It’s always interesting to visit new-to-me gyms in Korea. I figure if anyone is likely to be treated as an outsider, it’s me – the female foreigner. Thankfully I can report I was treated exceedingly well, and made very welcome at BJJ Lab in Busan. I had a really great time training there, and I took a friend who had never done jiu jitsu before. He also had a good time. A huge thank you to John Torres, the brown belt blogger of iloveleglocks for pointing me in the direction of BJJ Lab!
Note: This information is current as of January 2014.
Mat Area: The mat area was quite large, with a single post in the middle of the mat. There were windows all around, so it was quite bright during the daytime. The mat was comfortable and clean.
Changing Rooms: There are separate men’s and women’s showers, 4 in the men’s room, 3 in the women’s room. Both have many lockers available, as well as towels. The women’s room had a hair dryer.
Other Amenities: There were several yoga balls, medicine balls, foam rollers, and kettle bells. Additionally, hung throughout were rings and a bar for pullups. For guests, there was a sitting area. Overall, the place had a really nice atmosphere – almost like coffee shop + jiu jitsu.
Time Division: The class is one hour + 30 minutes of open mat. It’s roughly divided to 20 minutes of warmups, 20 minutes of technique, and four, 4-minute rounds of sparring, with 1 minute rest in between.
Warmups: In the class I observed, everything was very practical. All the warmups we did were jiu jitsu movements. We were in a large circle, and he demonstrated things in the middle. For each of the warmups, he demonstrated how that motion was used in BJJ – showing it in context.
Technique: Everyone picked their own partner. It was all logically sequenced. He demonstrated 4 interconnected techniques, all built off the same base. He had his “gameplan” on the board, and had a few videos queued up to show us after we’d had a chance to practice. There was ample drilling time, nothing was rushed.
This video is in Korean – the class I participated in was in English.
Sparring: People chose their own partners. There were four, 4-minute rounds, with one minute rest between. If someone chose to sit out, that was okay. The instructor rolled with me one round – it was really fun!
End of class: At the end of class, everyone circles up and shakes hands. Follow the instructor, and shake everyone’s hands.
Instructor: Anyone leading class should be addressed as sabumnim. The gym owner can be called Kwangjangnim which means “gym owner.”
Uniform: Any color gi is fine, including mix-and-match uniforms.
Water Break: You can go to the water cooler at any time, no need to wait for a specific time.
Video/pictures: Totally fine for members to take pictures or videos during class.
This gym was opened around a year ago (late 2012, early 2013), so as such, most of the students are white belt, with about 5-6 blue belts, and 2 purple belts. There are around 8 women, and around 7 foreigners. Most of the students are in their early to mid 20s.
BJJ Lab is run by Noh Young-Ahm, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, 2012 ADCC Asia Pacific Trials winner, and ex-professional MMA fighter (Spirit MC).
Young-ahm started training BJJ in 2002, and started fighting in Korea’s first MMA promotion Spirit MC in 2003. Young-ahm earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2011. He is a certified black belt and student under Chae In-muk, Sung Hee-yong (Marco Barbosa blackbelts), and Park Jun-young (Roberto Tozi blackbelt), who have all have competed and trained extensively in Brazil and are certified to teach Braziian Jiu-Jitsu. – From the BJJ Lab website
Monday, Wednesday, Friday gi.
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday nogi.
Monday through Friday, classes are at 11 am, 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm.
Saturday classes are from 2-3.
All classes are 1 hour, followed by 30 minutes of open mat.
1 month 100,000
3 months 270,000
6 months 500,000
1 year 900,000
1 day 10,000
No sign up fee
50,000 for a basic, white judo gi and white belt
60,o00 for a basic, blue judo gi and white belt
How to get there
Take the orange line (subway) to Pusan National University (부산대).
Walk out exit three and walk straight for about three minutes. You will come out on a main road near a Starbuck’s. The BJJ LAB is directly in front of Starbuck’s, across the street, in the same building as ABC Mart and Love in Busan Guest House. It is located on the fifth floor.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (that’s a zero between no + am)
If you stop by BJJ Lab, please mention you read this article on my blog!