Posts Tagged ‘Master Jeong’

I Passed My 4th Dan Test In Korea

        I am proud to announce that I passed my 4th dan test in Korea. It was a great experience and such a relief! Finally after nearly 21 years I am a 4th dan black belt, master level, in Taekwondo. Master Jeong helped me register for this and drove me to the location to test. I am so thankful for him!

        The test is split up into 4 sections; 5 if you count basic motions as separate from poomsae. The longest part of the test is waiting for your time to perform as you sit there. Once you start the actual test it is very fast and only lasts about 30 minutes. It is rapid pace and you end up doing everything immediately. How it works is they separate everyone into groups. About 10 people in each group. Once they call your group you line up and perform.

        First, we did some basic motions and kicks back and fourth. They call all of the words out in Korean and expect you to know what they want you to do. So we did various blocks and a few strikes. Then we did 3 kicks. Only front kick, round kick and side kick That was it. After the basics they command you to do poomsae and they have 2 forms chosen. Everyone the entire test does the exact same motions and poomsae. Nothing is different from anyone else. This time they had us perform Keumgang and Taebaek. Lower dan levels had to do Koryo instead of Taebaek. But for us higher dan grades we did those 2 forms. After forms you are told to move to the other side of the room. The room is set up kind of like a tournament, but with only 2 rings. The first ring is for basics and poomsae, and the other side of the room is for sparring. For sparring they will have about 4 matches at once going on. Right away you put on sparring gear. You wear the full gear including a groin cup and mouth piece. But you do not have to wear the WTF tournament feet pads and gloves. You simply have to wear the basic arm guards, shin guards, hogu, head gear, groin cup, and mouth guard. They provided the hogu and head gear. You had to provide the rest of the gear. We then sparred. It’s supposed to be 1 minute of sparring and that is it, but my match went on for maybe 40 seconds. I think they count the 1 minute when the referee calls out the command before you even start fighting. I had to fight a tall guy who was bigger. It was kind of intimidating, but it was ok and I just fought like I was in a tournament. Master Jeong told me not to try and hurt people and not to go all out but in the heat of battle I felt like I had to actually fight. It was okay and no one got hurt. It just feels like a tournament and you have those nerves before you fight. After we sparred and did our thing the other guy was nice and very respectful to me and bowed to me and shook my hand. It was cool. Finally after sparring we had to break a brick. The brick was plastic. About 5 people in a line had to either break a plastic brick or plastic boards. The bricks and boards are supposed to be made to be as strong as the actual things. It is not easy to break the plastic bricks as they are very hard. But of course even a teenager can break them. I broke my brick the first try. I believe you get 2 or 3 times to try and break them. I am not sure, but I heard that breaking is not mandatory and you can still pass without it. So if you cannot break the brick you can still pass if you did well on other parts of the test. After the breaking technique there was  written portion of the test which was a multiple choice paper to fill out with 1 essay question at the end. All of the questions had things to do with Taekwondo history, philosophy, Olympic rules, theoretical knowledge of techniques and such. It was all in Korean and Master Jeong had to read it for me and explain it all in English. After I filled it out I handed it in and I was done. Boom! Test completed!

        Whew! After I did the brick breaking I was awarded a certificate of excellence and a gold medal for performing with top quality, especially for poomsae. They did not give these out to everyone. Only a couple of people got them in each division. I received the award for the adults testing for high dan rank.

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They printed out the certificate right there because they added my name on it, and spelled my name wrong but it is ok and I am so grateful to be acknowledged as a great Taekwondoin. To be acknowledged by the Koreans is so wonderful! I am so proud of myself and Master Jeong really taught me well!

        The Kukkiwon promotion test is not usually held at the actual Kukkiwon anymore. The only people who are allowed to test in Korea are residence. Either you are Korean and a citizen, or you have lived in Korea legally for 6 months. I have lived here for 6 months so I was eligible to test here. You cannot just travel to Korea and test at the Kukkiwon. They expect you to test in your home country and apply by mail. Also, in Korea you can actually fail the test. Unlike in America where virtually nobody fails ever because they paid money. But even so, some of the quality of students testing I saw was very poor and in my opinion not deserving of a black belt. So they still let things slide and allow low quality people to pass the test apparently. Hopefully, this changes. But if you do really, really bad or cannot remember the form or something, you can fail. That is what I have heard. The test is run in a strict way like the military. They yell commands and have you line up and bow. You are then told to move to other areas fast. It is very serious and strict. Testing is usually held in various regions of Korea. For whatever province you live in, that is where you will test. Our test is in Gyeong Gi-do and the city was Hanam. So it was held by the Gyeong Gi-do Taekwondo Association (GTA). Kind of like how in America each state has it’s own Taekwondo association under the USAT. In Korea it is all under the authority of the KTA. But yes, they do still hold promotion tests in the actual Kukkiwon, but not as much as they used to. It is mainly an office place and a place for special events such as demos they do every night for the general public.

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Receiving my new belt for 4th dan from Master Jeong

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        The purpose of the Kukkiwon promotion test is to check that you know the motions of Taekwondo, that you understand how to perform Taekwondo and how to actually use it. The sparring is held just to prove you can fight and know foot work and understand the sport rules as well. They also want to check your power with the breaking to show you are strong with technique. The Kukkiwon test is not to prove you are some gold medal world champion fighter or some deadly killer, but to show you have a mastery of the basics and are worthy of your dan grade. With all of the people testing, time is limited so the test is very short and straight to the point. I am sure the exam your local dojang holds for your test may or may not be much harder and more difficult. All that matters for testing is the Kukkiwon’s requirements of knowledge. Your instructor may have you do other things for him but the Kukkiwon requires just a small amount of things. That is how it is in Korea.

        I had a wonderful experience testing in Korea! I am not 4th dan and worthy of a Taekwondo master! YES!

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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!!!!

Update On My Taekwondo Training In Korea

       I have been busy with work a lot so I cannot post as often as I would like, but here is a little update on some stuff I have been doing with Taekwondo in Korea. I basically train 3-4 times a week taking classes and free training. Master Jeong had a parents day for the kids and the students did a little demonstration of various things. I showed “English Taekwondo Class” by leading a short 10 minute min-lesson for the kids speaking English the entire time. The kids get to learn Taekwondo words in English which is a big deal for many Koreans.

I also performed some Pal Gwe forms. The floor is a bit slippery though so it is hard to make good stances. I did okay though.

In the near future master Jeong is going to publish his next self defense book. I will help him out with making sure the English translation is correct as well as be featured in photographs in the book with him as well as be in some videos that will be supplemental to the book for smartphone apps and computers. So a lot of cool things are going to happen very soon. I will keep updating my blog about this.

It is now Christmas Eve in Korea and I am going to go have some fun tonight as well as tomorrow. Keep reading and commenting!

Korean Perception Of Taekwondo

        The Korean perception of Taekwondo is interesting. It can vary from people who think that Taekwondo is neat, but not a great fighting art to people who praise Taekwondo as a real martial art and something they are proud of that their country created it. I have heard women say, “There are no good Taekwondo schools in Korea.” This idea comes from the fact that mcdojangism is also a serious problem in the Land of Taekwondo. There are many elementary school children involved in Taekwondo just as there is in the U.S. And often times lik the U.S. instructors only care about money and rank kids up who do not deserve it. There are a lot of poor teachers, but being Korea, there are a lot of great masters here too. Some of the best masters in the world live here and teach. Enough Koreans are preserving the traditional warrior art of Taekwondo, while many of course use it to make easy money.

        Most Korean men have trained in Taekwondo in their life. Most trained in school as kids and almost all men have trained in Taekwondo in the military. I would say probably all of them except a very rare few. Military service is mandatory in Korea at the age of 18 and they must serve for 2 years. During this time many soldiers will earn a colored belt or two and some take it more serious and become black belts. Often in Korea men over time forget Taekwondo and it is more of a fond memory. Life gets in the way and work and family takes over. Many do not keep training in Taekwondo, but everyone respects it. To hear about a foreigner such as myself holding the rank of 3rd dan is impressive to them and many will assume I am a master of Taekwondo already because of it.

        There is a big trend of Taekwondo English schools, or English Academies that also teach Taekwondo in English. It is usually Korean English with heavy accents and most likely grammar mistakes here and there, but it is pretty cool in my opinion and at least they are trying to have a reason to be enthusiastic about English. I also teach 1 English Taekwondo class a week at Master Jeong’s Pure Mind Taekwondo Dojang in Bucheon. I teach 30 minutes for poom grade kids. It is very fun and they are excited to learn TAekwondo from a foreigner as well as learn English words. English Taekwondo classes can train future overseas Taekwondo instructors to help spread Korean Taekwondo around the world.

        Just like in the USA, MMA is very popular and more often they use the term K-1 or Kyeoktooki to describe cage fighting and more serious ring fighting like Kickboxing. I have also heard girls claim they want to learn Muay Thai or Jiu Jitsu because someone told them they are the best martial arts. Many are surprised to hear that Taekwondo is also a serious fighting style and strong if taught right. Taekwondo is culturally important and popular in Korea but it is not seen by the majority of young people as a strong and deadly martial art. They have the same view as America and Europe that MMA or Muay Thai is for fighting and Taekwondo is not as great.

        I am fortunate to work extremely close to Master Jeong’s Dojang. Master Jeong is the instructor who is known for his YouTube channel and online Taekwondo study course. He is also known for writing the book Hand Techniques Of Taekwondo For Actual Fighting KTA. I have been training at his gym for 2 weeks now. All of the work I do is highly technical and small refinements of my technique. It is a class for the serious Taekwondo student who wants to master the art. It is not for the impatient. It is worth it because he teaches the self defense concepts found within poomsae and teaches modified motions to quickly use them in tighter ways for actual self defense. It is a breath of fresh air to learn why we do certain moves and what tiny changes I need to make in my technique.

       We are also allowed to “kickbox” and hit the heavy bag with a plethora of techniques including MMA concepts. He encourages it. We are not simply doing Olympic sparring, all though there still is some of that left in to give the training a rounded out feeling. I am really pleased with it and feel so thankful I have thios wonderful opportunity to train in order to become a true Taekwondo master.

        Korea is also a wonderful country and has much beauty and a very cosmopolitan feel. It is so convenient to live in the city. You can also find various parks and even practice Taekwondo outside in front of people in your full dobok without being harassed or made fun of. NO ONE will bother you or care, but maybe some kids might drive by and practice English for 5 seconds before getting embarrassed and riding away on their bike. Koreans don’t usually talk to strangers though, unless you are an old grandma. The old grandmas are called “ajuma” and they are old and do not care about following the rules. They will talk to everyone and maybe will talk to you and say hilarious stuff to you. They are super tough old women so respect them!

Interview With Master In Choul Jeong

        In Choul Jeong is a great Taekwondo master of our day who has been very influential with advancing Taekwondo techniques. He is on the education committee in the Kukkiwon. He is the author of Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting written for the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA). I found out about master Jeong through YouTube last year when I was looking up hand techniques for real Taekwondo fighting. I was looking up videos for Taekwondo and self defense. I stumbled upon this video:

When I saw that I was impressed and felt really encouraged to keep training hand techniques in Taekwondo. He even emphasizes use of the kwon go (Korean translation of the Japanese term makiwara, which is the board with rope tied around it used for the hitting of the fist) for hand conditioning, something Taekwondo people have forgotten which used to be one of the essential training tools in the old days. Now days it seems only karateka use it while taekwondoin (who came from Karate and used to use it) are busy training for tournament sparring without much use of hands.

Master Jeong also makes videos showing applications for poomsae. He shows what the movements mean and why you are training them, and how they relate to self defense. He keeps putting out one awesome video after another. I think more people need to know about his videos and subscribe to his channel. It is awesome to see Korean Taekwondo masters training for the purpose of fighting and self defense and not only doing demo’s or Taekwondo-dance which seems to be 99% of the videos you see online today.

I was given the opportunity by master Jeong to do an interview with him so he could tell us all more about his training background and martial arts philosophy! If you have not checked Master Jeong’s YouTube channel please do so! Make sure to like his videos and subscribe to his channel!

Enjoy the interview:

WHITE DRAGON: What’s your name? Where were you born? Please introduce yourself.

 MASTER JEONG: My name is In Choul Jeong, but my Face book page’s name is “Taekwondo master Jeong In Choul” (Korean style).  I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I teach Taekwondo to foreign people at the World Taekwondo Culture Expo, World Youth Taekwondo Camp and at my dojang.  Nice to speak to you all.

WHITE DRAGON: How did you get involved in martial arts and how old were you? What made you want to start training? Please list your training history and be as specific as possible. Who were your instructors in the past? Any notable characters?

MASTER JEONG: You are asking me many things at once! Haha! I started training Taekwondo at 6 years old. My father was a Grandmaster and so his Dojang was my playground. His name is “Soon Kyu Jeong”and he is at the level of 9th dan. He is a former vice president of Odokwan and he taught many students. One of them is Grandmaster Hwang (Kukkiwon Director, Instructor). Master Hwang is also my master. I think I am a lucky guy because I’ve gotten chances to learn from many great teachers: Grandmaster In Sik Hwang, Grandmaster Ik Pil Kang (World Champion at poomsae), Grandmaster Jae Ro Ahn (President of Cheongjihjoe), as well as many teachers in other martial arts. They are all my masters in my life.

3rd place poomsae division at World Hanmadang, standing with his father Master Soon Kyu Jeong

WHITE DRAGON: What are your ranks, certifications, or titles in martial arts? Do you have tournament titles?

MASTER JEONG: Taekwondo 6th Dan Kukkiwon

Kendo – 5th dan 

Kyungho Moosool (martial art for body guards) – 5th dan

Member of Kukkiwon Education Committee

Instructor of World Taekwondo Culture Expo

Instructor of World Youth Taekwondo Camp

Author of Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013)

Author of Textbook for Kukkiwon Instructors (WTA, 2014)

International poomsae competition held during the Korean Open, 1st place

Taekwondo poomsae competition held on the honor of KTA president, 1st place in senior department

Taekwondo poomsae competition held on the honor of KITF president, 2nd place 

Besides Taekwondo, I have trained in Boxing, Muay Thai, Kendo, Kyungho Moosool,etc..

Master Jeong with foreign students

WHITE DRAGON: What is Kyungho Moosool and who is allowed to learn it? What techniques and concepts does it entail?

MASTER JEONG: Kyungho Moosool is a Korean martial art for body guards. It trains a person to protect VIP’s. I do not teach this even though I am 5th dan, but it was very helpful to study real fight Taekwondo. The president of Kyngho Moosol is named Jae Sool Byun. He was my father’s student and he has earned over 20 dan ranks from many styles of martial arts. He is the president of the Korean Special Kyungho Moosool Association in Korea. I received my certification in 2004. If someone wants to become a professional body guard he can apply to this program, but he should hold a rank of at least 3rd dan in some other martial art style before he will even be considered. There are many techniques and systems about defensive automobile driving, tactical firearms, and weapons disarms training in that program. They teach the principle of body guarding and all that it entails to protect a VIP. 

WHITE DRAGON: What is Cheonjihoe?

MASTER JEONG: One of the top poomsae teams in Korea. Master Ik Pil Kang was 1st president of Cheongjihoe, and I learned poomsae from him. The word means “the people who have pure minds.” 

WHITE DRAGON: Have you ever had to use Taekwondo in a real life fight or self defense situation? Have you ever been given a challenge by someone who wanted to fight you? If so how did you deal with it?

 MASTER JEONG: Yes, When I was a boy, I had so many fights and used skills of Taekwondo (It’s such a shame, I was so childish). Apchagi (front kick) to the stomach is a very useful skill and sometimes I used dwit chagi (back kick) to finish an aggressive enemy. When I was in my 20’s, I worked as a manager in my uncle’s night club. There were so many fights especially at Friday night. I usually tried to break up the fights and some guys tried to punch me. But I parried all their punches with steps and blocked the attacks with Taekwondo skills. After that I suppressed them easily. Actually, small and fast action is very important in a real fight situation, not fancy action.

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion on the modern state of Taekwondo? Many feel that Taekwondo has lost much of its combative nature these days. Is this true?

MASTER JEONG:  Yes it is. I want to answer with this famous quote, “You win some, you lose some.” Boxers can’t use kicks in a boxing match, so their punching techniques have been developed brilliantly and skillful. Likewise, we as Taekwondo competitors can’t punch in the face in a Taekwondo match, so the kicking techniques of Taekwondo are the best they have ever been now because they have been developed over time just as boxing developed punches in their sport. 

However, while we’ve developed great kicks because of sport, many of us have unfortunately lost the development of hand techniques. Sadly, many of us don’t train the hand techniques of Taekwondo anymore which causes many people feel think that Taekwondo is just a sport and is not effective for self defense.

But I want to say “The essence of Taekwondo” is a martial art for actual fighting. I will quote from my book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013):

The 1st and 2nd class Master Course Textbook (for Kukkiwon Taekwondo Master Training Course attendees) says the same thing – ‘Taekwondo is a martial art for knocking down enemies.’ (Kukkiwon Master Course Textbook). This is very important and we should remember this.

Hand Techniques Of Taekwondo For Actual Fighting book

The number of hand Technique is larger than the number of kicking in Taekwondo, nevertheless we barely use hand techniques in sparring training or a match. So I have intensely studied the techniques of Taekwondo for actual fighting and have written the book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013) with great masters Jaeyoung Um and Jae Ro Ahn. I have translated the book into English and you may be able to buy it online in a few months. (Special thanks to Master Andy Jeffries for supervising). Search for it on Amazon and other book outlets in the near future. 

Demonstrating accurate poomsae at a clinic for foreign students

WHITE DRAGON:  What is your opinion on the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)?

MASTER JEONG: I respect Grand master “Choi Hong Hi” the founder of ITF. They  use  punches  to  the  face  in  competition  sparring and  they have been trying to keep Taekwondo as a martial art. I think that’s good.

WHITE DRAGON: It is said that martial arts change people’s lives. In what way has martial arts training influenced your life? What can it do for other people?

MASTER JEONG: People learn patience, concentration, courtesy, and manners while training Taekwondo. And so did I. The real power of education is changing a person. Not only in terms of combative martial arts, but also in terms of personal edification. Taekwondo is a very powerful martial art.

 WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of the “Taekwondo-dance trend”? The Korean Tigers really promote it and have made it popular all over the world. I would like to know your thoughts on that.

MASTER JEONG: I think of it positively and I like K-Tigers team. But I think balance and sequence are very important. If some masters teach Taekwon-dance to a white belt student, it is not proper. If someone trains Taekwon-dance over 30 minutes in a one hour training session, this is not proper also.

Kendo master

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of mixed martial arts, and how does Taekwondo today fit in the world wide trend of MMA? Is MMA something to embrace as a Taekwondoin? Do you have any favorite fighters in the world of MMA or Kickboxing?

MASTER JEONG: I really like MMA. My favorite fighter is Ronda Rousey. Many MMA fighters and kickboxers are learning Taekwondo’s kicks and trying to apply it to their game. I am very proud of it. And I think Taekwondo masters should learn the skills of other martial arts and study them for upgrading. To develop something, we need flexibility, not a fixed idea, so I think “embrace” is an excellent word. Sometimes I do free sparring with MMA fighters or Kickboxers here and there. It is very helpful to understand more about martial arts.

Boxing practice

WHITE DRAGON: How important is poomsae practice to you and your philosophy?

MASTER JEONG: I learn the principles of body movement from poomsae, and I have been trying to apply the skills of poomsae to a real life situation. You can find my videos on YouTube and Facebook (search “Master Jeong In Choul”) demonstrating poomsae applications and scenario based self defense training with the movements found in Taekwondo forms. I believe that people will find the essence of Taekwondo in poomsae.

Taekwondo fit!

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?

MASTER JEONG: Yes I do. There is an advantage in Olympic style techniques to learn and we should not ignore it. I think that a real master should be skilled with both parts (poomsae and kyorugi) and should be able to apply poomsae into actual fighting. When I was in elementary school I had won a few medals from national competition. I also did sparring in tournaments all the time when I was a middle school student. Unfortunately, my parents did not agree that I should be an athlete and instead made me focus on studying in high school. So my Taekwondo focus turned towards poomsae training and hoshinsool study. Then in college I trained sparring and usually competed. I was a sparring champion in the university union division. I still enjoy sparring with various people here and there from time to time. I just never compete anymore and focus on self defense concepts and poomsae applications.

WHITE DRAGON: Do you have any final shout outs, statements, or feelings to express? If so feel free to mention them!

MASTER JEONG: It was my pleasure to do this interview, thank you for asking me to do it! 

WHITE DRAGON: I appreciate the chance to interview you thank you!

MASTER JEONG: You’re welcome! Good bye!

*For more information on Master Jeong In Chul follow his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Jeonginchoul

and subscribe to his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy-Jg_befA1wq6eWnTSVz2Q

 Be sure to buy his book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013). It comes out in English this year! Look for it on Amazon!