An Improved Mental State, a Battered Body.
The last two weeks of training have been much improved, despite my body feeling beaten and run down. I have added a few hours to my weekly training but the real difference has been not in the hours I train, but in the intensity and focus that I'm bringing with me to the gym these days. I push myself harder in sparring, I use my time better and squeek out more reps during technique and I use the open mat time to pick the better grapplers brains and work on things from the last class. I spar more on the feet and have added a little lifting back into the equation. I've also become more selfish. I almost always pick the most skilled guys to work with during technique and sparring. It might not help them a whole lot but hey, this is about me.
Everyday day at the club there is an hour and a half jiu jitsu class at 7:00 and another at 9:15 with 45 minutes in between where people relax, eat, work on technique or spar if they want to. I normally stay for one of the classes and the open mat time. Wednesdays is no-gi night so I've been staying from 6:45 to 10:45. The no-gi is much more MMA specific so I've been trying to take advantage a little more. Because of the length of training, I can't maintain the same intensity on Wednesdays as I do the rest of the week. I treat the first class as a technique class. In sparring I sometimes work with younger guys, give up positions and try to work out of them using movement instead of strength or speed. During open mat time I drill technique, stretch and stay warm. When the 9:15 class starts, it's on. I only scrap with the studs. I push myself to failure during conditioning. I yell, I bleed, I tap people out and I fight off chokes and submissions until I'm almost unconscious or broken. My body hurts a lot right now, but I feel like I'm working at a higher level than I have in a long time.
Some of the guys from the club think that I'm bat guano crazy because I bleed so much but keep sparring or training anyways. "Kinchanaieo", meaning "it's ok", has become a verbal staple for me. I say it about 10 times a night. The truth is that I just bleed a lot. One time I got cut by a stiff breeze. I briefly contemplated Brent "stretched out saran wrap skin" Fryia as my professional nickname. When I wrestled in university the trainers were always at matside with gauze, tape and cotton balls ready to go. I know that having thin skin is probably not the best characteristic for an MMA fighter, but it is what it is and the fans love blood right?
I realized recently that I haven't posted anything visual in regards to Daegu MMA. To remedy the situation I took a few videos last night to show you what the place is like. The videos are from after all of the classes for the day are done. Most people have gone home but some have stuck around to roll or work on a few things. A lot of the people in this video have already been at the club for more than four hours.
Cast of Characters: These are a few of the guys I train with every day
Hyung Gull (young gal) is a a purple belt, but that's misleading. I've been told more than once that he should be a brown belt but won't do it here because his master is a brown belt. He plans on going to Japan to get his brown and pursue his black belt. He's an unbelievable athlete. Strong fast, flexible and smart. He recently won the Korean regional qualifier of the ADCC against brown and black belts. In the semi final he faced his teammate, Un Sik and nearly broke his arm clean in half. Un Sik is just back training now after having minor surgery on that arm. Sounds like a jerk move on one of your buddies? Keep in mind Un Sik could have tapped at any point. You can see Hyung Gull in the red shorts in the second video.
Un Sik (oon shik) is an unbelievably skilled fighter. He is 7-0 and had developed quite a following before he entered the military and was forced to put figting on hold. All Korean men have a two year mandatory military service. During this time you can work one other job, but not two. Un Sik has a part time job that pays the bills, meaning if he gets paid to fight, he would face military charges and punishment. Raw deal. Un Sik is also a purple belt, has awesome Muai Thai and is picking up wrestling very quickly. One of the reasons I like him a lot is because he didn't like me right off the bat. While everyone else accepted me right off the bat because I was Mitch's brother Un Sik couldn't have cared less who I was, who I knew or what I had done before. He made me earn it. I like that because I'm the same way at home at Ho Shin Sool... don't tell me how good you are, show me. Un Sik has an amateur Kickboxing fight at the end of this month. You can see Un Sik wrapping up for sparring in the first video.
John is an 18 year old highschool student. That's him pretending to do something and throwing punches at the camera in the second video. he has an English name and speaks the language pretty well because he took several years of English in school. He likes to show off his knowledge of English slang by swearing at inappropriate times which is often hilarious, but only to me. I use him as my translator a lot. He has real sharp standup and is pretty slick on the ground. He likes sparring on the feet with anybody, guys who are better than him, guys he can work over without sweating or guys who give a him a solid challenge. Next year he'll start the first of his two years of military service after which he plans on beginning his fighting career.
"Super Babies" is what some of the older guys call the young kids who train at the club all the time. I think they are genetically engineered to be jiu jitsu machines. They're mostly in middle school and early highschool and spend ALL of their time at the club. They don't train super hard all the time but their skill level is pretty amazing considering how young they are. One of these kids first introduced himself to me as "Young Korean GSP". I thought that was pretty funny until I rolled with him. In the next 5 to 10 years I think you'll be watching one or more of these kids. In the second video you can see the two kids with no shirts on rolling. It might not look like they're rolling real hard but when that video was taken they had already been doing it for four hours. Pretty wild.
There's a bunch of other awesome guys at the club that I roll with on a regular basis, but I'll save them for a later date.
Things Koreans have figured out...
Cell phones. Every cell phone has the same charger and you can charge your phone at any store, restaurant or cafe for 20 cents. You're phone is essentially never dead. There is also one cell phone store for every3 people in Korea. Maybe a bit of an exageration, but not much. Think Starbucks and then multiply by a millionbazillion.
Things Koreans have not figured out.
Clearing your throat discreetly. You know when you wake up in the marning and are feeling really flemmy? And the only way to clear your throat is by making making a sound something like "HRANCHKXXXXXXXXT" and then hocking a loogey that could probably make into the next time zone? You know how you always try to do that secretly with no one around. Koreans don't. It's perfectly okay to do that anywhere in public. Kids, moms, dads, old ladies, small dogs... everyone does it and it's kinda gross.