Tuesday, January 3, 2012


A lot of us have a myopic view of BJJ.  It's because most of us train at one academy under one coach and many times don't get the opportunity to train elsewhere or with students from other academies (excluding competition situations).  And, that's OK.  In fact, it's how it's meant to be.  Your coach is your liege [my opinion].  But, it also provides us with a somewhat limited view of our sport. 

You're probably familiar with the few MMA stars to come out of South Korea in recent years, but I'm sure a lot of you are unfamiliar with the BJJ culture that has developed there over the years.  The man responsible for bringing BJJ to Korea is John Frankl, aptly dubbed the godfather of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in South Korea the video below.   

This is kind of personal story because, as it happens, this past September I had the amazing opportunity to visit Seoul and train with John and his students at 2 of his academies in the city.  My experience was nothing short of perfect.  I taught a few of my secret techniques, kicked a little ass and got plenty beat up as well - it was perfect I tell you.  I even suffered a finger injury that still haunts to me to this day (I found that drinking heavily made it seem unimportant).  Perfect. 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Korea is thriving.  John Frankl is a brilliant grappler and an excellent teacher.  His students are as talented and dedicated to the sport as anyone I've trained with here in So Cal.  They also have a unique team spirit and camaraderie that I believe is rooted in elements of Korean culture. If you find your self in the Seoul, you must train with John or one of his black (or brown) belts.

Enjoy this.

[Side Note:  Thanks to John and all of his students for the great training and hospitality, including without limitation, Steve Capener, 채완기,Donggyun Kim,Guillaume Barresi, Jeong Ho Lee, Kim KukJoo, Lonnie Edge, Young-Seung Cho, 손영호 and Mr. Dynamite Fist.  Special thanks to DSTRYR/SG's secret weapon in Seoul, Mr. Paul Ahn for the introduction and the makgeolli.] 


  1. @Paul Ahn: Thanks for helping FA find BJJ in Korea. It made the visit to Korea more meaningful and memorable since BJJ is FA's life (and his 2nd wife!).

    Also, thanks to the John Frankl BJJ Team for the wonderful hospitality they showed us. I'm sure the time spent with you guys was more fun for FA than the time he spent with my relatives.

    - wifey

  2. DSTRYR, how do I get in contact with you?