Wayguk Fighter – ADCC Korean Trials MVP
It’s been a while since I posted a blog about MMA and training. For a while there simply was not much to write about. I had an injury that was keeping me from doing too much and my training amounted to a few light workouts a week. With my injury settled, I started picking up the volume and intensity of my training a little over two months ago. And then the flood came. I was offered four high profile fights in the matter of two weeks. First I was offered a spot to fight in the Sengoku Asia bantamweight tournament which I accepted eagerly. That did not last too long as someone complained that I was not actually Asian and got yanked from the tournament. The very next day I was offered a fight in DEEP against Daiki Hata, also known as D.J Taiki. Hata has fought and beat some really big names and I have seen him ranked as high as 18th in the world Bantamweight rankings. Despite him being much more experienced than me, I jumped at this opportunity as well. The style match-up is interesting and I am positive that I can bring some serious problems to his gameplan. Shortly after accepting the fight, I was offered two fights as a short notice replacement fighter in Sengoku 13. These fights were at a weight class that was a bit big for me and I did not feel that my training had been good enough for fights of that caliber.
Last weekend I competed in the ADCC World Pro Korean Trials. Our team was scheduled to leave from Daegu MMA at 5:30 am on Sunday to make it to Seoul in time to weigh in and compete at 10:00. Unfortunately, Saturday night was also the going away party for two of my good friends who are leaving the country. I made an appearance at the party but bolted early, not wanting to get sucked into too much of the festivities. Instead of going home (my apartment is on the other side of the city), I went to a jimjillbang that was nearby to make sure my weight was good and catch a few hours of sleep. A jimjillbang is basically a public sauna with a restaurant and sleeping area. There’s a co-ed area and a separate, sex segregated area where people just walk around naked all the time. This particular night happened to be the same night that Korea was playing Uruguay in the round of 16 at the World Cup. You know that old Seinfeld skit where he talks about “good naked” and “bad naked”? How there’s some things you just never want to see someone do with no clothes on? You can add “Cheer vigorously for your national soccer team” to the list of “bad naked”.
I had asked the owner of our gym if I could compete only in the no-gi division since I had been training strictly no-gi in preparation for my fight. He said ‘no’ and promptly entered me into the Open No Gi, Open Gi and Gi White belt Absolute tournament. It was a long day that did not start well.
My first match in the Gi division was against a guy that I had handled pretty easily at an earlier tournament. To say I was not mentally prepared for the match was an understatement. I got flying armbarred in under 10 seconds and was out of the tournament. I was so mad at myself that all I could do was leave the competition area and sit by myself for a while. I usually pride myself on mental preparation and always treating every opponent as dangerous, things I did not do properly for this match.
That loss was the kick in the ass that I needed and I used it to refocus for the Absolute division and the Open No Gi. My first match in the Absolute division was against the winner of the 100 kg. division. I fought a smart fight and ended up winning by north south choke. In the next match, I fought the most physically intimidating guy that I have ever competed against. He had fought in the Super-Heavyweight division, had weighed in at 112 kg. and probably had the same amount of body fat as I did. Luckily he was not particularly skilled and relied on his size to simply bully people around. I knew that I might be able to catch him being overly aggressive and throw him. Sure enough that’s what happened and I was able to fend off one scary moment where the monster had my back and I won the fight on points. In the final, I fought the winner of the 90 kg. division and won via americana.
As soon as the absolute division was finished, I had to prepare for the No Gi tournament which was an open belt tournament. In my first match, I managed to submit a blue belt with a D’arce choke. In my second match, I beat a purple belt on points 10-2. The final was very competitive until I got my back taken in a scramble. I defended the position for what seemed like an hour (probably about a minute in reality) but eventually had to tap out to RNC.
MFight (A Korean MMA website) was at the tournament taking video and pictures. They were also handing out their “Fighter of the Day, Tournament MVP” award. Despite the fact that there were many better jiu jitsu players than me at the tournament and some much better technical matches than mine, MFight decided that I deserved the award. I was honored to get it but realize that I got it because my absolute matches were exciting and a bit of a freakshow, not because I was the best fighter in the tournament. Not by a long shot. If you watch the video highlight of the tournament, there is a short section about the tournament MVP award starting at about the 1:50 mark. You can check out the video here
Daegu MMA won the team championship again which means that we have won everything that we have entered this year including The Korean Open, The Korean Championships, The ADCC Korean Trials and the East Asian Sambo Championships. Not a bad team to connect with if you are ever planning on coming to Korea.
Training last week was a little lighter than usual as everyone was feeling pretty beat up from the tournament. I was able to take advantage of this time to work on some specific technical points that I think will be important for my fight in DEEP. This week it will be back to higher intensity training and more sparring on the ground and on the feet. Our club has one guy with an upcoming kickboxing fight, one guy with an amateur Shooto fight coming up, Un Sik training for his fight at the end of July and another jiu jitsu tournament at the end of August, so there will be no lack of training partners in the coming months.
While training for what will definitely be the toughest fight of my career I have become embroiled in a fight of another kind. Living and working in Korea is a great experience that I would recommend to just about anyone, but there are some issues to be aware of. A major problem for foreigners is that there is very little protection for foreign workers. Bosses know this and are notorious for taking advantage of English teachers and not paying them what they are owed. Every teacher here has a friend or knows someone that has gotten shafted by a shady Director and now it’s happening to us. It looks like the Labour Board will be on our side for his battle, but it is still a situation I would rather not be in. Live and learn, right?
Thanks to everyone for all of the messages I have been getting lately. When you have been away for so long it’s always nice to read or hear some voices from home.
Till next time,
Brent “The Professor” Fryia