Itaewon Jiu Jitsu was opened by DK, a John Frankl brown belt, in May 2013. I moved to this area at the beginning of the year and changed over from my old academy to this one. I have found that folks are very welcoming. Most folks are white belts here, but I’ve found that overall they’re controlled and I don’t fear rolling with them. It’s a really happy new gym here, and I’m glad to be part of it!

group class itaewon

The Facilities

There are 2 unisex showers – new and very nice. There is a toilet available in the same building, but in another room. There is a free water cooler including ice! Free parking is available in a large parking lot – make sure to tell the security guard that you’re going to Jiu Jitsu Itaewon. There are no specific changing rooms – people do this in the individual showers. There are rings, pullup bars, TRX, and kettle bells. Overall a very nice facility.

The mats. Not too big, but not too small!

The mats. Not too big, but not too small! The area on the right has some exercise equipment.

Class Procedures

Time division: For the regular classes, they are divided equally 30 minute warmups/techniques/sparring. For competition classes, there is no technique – only drilling and sparring.

Warmups: Everyone runs in a circle at the beginning, then at some point it is divided into two lines and people do warmup techniques from one end of the mats to the other. Standard movements include: forward rolls, back rolls, crocodile walks, and every so often we do handstand walks or cartwheels.

The purple belt instructor, Lee Kyeong Sub, in front

The purple belt instructor, Lee Kyeong Sub, in front

Technique: 3-5 techniques are taught that are all connected. Classes are always taught in both English and Korean when any English speakers are present. The 10am class is taught by someone who only speaks Korean, but I have found him to be very helpful. The techniques are usually done based on triage – what students most need. For the final part of technique, we do one of each of the techniques we learned, one right after another. It’s a good final assessment for the instructor, and a good review for the students.

DK demonstrates a half guard transition taking the back.

Sparring: First round of sparring is positional sparring based on what was taught. After that, the instructor chooses the partners. Rounds are generally 5 minutes long. Note: this may be different in the competition class.

End of class: Everyone sits around in a circle and the instructor talks to everyone. Then everyone stands up and everyone shakes everyone’s hand. Follow the instructor – this will be confusing at first.

Instructor: Anyone leading class can be addressed as sabumnim. DK can also be called Kwangjangnim which means “gym owner.” He is really relaxed, and most of his students call him DK, even during class on the mats – which is not something I am used to in Korea!

This is DK, owner of Itaewon Jiu Jitsu!

This is DK, owner of Itaewon Jiu Jitsu!

Sparring: If you want to sit out of sparring, there’s a spot to do so. Sparring is generally from the knees or sitting; in the competition class it is usually standing.

Uniform: Any color is okay, including mixed. For nogi, you should wear shorts or spats, and a rashguard or t-shirt.

Video/pictures: Totally fine for members to take photos and vidoes. There is a youtube channel for the gym as well.

Water Break: Get it any time you need it. DK calls several water breaks throughout class.

The students

Right now the majority of students are white belt Korean men. There are around 5 blue belts, and 3 purple belts. There are 5 regular women, and about 5 regular foreigners, as well as 3 children. I have found that, while many of them don’t have awesome English, they’re willing to try to talk with me.


DK is a brown belt under John Frankl, and has been doing jiu jitsu since 2008. In addition to DK, there are 2 purple belt instructors. All 3 instructors are active competitors in the competition scene. One is going to the 2014 Abu Dhabi trials and the Pan Ams.

DK is the head instructor in the middle. The other instructor is on the left: Lee Kyeong Sub

DK is the head instructor in the middle. The other instructor is on the left: Lee Kyeong Sub


Monday – Wednesday gi, Thursday nogi
Regular classes 10:00-11:30, 15:00-16:15, 18:00-19:30, 20:00-21:30
Competition classes – open to blue belts and above 13:00-14:45
Open mat 11:30-12:45

Friday open mat 17:00-22:00
Saturday regular gi 12:00-13:30
Sunday regular gi 12:00-13:30

1 month unlimited  140,000
1 month 3x per week 130,000
1 month 2x per week 120,000

3 months unlimited 350,000
6 months unlimited 650,000
1 year unlimited 1,200,000
1 day 20,000

Sign up:
30,000 sign up fee – Tell them you saw this on Julia’s blog to get this WAIVED!
90,000 basic, white BJJ gi and white belt
140,000 jiu jitsu team gi with belt (130,000 without belt)

Because Itaewon Jiu Jitsu is part of the John Frankl network, you are permitted to visit other schools in the network free!, including team training in Apgujeong!

How to get there

Address: 2F ChoengHwa Building 22-2 Itaewon-dong Yongsan-gu Seoul

Subway: Itaewon Exit 4. Walk with your back to the Hamilton Hotel. When you get to the first crosswalk, keep going forward, then immediately into the parking lot on the right. Go to the second floor, and walk down the hall. Itaewon Jiu Jitsu is on your right side.

Bus: The 400, 405, 421, 110a, 110b, 6030 all stop at Itaewon station, by the Hamilton Hotel. Look for the subway Exit 4, and follow the directions above.

Contact 연락처

Facebook site:
Website/웹사이트 :
Youtube Channel:
DK (English or Korean): 010-4879-0831 Kakaotalk ID bjjdk
JaeHyeon Park (Korean): 010-8706-6648 Kakaotalk ID wogus9165
KyeongSeob Lee  (Korean): 010-9493-3979 Kakaotalk ID lhgs

If you stop by Jiu Jitsu Itaewon, please mention you read this article on my blog! If you sign up, mention my blog to have the signup fee waived!