Hey, on what other BJJ blog are you going to have a chance to read about Cosplay, Manga or in Korean "Manhwa", and BJJ?
This past Saturday, I went to Comic World here in Busan. Comic World is a weekend event that takes place once every few months here at BEXCO auditorium. Local comic book artists set up booths and sell comic books and merchandise, and tons of Korean kids get together and dress up in Cosplay outfits.
This is interesting for a couple of reasons. One, you would never, ever normally see a Korean person (it would be very rare) in Cosplay. Hell, not even on Halloween do people dress up here. In Japan, it's quite common to see a variety of young people (punks, goth kids, skateboarders, Cosplay kids, and a bunch of other crazy styles). In Korea, being different and not conforming to cultural or mainstream norms is not accepted or looked upon in a favorable light.
That means that there is little to no variety in the way people look or dress. I remember being at the super market here once (mind you I live in the second largest city in Korea) and seeing a bunch of punk rockers walking around the store. The looks on the faces of the super market employees were priceless. Coming from the self proclaimed weird capitol of the world I found this quite amusing (where else in Texas can you find a Mexican cowboy, an old hippy with hair down to his ass, and a business lawyer in a suit all sitting down, casually enjoying a drink at the same bar but in Austin).
Also, there were a few gay (no, I don't mean happy) comic books at some of the booths. Apparently, homosexuality doesn't exist here, and if it does, it is something foreigners brought to Korea. Homosexuality is also something that people don't discuss. It's very rare to see something like this, and I found it refreshing people having the courage to express themselves, especially about a subject that is so extremely taboo.
There were tons of booths inside, and all the stuff was super cheap and pretty cool. I got a pretty cool comic book and a t-shirt for about $15.00. There were also some interactive booths and a stage set up with a panel of guest celebrity speakers. There was a young Korean girl on stage when I was there with about a million kids sitting down hanging on every word she was saying and screaming at the top of their lungs after every sentence she said. I was thinking to myself, "Who the hell is this chick"?
After Comic World, I headed to the gym. I taught class from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to a bunch of beginners. I've taught class before, but this was the first time the whole class was made up of complete beginners (everyone happened to not be Korean, also). I taught an arm drag, how to stay on someone's back and apply a choke, and a standing guard break. Then, we sparred for a few rounds.
Several times, a couple of them (or I guess probably all of them at some point) said during sparring, "I don't know what to do". I kept trying to stress to them that they've only had a few classes and that it takes time to get to the point where you are even half way aware of what's going on.
I was reminded of the importance of having a clear cut path and plan when introducing BJJ to new people. It's quite the challenge. I purposefully only showed them two techniques as well. I think anything more than three is overkill, and something that they will not remember anyway. Next week, we will briefly go over what we learned last week in positional sparring at the beginning of class and I will add maybe two more techniques.
The awesome part was that almost everyone at practice told me how much fun they thought sparring was!
I'm not the most articulate person, but I really tried to stress to the class that BJJ is not easy and for them not to not feel bad if they felt clueless. I told them that I was the worst student when I first started; that I couldn't understand anything and I was the weakest, smallest guy at the gym. I told them that BJJ is extremely hard, but if they stick with it, and are persistent, they will improve.
After I taught, there was an open mat for a few hours. I stayed for about three hours and rolled until I was exhausted. My legs are killing me today.