Posts Tagged ‘Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’

A Great Gi For Jiujitsu! Elite Sports Navy Blue BJJ Gi

        I have been studying Jiujitsu for a long time off and on. I have spent time with grappling clubs as well as actual MMA/BJJ gyms. Last major training I did was in Korea where  I competed in 2 big tournaments. It was an exciting time. So back in USA years later I am trying to hone my BJJ skills and get the blue belt I deserve! With that said I want to tell you about a new gi I recieved recently. The Elite Sports Traditional BJJ Gi. I got the navy blue color and I am size A3.

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When I first opened the gi I could tell the exceptional quality. Before I had used an old basic Judo gi, then I got a BJJ gi in Korea. My first BJJ was a basic gi like this one but the quality of the fabric was not as good and when I washed it (without drying it in a dryer and only hang drying since in Korea that is how we dried clothes) it still shrank! So I had a gi that shrank and had sort arms. I was not allowed to compete in the gi as it went against IBJJF regulations. So when I did compete I had to borrow a gi from a very large Korean man who had a lot of money who could afford to buy those trendy Shoyroll gis. The gi’s he lent me did fit me for both tournaments and felt great but knowing how much money it costs to buy such a brand was ridiculous to me. Now come 2018 and I finally get my hands on a new fresh gi for practice in the USA! I open up the Elite Sports package in the mail and instantly I can feel the fabric was just as good as the expensive brand. The feeling against my skin in training is great! The arms actually fit me and the legs too! Right to my wrists! Each Elite Sports gi is IBJJF approved and ready for both competition and training in the gym.

I got this gi sweaty and it did not drag me down. So it works great with sweat and does not cling too your body and ruin your performance after hours training. I washed it and hang dried it. Each gi is pre shrunk to fit you. I am 5’11 and 225lbs and I got a size A3. It fit me great! I have a larger chest and the extra room feels good. If you are even bigger or larger such as a body builder I suggest a size up from me. If you are a regular dude this gi will offer you enough room as it is.

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This gi is a great choice for a first gi as well because the price is right!!! I swear so many gis are overpriced in the market. 80-200 dollars for a gi? Why? Elite Sports sells this gi for $59.99! Perfect price and awesome value! I definitely recommend choosing this brand.

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When I roll in this gi I do not even know it is there. I am busy focusing on techniques and getting awesome at grappling instead of adjusting my gi around. Even the white belt that came with it, yes it came with a white belt at no extra cost, is sturdy and strong unlike other gi white belts I owned. I like the belt so much I put 2 stripes on it instead of my old white belt that already had 2 stripes I earned from my teacher in Korea.

I feel like I can roll around on the mat doing shrimp drills like I am on ice! I slide fast and smooth! I think this gi is incredibly comfortable. I would wear it all day!

I really like the draw string for the pants. The chord is stretchy somewhat and feels soft. It is long enough to simply tie it and the bow I tie the knot is does not press against my stomach or bother me in anyway. I can easy tug the chord in the back of y pants to tighten them to me comfort level and then tie a knot in front and I am ready to go! Pants stay on secure!

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Rolling feels so comfortable!

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This gi also looks great and is fashionable. It does not look boring as the logos are placed in great spots and are not too big. You can still patch it up and personalize your gi if you are into that. At least for a gym logo. So it still looks classy. I really like the navy blue color as well, it brings out my eyes and just looks fresh. It is not the simple blue, but has his nice darkness that looks formal. Now they do make this same gi in various colors such as white, black, regular blue, and gray. I suggest going to their website to check them all out.

Elite Sports BJJ gis all colors

Elite Sports Traditional BJJ Gi Navy Blue

Elite Sports Website

au.elitesports.com
uk.elitesports.com

 

 

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Earning My 1st Stripe In BJJ in Korea

        I received my 1st stripe in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Korea. Apparently the name plate on the wall already had 1 stripe added to it in the gym. But I never got it physically put  my belt. But my instructor finally put it on and so I am official now. YAY! I feel good earning my very first rank in BJJ.

So now I am  Checkmat 1st stripe white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. SO COOL! I feel like I have capable ground fighting techniques and am able to defend myself in a real life situation. Grappling knowledge has really helped me out in my martial arts journey. I have a great instructor at Fight Gallery in Bucheon who teaches very cool stuff.

Taekwondo Applications Fight Scene And Update On My Martial Arts Pursuits

        So I have been in Korea for 6 months. A lot of stuff has gone down, some negative stuff I can’t talk about that has to do with work, but other than that I have been training in Taekwondo and Jiu Jitsu frequently. I had stopped training in MMA classes because I have been to tired and did not have my head on straight because of stress so I do not want to spar and have something bad happen. I have stuck with BJJ diligently and even earned my 1st stripe on my white belt at Fight Gallery MMA. Unfortunately, my instructor forgot to put it on my belt, but he put it on my name plate on the door that I am 1st stripe. In my opinion you do not ask for a rank or care, you get it when you do. A physical stripe on my belt does not make me a better fighter. So I don’t care, but I am 1 stripe white belt rank now. I have a desire to try some more tournaments in the future. My teacher is really good and taught me some really cool stuff. But, for now I need to take a break because I ended up moving. Also, BJJ in the gi is murder on your fingers. It ruins them. It tears them up and breaks them up. It is bad for your hands in the long run. I feel that taking breaks will heal my fingers and keep their normal functioning lasting in the long run in my life. My goal is to stay healthy while learn a lot, and I sure have learned plenty in  ground fighting! I feel very competent for grappling in self defense situations with my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo skills, not to mention what I learned from Muay Thai and MMA classes.

        I have been trying my hardest to perfect my poomsae and have high quality Taekwondo skills. Master Jeong has helped me so much in Taekwondo to perfect my poomsae better. He is not only a great teacher, but also a great friend and someone who is there to help me in life when I need it most. He has gone out of his way to help me so much while I am in Korea that if it were not for him I would not have survived easily and been able to move and do things in Korea. In 1 week, this Saturday, I will test for 4th dan black belt. I know I will pass easily and cannot wait to finally have an official 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo by the Kukkiwon. It is so cool that I get to test in Korea as well! How many foreigners can claim they have tested in Korea with Koreans? I will definitely make a report on that after Saturday! I will tell you all how it works in Korea and what they require. It honestly is not very much!

        After I get my 4th dan I have to wait about 3 months in July to take the Foreign Instructor Certification Course in Muju at the Taekwondowon. That will make me a recognized Taekwondo master worldwide. This is the reason I wanted to live in Korea and work, to have these experiences. To get my martial arts credentials going strong. Then I can open my own dojang and teach Taekwondo for actual fighting and self defense.

        Meanwhile Master Jeong had me fight him for a short video to showcase some basic applications for Taekwondo poomsae in a mock fight. We filmed a fight scene and I play a bad Taekwondo gangster. Check out the fight scene and enjoy it! We had a lot of fun and it is supposed to be funny as well as show some maneuvers of poomsae applications. I hope you enjoy it! We will make many more episodes. I have only been 2 of the videos so far. Episode 1 I was not in, but I was in the last part of Episode 2 and then Episode 3. Check them all out! We will be making episode 4 soon!

 

*UPDATE* Episode 4 was made May 17th. 19 days after this article was originally published. Watch it below!!!!

I Am Now Training MMA And BJJ In Korea, Kyeoktuki

        Recently a new gym opened up in my neighborhood here in Bucheon, Korea. It is literally about 500 feet away from the outside of my building. There is no reason not to check it out, so I did. I ended up feeling the place out and I signed up. The instructor was cool and all the students were very nice. It is a place that lacks the big stink of ego that seemed to plague every American MMA gym. Koreans have a more respectful attitude in their culture when involved in activities or within an institution. Places such as jobs, schools, your church, your group of friends, or your martial arts gym are full of a lot of respect and calmness. This is not to say that every part of Korea is respectful, because any other international resident living here will tell you that Korea has some of the biggest aholes in the world and people who exude some of the most backward, irrational behavior in all of Asia. Nevertheless, this does not take away the fact that Korea generally has a more respectful and honorable attitude than other places. Especially within the martial arts. It feels as a little of the Taekwondo spirit is left inside MMA here. The Korean Mudo spirit. You can feel it even if there is no Taekwondo in these gyms, unless someone trained in it before; but it is not taught.

        So I felt safe here and had a positive experience. I have trained for a week. I go 2 nights a week for about 5 hour worth of training. It is very good training and even includes 5 rounds of circuit training for body conditioning. I tell you, I am so sore.

        Studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my main goal. To learn fundamentals, obtain a strong ground fighting structure for self defense, and hopefully earn my blue belt at least. The other things I learn at this gym is Muay Thai and MMA, which combined it all together. I am learning some wrestling stuff with the Muay Thai that is going to help me be a better fighter. It has been some very fun training.

        The training is safe so far, no one is hitting full contact and our classes are working strictly for the purpose of getting techniques down. The Korean students, even the big boys, those few giants of Korea you see, are some of the nicest guys and fun to spar with. I even noticed that there is 1 girl training to who is a white belt beginner. It is a safe place.

Here is the link to the gym. It is called Fight Gallery.

What is interesting is that this gym is called “Kyuktooki Garrarri,” if you sound out the Hangul when reading it. So it says, “Fight Gallery.” MMA and Kickboxing here is often referred to either as K1 (As in K-1, the Japanese Kickboxing promotion) by the average Korean, or Kyeoktuki. There was a DVD released a decade ago by Turtle Press called Kyuktooki: Korean Kickboxing and I bought it a few years ago. Many westerners wanted to understand what it meant and if Kyuktooki is a real Korean style of martial arts. Finally, I know the real answer. Kyuktooki, or Kyeoktuki, is not actually a martial arts style, but more of a kind of martial art, or type of martial arts. It basically speaks of free fighting. What Kyeoktuki actually means when literally translated into English is “hit fighting.” Or “striking fighting.” It basically is the term for real Kickboxing as well as used to describe MMA (even though MMA has grappling too). Kyeoktuki is a style of martial arts much the same as MMA is a style of martial arts. However, there are organizations in Korea that claim they teach Kyeoktuki and they have made it their ow style with their own black belt ranks. So there are certain organizational styles of Kyeoktuki, but overally it is not actually a special ancient Korean kicboxing style. Much like the Turtle Press DVD actually says, Kyeoktuki is a mixed style of free fighting that can include anything from Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Judo, Wrestling etc. All of the rage from Thailand about how Korea is “stealing” their martial art or lying about something are nonsense. Korea is not stealing or claiming to have created anyting. Many Kyeoktuki fighters are Muay Thai stylists. Most are actually. There are also a ton of Taekwondo Kyeoktuki fighters. Kyeoktuki is a general term for a more serious fighting sport, that does not include Olympic Taekwondo since it has such limiting rules and tons of padding.

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Starting over as a white belt is good for any martial artist to learn humility. This is me in my new gi (dobok) and with my new instructor.

        So now I can actually say, “Hey I am training Kyeoktuki in Korea” which is kind of cool, even if it is just MMA. Now when I describe my Taekwondo training and studies in Korea to people here I can just say, “I train in Taekwondo for Kyeoktuki and want to teach Taekwondo for Kyeoktuki and not the Olympics. The average Korean instantly understands what I mean. They are also fascinated to know their native martial art is actually a self defense system when I explain to them that my “boxing” is actually just Taekwondo. They are confused when I throw straight jabs and rights from up above and not from the hip. The average Korean has seriously lost all sense of what Taekwondo started out as because of the Olympics and stupid cornball, Taekwondo dancers everywhere. Also, they see poomsae a lot, but really do not understand the point. Along with the term Kyeoktuki, I mentioned Mudo which is the Korean transliteration of the Japanese term of Budo which is the way of the warrior. Taekwondo is Mudo, and it is Kyeoktuki when taken out of the Olympics context.

        Now about my training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is humbling to start over at a new gym as a white belt. Oh, yes I have done this before in Judo, Boxing, and MMA in America, but yes I am doing it again and it is only going to benefit my martial arts spirit. My goal right now is to gain competent ground skills for real self defense and be able to hold my own if I get taken down in a fight. The other goal I have is to earn my blue belt. After that I will see if I will one day earn a purple belt. Who knows. My instructor is a professional MMA fighter and he is a cool guy. He is a 4 stripe purple belt and he is very calm and kind. He also has a decade of Wrestling/Judo/Muay Thai/Boxing training. He speaks English (Thank God) and he has a warm heart for foreigners. Fight Gallery is a great place for non-Koreans who speak English and it is a welcoming environment. I will give more details of my training in future posts. Stick around and check back from time to time.

        So now I am doing Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Muay Thai and MMA on the side. I hope this helps me be a true martial arts master. When I earn my Taekwondo 4th dan this year at the Kukkiwon I want to know that I deserve to be a teacher of the fighting arts.

Does The General Public Think Taekwondo Is A Joke?

       Often times when a celebrity gives an opinon on something in society it is a reflection of pop culture and what people generally think of an issue. Martial arts were never mainstram until Bruce Lee’s success and various Kung Fu movies made it in Hollywood. Then everyone was talking about how amazing Kung Fu or Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kun Do was. Many celebrities trained in Jeet Jun Do and extolled the virtues of the martial arts. Now days Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gets the celebrity “Jeet Kun Do” treatment of a highly sophisticated and prestigious and deep martial art. On the other hand when a celebrity mocks something it’s usually bad news that topic as society in general thinks it is silly. Taekwondo i not taken as a serious martial art by celebrities which suggests this reflects the general public’s opinion of Taekwondo.

        A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” showcased a comedy duo who made a mockery of what is typical of American Karate studios. Howard Stern liked it so much that despite the 2 female judges opposing him he used the golden buzzer to save them into the next round.

Highlights of the video:

  • how he is talking loud and at one rate of sound like he is yelling at judges at some “sport karate” event
  • He claims he “learned to be a black belt at Roger Baker’s Taekwondo & Pizza in Pensacola Florida”
  • He is going to break the world record of full extension punches within 60 seconds
  • The music that plays when he starts his demo
  • The way he adjusts the board before he hits it and how he is breathing like “shooos” on every strike, and when he does a jump spin kick he misses yet the board holder breaks the board instead for him and screams and cheers like it was totally awesome

The main point to take away from this hilarious video is when Howard Stern explains,

What they’ve done here is lampooned to the ‘T’ everything that goes on in a martial arts studio.

Stern said that statement with conviction as if it is exactly the stupidity that goes on typically in martial arts gyms. The fact the comedian with his partner said “Taekwondo & Pizza” shows he is making fun of the typical “Taekwondo is Karate and Karate is Taekwondo” nonsense that almost all mcdojo’s promote. As if Taekwondo and Karate are the same martial art as well as the fast food mentality of mcdojangism.

Even Anthony Bourdaine who is now recently a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu afficianado with his wife, who regularly competes, thinks Taekwondo is silly. In the episode of “No Reservations” where he went to Korea, he was turned off and embarrassed about the Taekwondo dance routine the Korean boys showed. He mocked it and could not take it seriously. He said, “I don’t understand it…” and compares them to “The New Kids On The Block”, and “training future boy bands.”  Only later when they did board breaking did he sort of show some respect. The only clip uploaded I could find is in German. Please watch it at 2:38 to see the part where Anthony feels confused about why they are dancing instead of showing a real martial art:

Bourdaine’s attitude reflects the general idea that a martial art is supposed to be badass, tough, serious, and showing awesome fighting techniques. He is oldschool and grew up in the era of Bruce Lee after all. For some reason Taekwondo masters think dance display is more important that explaining why Taekwondo is a complete and effective striking system.

When celebrities are expressing embarassment or a conviction that Taekwondo is a joke and too silly to be taken seriously, when MMA and martial arts like Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing etc. are now the only pop-culturally respected styles of martial arts (besides Kung Fu movies doing fantasy martial arts for entertainment) and Taekwondo has lost its place as the most popular martial art in the world, something has got to change about Taekwondo. They are doing terrible PR work and ruined their image and need to try and restore it. I hope more Taekwondo instructors in the future will do this.