Sunday, June 9, 2013



   SHOOTO:  Shootor's Legacy 4-Tokyo, Japan

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Supermarkets in Korea

Going to the supermarket here in Korea is quite an experience.  To put it bluntly, it's a sensory over load.  Supermarket employees stand in the aisles shouting out the discounts of the day and the items for sales (with microphones), while t.v. screens strategically placed in aisles blast the same obnoxious commercial over and over.

                      Buy this discount fruit or I will talk even louder into this microphone

I remember one time bending over to look at an item and when I came back up having a extra large bag of Vienna sausages about one millimeter from my face.  "Buy this!" the grocery store worker told me.   Anyone remember that Chris Farley movie Black Sheep? 

           Vote for Donnely!

I always do my shopping late at night about an hour before the store closes to avoid all the craziness.  Anyway, I took some photos of some interesting food items at my local supermarket E-Mart the other night. Enjoy.

                               Canned snails

                                                   Canned silkworm larvae

Koreans love ramen noodles.  The ramen noodle aisles here are insanely huge!  The next few pictures are just part of one aisle. 


                               and more ramen

Right before I left France for Korea, one of my wife's co-workers took us out for a nice lunch at a local restaurant.  My wife's co-worker and her mother asked us what kind of food Korean people eat.  I mentioned sushi and squid.  My wife's co-worker's mother shuddered and said, "Je ne croix pas qu'ils les mangent"! (I can' believe they eat that), while she dug into a plate of snails.

Koreans love squid and eat it as a snack all the time.  Buttered and peanut butter squid is popular at the movies and at baseball games.

   Squid stand

                               More squid

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spider Guard (Learning Something New) & Refining My Game


: to free (as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material
: to free from moral imperfection : elevate
: to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing <refine a poetic style>
: to reduce in vigor or intensity
: to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth 


:  that guard that is really annoying to pass

Up until recently, I absolutely despised spider guard.  I found the whole position awkward, and had made my mind up a long time ago that the position just wasn't my cup of tea.  

Even though I really like open guard, I wasn't interested in learning any techniques having to do with spider.  Having my leg out there like that just felt clumsy, and nothing I ever tried from there ever seemed to work.

As I've progressed and developed my own game, I've learned to use what works for me and drop what doesn't (simple enough). 

Now, let's fast forward to about three weeks ago.  My instructor was teaching a spider guard sweep and he showed me a small detail that changed everything.  Now, I'm not saying that I was immediately able to start sweeping people, but something just seemed to "click".  A light went off inside my head:  a big light.  And, it's totally changed the way that I've been playing open guard the past few weeks!

I've only had this happen with one other technique over the years, the guillotine choke.  I remember hating guillotines, because I could never do them correctly.  I had pretty much given up on them, and then my instructor showed a small detail, and I started hitting them fairly often. 

The thing I'm happy about is that I didn't try to force myself to learn a new technique.  I made a major breakthrough very naturally with just a little help and guidance from my teacher.  At this stage in my development  something like this doesn't happen very often (for me anyway). 

Learning a new technique comes at a strange time for me, since my focus lately has been refining my BJJ, not to adding to it.  That means taking the things I'm already good at and making them better, better, and much better. 

I'm not spectacular at spider guard yet, but I've had some success with it, and I've been making myself play it.  Notice I said I make myself play spider guard.  I never force it.  I think an important thing for me over the last few weeks is not trying to force the technique on anyone.  If the position is there, great.  If not, I need to move on to something else.  Besides skill level, I believe knowing when and when not to do something is what sets higher level guys apart from lower level players.

I guess the analogy here would be that grapplers are like wine.  The more time we spend on the mat, the more refined our games become (mentally and physically).

                                      Look how he is struggling with my awesome guard!

My instructor told me something very interesting Saturday, and I've been thinking about it a lot this week.  He said when he tries to gauge what level someone is, he generally looks at two things:  First, he says he looks at how good a person's ball is. Second, he looks at their pressure.

So, to refine my game the following things I will be working on everyday are:
1.  Keeping my body in a ball
2.  Keeping lot of pressure when I am on top (this means using my head like a third arm)
3.  Changing direction
4.  Keeping my body loose and not tense (but using strength)

I've actually been working on these things for awhile now, but now I'm even more determined that these are the things I need to focus on to refine my BJJ and make it better.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championship

Today is the last day of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.  Being in Korea, there's a sixteen hours difference between Busan and California.  It's 12:39 a.m. here in Korea right now.  The Mundials start at 2:00 a.m. here.  

I've been on a gluten free diet for about five months  now, but I decided to treat myself tonight to some homemade pizza and my favorite beer Guinness while I stay up late and fry my brain.  T-minus one hour and twenty minutes......


Killer Bee Custom gi

   Killer Bee custom gi

First of all, I want to preface this review by saying Jesse from Killer Bee kimonos paid me money to write a "puff" piece about his custom gi.  Me, being the huge sell out that I am, gladly leapt at the chance of becoming an ass kissing lackey.  So, Killer Bee:  Five stars!  The best!

Seriously though, this was the first time I've ever ordered anything from this company, and I have to say the customer service is excellent.  The owner tries to go above and beyond to satisfy his customers and it is reflected in the way he does business.  The gis were late in arriving to the owner, and I was refunded money and even had my shipping charge to Korea discounted without even asking.  

I'm not going to go over all the options for customizing a gi.  There are too many.  If you're curious, have a look here:

Off the top of my head, some of the things you can customize are the stitching, jacket and pant measurements, collar color, and gi material. 

My gi 
-Ligustica gi material
-White gi with grey contrast stitching
-cotton pants
-Size A-1

Gi jacket

I decided to order the gi in the Ligustica weave.  The weave is very soft and light yet sturdy, and I'm really pleased with it. 

When you order a custom gi you can customize the length of the sleeves and the jacket length.  All of my gis are A-0, and I checked my gi measurements to the measurements on the Killer Bee sizing chart.  I decided to go with an A-1 and not change any of the measurements.  The gi fits pretty well, although it is a bit roomy under the arms and in the back.  Not bad, but I wish it fit a little better in those two areas (I like a slim fit).  I washed it about four times in cold water, and then did one hot cycle in the washer (without drying) to get the gi to shrink to where I wanted it.   

The embroidery & craftsmanship

I was able to get two custom images embroidered on my gi.  You can pretty much choose anyplace on the gi to put your images.  I had my academy's old school team logo placed on the back, and my school's name in Hanja placed on the front.  The embroidery is beautiful, and it came out even better better than what I was expecting.  They did a really, really superb job.  I was a little worried about getting the Hanja to come out correctly on the gi, but Jesse was able to work with the graphics I sent him. 

Also, the gi is put together very nicely.  All the stitching is straight and tight, and there are no loose seams or threads anywhere on the gi. 

   동천백산유술회 East Heaven White Mountain Jiu-Jitsu Club


There is an option to have the Killer Bee logo on the gi or taken off.  I decided to keep the logo on the gi and had it embroidered in white.  I think it came out looking pretty cool. 

                     Killer Bee logo in white embroidery

I ordered the trim on the bottom of the gi jacket and on the inside of the pant cuffs and sleeve cuffs in pink.  The trim is darker than what I was expecting (I was expecting a light pink), but I'm still pleased with it.

                                            Pink trim

I don't really care how the collar of my gi feels or looks.  I know some people like to know the thickness, so here's a picture of the collar compared to some of my other gis:

           From top to bottom:  Killer Bee, Koral Light, Shoyoroll (Yank), Isami Double Weave

The pants

I decided to go with the cotton pants.  The length on the pants is perfect as is the width.  The only thing that I don't like is that there is a bit too much room in the crotch area of the pants which makes them feel a bit awkward.  

I had a lot of fun designing my gi, and there are a lot of options to choose from.   It seems like a lot at first, but it's really not that bad.  I've had my gi for about two weeks now, and have been using it at every practice, so obviously I'm very happy with it.  It's very comfortable to roll in, and overall I'm happy with the fit. 

-Ligustica material
-Craftsmanship and embroidery
-Overall fit, although I would have liked the gi to be a little less roomy under the arms and in the back
-Customer service

-Pants a bit too roomy in the crotch