felt having to wake up *gasp before 8:00 a.m. two whole days in a row!  On Saturday, I met my friend Jackie at 8:00 a.m. at the bus staion in Busan to head to Seoul.


Jackie had been adamant about taking the KTX train up to Seoul, and I had been trying to coax him into taking the bus to Seoul for two whole weeks since it is way more comfy and inexpensive.  I'm as cunning as an Arab and twice as shrewd when it comes to trying to make a deal (don't you love my folksy racism?), and I proceeded to try and relate to the cheapskate lurking within my friend.  "Come on" I said, "It' s way more comfortable and almost forty dollars cheaper to take the bus".  I soon as money was mentioned I knew my friend's eyes would tighten up followed by incessant chin rubbing.  "Okay, let's do it" he said.  Mission accomplished. 

We had over an hour to kill before our bus left, so we decided to get some breakfast.  Breakfast was a bit unusual by Western standards:  rice, kimchi (fermented cabbage), seaweed soup, and a various assortment of fermented vegetables.

The first time I was ever introduced to this kind of breakfast was in Japan, and I almost died of shock not to mention I went hungry that morning.  Hey, it's not my fault, man.  I grew up having breakfast tacos for breakfast.  What repulsed me four years ago, I happily chowed down on that morning.  I actually like the saltiness of kimchi first thing in the morning, and having rice to start my day is perfectly normal to me now after four years. 


The trip up to Seoul on the bus was nice, and both Jackie and I slept most of the way in our big recliner seats.  We got to Seoul around 1:45 p.m. and headed directly to Korean Top Team for ADCC Korea.  We didn't know exactly where the gym was, so we had to walk around for awhile.  When we got to Korean Top Team, the venue was sold out, and it was packed.  Fortunately, our instructor had bought us a ticket earlier that day.

                               Korean Top Team

The main reason the gym was so packed was that Kim Dong-hyunh (a famous UFC fighter from Korea) had decided to participate.  I was a little bummed that I didn't get a chance to compete, but I had a lot of fun watching the matches, and it kind of got me motivated and excited for my competition the next day.  I always love the energy at grappling competitions, especially when the crowd is into it.  One of the competitors even stopped me in the hallway on my way to the bathroom and said, "I love leg locks?  I've read your blog".  He was really nice.  I think his name was Tom (sorry if I'm wrong).

                          Kim Dong-huynh (Team MAD) v.s. Jung Hwa-cha (MMA Story)

                             Kim Dong-hyunh (Team MAD) v.s. Su Hyung-jun (Team Grizzly)

                               Judge's table

                               -66 KG division winner Choi Jung-bum (Paraestra) on top

                               Michael Ahn (top).

                     Kim Dong-huynh
              I don't know who this guy is, but he looks important.  Plus he was wearing a suit.

   Korean Top Team

After ADCC, Jackie and I went to have dinner with one of our teammates Mr. Chung.  Mr. Chung treated Jackie and I to dinner.  Afterwards, we all went to KFC Mr. Chung decided it would be a good idea to order a Jango burger (two large pieces of fried chicken with cheese and bacon stuffed in between them).  No way I was eating that a day before my competition.  Jackie threw caution to the wind and decided to get one.

                                            the horror, Mr. Chung and Jackie

I've been having a lot of neck problems recently, so that night Jackie and I decided to go to a bathhouse and relax (I also needed to cut about a kilogram and a half).  By chance, we were staying by a pretty famous one in Seoul called  Dragon Hills Spa.

                                           Dragon Hills Spa

Jackie and I woke up early at 8:00 a.m. the next morning for our competition.  It was a lot of fun, and I ended up winning.

After my competition I went crazy and ate a huge cheeseburger, french fries, and a whole order of chicken wings and onion rings along with two cokes (hey, sometimes you have to treat yourself).

Jackie and I took the KTX train back to Busan that night.  I'm glad I didn't decide to stay home and stick thing up my nose.

   Moving billboard at Seoul Station

   The old Seoul train station built during the Japanese Occupation

Sunday, January 27, 2013

King Of Grappling Seoul, South Korea

 I competed in the very first King of Grappling event this past weekend in Seoul sponsored by Road FC, Strata, and Isami.  I have to say that this tournament was very well run, organized, and professional. 

The weigh-ins, rules meeting, and the start times of the matches were all very prompt (on time) and orderly.  The organizers had three mats going on all at the same time with the far left mat running the beginner's division, the middle mat running the intermediate division, and the far right mat holding the advanced division. 

Also, I got first place in the -62 kg advanced division, other known as the "Hobbit" division. 

I received a Strata hat, a t-shirt, and a Clinch Gear rashguard.  I've been competing here in Korea for four years, and this is the first tournament to award the advanced winners prizes.  So, I must say that King of Grappling rules!   Seoul is freezing right now, and it was freakin' cold in that gymnasium when the tournament started in the morning.  Fortunately, for me, I had the very first match of the day quickly followed by the second match of the day on the advanced mat.

This was also my very first tournament since tearing my MCL this past summer.  My knee still gives me problems, so I had to sit down at the beginning of my matches.

My Game Plan:
Listen to Mater of Puppets
2.  Match starts
3.  Leg lock/take back and choke
4.  Win
5.  Repeat
6.  Eat bad food

Both of my matches lasted less than two minutes combined.  Rules were:  No points for sweeps and no advantages, points for takedowns, passing, back control, and knee on belly, all leg (for the advanced division) except for heel hooks, and no knee reaping. 

                                         First Match

                                         Finals match

My friend Jackie also competed.  He won his first match in the -74 kg advanced by toe hold.  

                                     Jackie Choi
I was done by 10:00 a.m., and I had a lot of fun hanging out and watching all the matches.  I saw a lot of good grappling, and the everyone's sportsmanship was impeccable.  Next time I just hope it's not so damn cold.

   King of Grappling

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dong-eui University Judo Program

"Judo teaches only through pain and effort".

Every now and then, a guy will stop by or join the gym.  Somtimes they are wearing a white belt or sometimes they happen to come on a no gi day.  I'm at the point now where I can pretty much gauge how much grappling experience someone has when I roll with them.  Likewise, I know exactly what I'm in for as soon as someone grabs my gi (if I let them) or we lock up.  These guys that come on occasions will have phenomenal base, cardio, and usually give me a hard time.  Well duh, they're Judoka!

Specifically, I'm talking about guys that are ex-professionals and guys that have been on the Korean national Judo team.  Koreans guys are pretty damn macho, but they are very modest at the same time.  They will never tell you that they used to be a professional Judo player, had a place on the national team, or, in some cases, had a bunch of MMA fights.  You always find out later when someone tells you in passing. 

People in Korea take Judo very seriously.  They don't joke around here.  You can actually major in Judo in college and receive a bachelor's degree in Judo which usually fall under some sort of physical education program.  Coming from the West, I found this to be very exotic.  Korea v.s. Japan in Judo is very serious business, and it' really exciting to watch the two teams compete against each other. I love it. 

My friend Tom recently got an invitation to train at Dong-eui University here in Busan with the school's Judo program.  He put together an excellent video (the best he has done in my opinion) that I want to share with everyone.  Enjoy.


ADCC Korea

   ADCC Korea Event Poster

Three of my teammates will be participating in this Saturday's ADCC event taking place at the Korean Top Team gym as well as two members of Team MAD and three other Dong Cheon Bek San members.  Two of them are in the event poster (Kim Young-uk-far left second from the top and Chuong-bottom row fourth from the left).  

I will be at the event on Saturday and post some photos and videos next week.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mario Bros. BJJ!

    Photo used with permission from Meerkatsu's blog:

I'm a huge Nintendo fan boy.  I've been obsessed ever since the NES first came out in the 80's.  I still remember begging my mother everyday in 3rd grade to buy me one.  After twenty five years, I can still recite the code in Contra to get thirty free lives:  up, up, down down, left, right, left, right,A, B, select, start.

I like to collect old school gaming consoles and games, and I have a huge NES collection back home in Austin.  Hands down, my favorite NES games of all time are Zelda and Metroid.  I'm also a huge fan of role playing games, too (Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, Tales of Symphonia, Phantasy Star).  At the risk of sounding like a major loser, I'm going to admit that when I start a new Zelda or Metroid game I seldom leave the house until it is complete.  That's why I adhered to a strict "no video games" rule in college during semesters. 

                                            My Game Boy Advance SP still going strong

I saw this awesome picture on Meerkatsu's blog and thought it was pretty cool.

Super Mario Bros.

Mario-has a phenomenal, solid all around game, loves Rickson Gracie, likes to wear his Tanooki suit when grappling to create friction
Toad-super fast, technique is impeccable since he is so small

Bowser-smashing top game and a good base, ex-wrestler, usually has bad breath

Wario-"that guy", major douche bag, cranks submissions, beats up on newbies, creeps other people out at the gym with his weird behavior and moustache
Yoshi-known for using crazy guards and a lot of innovative techniques, has to be constantly reminded to remove his boots before he gets on the mat
Princess Peach-skinny and petite but badass, usually paired up with aggressive, unsuspecting meat heads that come in, so that she can hand out ass whippings
Special Mention
Donkey Kong-crazy grip strength, natural grappler with "gorilla" strength, once he gets your back it's over

                            Bubble Man theme from my favorite Mega Man game, Mega Man II

Friday, January 18, 2013

King of Grappling

Let me preface this by saying I hate competing.   I've always hated it.  For me, the worst part about competing is having to wait around for a match.  It's almost unbearable.  The anticipation is almost too much to handle.  I remember one time waiting from 9:00 a.m. to after 4:00 p.m. for a match and then losing by one point! 

My instructor had wanted me to do the ADCC trials last year, but I decided not to do it.  I told him, "next time".  So, when he told me that they were being held again, I decided that I would do it.  Unfortunately, I was informed about three weeks ago that the tournament is only open to Koreans.  I was a little put off by this since Koreans were allowed to compete at the ADCC trials in the Philippines.  I understand some of the reasoning behind the rule, but I think it would be fair to let people with Korean work visas compete (four year resident, here) like Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup does.  Oh well...since I can't do ADCC, I will be competing in King of Grappling. 

Next weekend there will be two major competitions held in Seoul.  ADCC will be held on Saturday and King of Grappling will be held on Sunday.  

Besides ADCC, King of Grappling is the first pure no gi tournament to be held here in Korea.  It is also the first even, to my knowledge, to put on super fights here in Korea (I remember Leo Vieira having a special match here about four years ago at a KBJJC event, but I wouldn't really call that a super fight). 

The tournament is not following IBJJF rules which I kind of like.   The rules are: 
Take downs-2 points (must have positional dominance for at least 3 seconds)
Passing guard-3 points (side control and north/south-positional dominance for at least 3 seconds)
Knee on belly-2 points
Back control/mount-3 points

There are no points for sweeps and no advantages.  For the advance division, all leg locks are legal except for heel hooks.  Matches are six minutes and super fight matches are eight minutes submission only.  I like the rules, except knee reaping is illegal.  I think banning knee reaping is silly (especially at the advance level), but other than that, the rules are solid.  

The super fights have a special theme pitting MMA fighters against BJJ players.  The super fights are:

                                                                         Main event

                                      The "Korean pitbull" Seo Doo-won v.s. Kris Kim

                        Road FC 001 "The Korean pitbull" Seo Doo-won v.s. Hara Akihito

                                                                       Match #2

                          Bae Young-kwon v.s. Sang Jun-seok (Marco Barbosa black belt)

           SHOOTO-Gig North 6 "The Serial Killer" Bae Young-kwon v.s. Daisuke Ishizawa

                                                                         Match #3

                                Kim Ji-hoon v.s. Park Hyun-kab (John Frankl brown belt)

                                     Road FC 002: ALIVE  Kim Ji-hoon v.s. Hamada Junpei

                                                                        Match #4

                                  Brian Choi v.s. Jung Yoon-ho (Daegu MMA purple belt)

                  Martial Combat 11 Brian "the Polar Bear" Choi v.s. Wang Jin Gang

I couldn't find any competition videos of any of the BJJ players.  The only guy I've trained with and seen compete is Jung Yoon-ho.  He is a beast. I know he has some videos of his competitions on Facebook:
Jung Yoon-ho's Facebook:
Chris Kim's Facebook:

All the match ups look fun, and the main event is particularly interesting since Seo Doo-won is technically a blue belt in gi BJJ.  I'm looking forward to seeing how his BJJ holds up against a black belt. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kim Dong-huynh 김동현

 the "Stun Gun" and  I

I found out today that Kim Dong-huynh is doing the ADCC Korea trials on January 26th in Seoul.  He will be competing in the -88 KG division.  By chance, him and a couple of the Team MAD guys stopped by the gym tonight to train.  I've been training here in Korea for about four years, and I've been to Team MAD to train before, but this was the first opportunity I've had to meet and train with Kim.  He was a really nice guy, and it was fun getting to roll with him.

                               Park Jun-young and Kim Dong-huynh

I like it when the Team MAD guys visit the gym, because they have a different style than what I am generally used to.  They are also very fast grapplers.  My game is more slow and methodical, so I really enjoy the style contrast.  They are very skilled, and I have to think very quickly and constantly be on my toes.  Rolling with them pushes my cardio as well. 

On a side note, tonight had to be the coldest night I have ever experienced in Korea in four years!  In fact, this winter seems to be exceptionally cold here.  It rarely ever snows in Busan, but we got snow in December.  I can't even imagine how freezing cold it must be in Seoul. 

    Snow day in Busan-view from my apartment

Today, it actually hurt when I went outside.  All we have at the gym are two tiny heat lamps.  I could see my own breath in the gym, and my toes felt like solid blocks of ice.  At least it got better as more people showed up and I started moving around and sparring. 

I believe Kim will drop by the gym a couple of times per week leading up to the competition.

   Tozi Korea

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Day Training-East Heaven White Mountain BJJ (Barbosa Academy) + Daegu MMA (Machado BJJ)



                               New Year's day open mat with Daegu MMA

Last night, our rival gym, Daegu MMA, showed up to our club here in Busan to visit.  Three purple belts, one blue belt, and a few white belts came.  We all had a great time, and it was awesome getting to roll with new people.  Daegu MMA is an outstanding club here in Korea, and their competition results are phenomenal.   I was very impressed with Daegu's level of skill, and they are one of the most respectful and friendly teams I have met and trained with here in Korea. 

I got a chance to roll with Jung Yoon-ho, and it was very fun and challenging.  I've seen Yoon-ho compete before, and the guy is really good and a beast.  He is actually one of the top competitors here in Korea and placed 3rd at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup in Abu Dhabi in the blue belt division a couple years ago.  I remember turning to my teammate at a competition here about a year ago and telling him, "You know, that little dude scares me". 

                               Jung Yoon-ho and I

I seldom get a chance to roll with guys my own size, so it was a real treat.  Yoon-ho has a super fight match on the 27th at the King of Grappling competition in Seoul (which I will be competing at, too) against professional MMA fighter Brian Choi.

   King of Grappling Super Fight

Hopefully, I can make a trip to Daegu before I leave Korea, so I can train with them again.