I've been back to regular training for a little while now. While it's great being back, the conditions at the club are not ideal for training right now. The club is extremely cold. People who are not training are usually wearing coats and tuques and you can see your breath when training. The temperature makes it really hard to get warmed up and loosened out. If you do manage to get a good sweat on it takes about one minute of rest for your body to cool down and your muscles tighten up. This is the kind of environment that leads to injuries pretty easily. I'm doing my best to stay warm (I wear tights and long sleeves under my gi) but it sure isn't easy.
It's possible to keep most of your body relatively warm if you keep moving but it's your feet that are the problem. Everything in Korea is heated with floor heat but because Daegu MMA has mats from wall to wall they can't heat that way. The heated floors would soften the mats and make them useless and dangerous in a hurry. Instead of floor heat we've got a big space heater that is about five feet tall and four feet wide. You'd think it would keep the place warm, but not so. There's a radius of about 4 feet around the heater that is warm and the rest of the place is freezing. The mats are so cold that after training last night I had to walk to the subway extra slow because I felt like my feet were going to shatter. I think it's time to break out the wrestling shoes. The only cool (pun intended) thing about the situation is that after a sparring session everyone is steaming and it looks pretty rad.
I`ve been battling a cold the last week or so too. It`s pretty much done with now but let me tell ya, when your sinuses are congested getting caught in a triangle choke is one of the worst feelings imaginable. I felt like my head was going to explode like a a green snot bomb.
Speaking of freezing, the heat and water in our apartment stopped working on Friday and still isn`t fixed. This has been one of the oldest winters that people in Daegu can remember. Korea is a lot warmer than Canada but my life here is freezing, I can never get warm. I think I`ll be spending a lot more time at the jimjilbang this week.
Seoul and The DMZ
Lisa`s family came for a visit over the holidays which was great. We spent some time in Daegu, Seoul and went to the DMZ. The DMZ was awesome. Learned a lot of history and got to see some interesting things. Our tour guides were American airborn infantry and they were pretty awesome. It`s pretty crazy to stand on the border of two countries that are still at war and have soldiers from the other side watch you with binoculars. Here`s few pictures.
If you look closely enough in this picture you can see the North Korean guard looking at us with his binoculars. Intense.
This is a cargo train that got caught in a crossfire during the war. It has over 1200 bullet holes in it and never reached it`s destination, obviously. It was stopped on what ended up being the border between North and South Korea and had a memorial built around it.
Things I love about Korea...
History at your fingertips. Korea has a bunch of UNESCO world heritage sites and all kinds of historic temples and artifacts that are easy to get to. The history and culture of Korea is very interesting and very accessible to anyone who`s even moderately motivated to check things out.
Things I hate about Korea...
The Anti English Spectrum. This is a real beauty of an organization who`s goal is to rid Korea of all foreigners. They like to send press releases to the Korean media with fantastically researched claims. Here`s a few gems from the spectrum. The vast majority of foreigners in Korea are HIV positive. Most foreign men are sexual predators with a particular interest in underage girls. I know, I know, I was as surprised to learn it as you. The worst part about it is the Korean media is not real big on fact checking and often runs with these stories.
I`ve been contacted to write a column for TopMMANews.com. They are the biggest Canadian MMA site on the web. My next article should be up within the next two days.