Orem, UT: Mickey Wonchoi claims $500 got his BJJ black belt
Machado Jiu-Jitsu Utah Loses a Friend
A year or so ago I met and began to train with a guy who became someone that I honestly considered one of my better friends, somebody that I honestly cared about. And it hurts when you lose a friend like that, it hurts more than I wish to describe.
Anyway, this friend started training with Machado Jiu-Jitsu as a blue belt. And he was an asset to the class. I enjoyed training him and training with him.
This friend is Orem Utah’s Mickey Wonchoi of Wonchoi TKD. Mickey is an incredible Tae Kwon Do stylist and a very astute business man. His school in Orem is successful and his students seem happy; however, in what Mickey himself described as an act that was “all about money”, my friend traveled to Brazil to train with world Champion Eduardo Telles and when he came home he was wearing a black belt that he claimed Telles had awarded him after he paid Telles $500.
I congratulated Mickey, before I heard the $500 part of the story, even though I was confused by the possibility of anyone giving him a black belt at his stage of development as a Jiu-Jitsu stylist. Machado Jiu-Jitsu Utah did not, and does not, recognize his black belt but that doesn’t mean that somebody else couldn’t and if Mickey had decided to leave our organization then that is his choice. But Mickey didn’t want to leave our organization; he just wanted the black belt.
I was suspicious of his claims after first hearing his $500 black belt story . . . especially where it involved Telles who is, in my opinion, above that sort of thing and, considering that Telles comes from a well to do family, the idea that Telles sold a black belt for $500 is just silly.
Whether the idea was silly or not, I kept my opinions to myself. I always try to verify my suspicions before I make them public and this situation, involving someone I considered a friend, required that I pay extra special attention to what I said and when I said it. This is why I refrained from taking any official action until I had a chance to talk to Telles at the recent Aggro Submission Grappling Championships (http://www.americangrapplinggames.com).
Telles was straight forward. He barely remembered Mickey and actually recalled a friend of Mickey’s from Korea, who traveled to Brazil with him, before remembering Mickey. He told us that Mickey trained with him for a week.
When we reported that Mickey was claiming to have received a black belt from Telles, Telles responded with a look of shock in his eyes that made him look like he had just French kissed the back side of a skunk before he asked “how can anyone get a black belt in a week? No. No. No.”
This was heard by three Machado Jiu-Jitsu representatives who had also been told the story of Mickey’s promotion by Mr. Wonchoi.
I apologize to anyone who feels like I have taken too much time to bring this forward, approximately four months; however, I felt that the delay was necessary so that I could give someone I called friend the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps my feelings kept me from responding as quickly as I should have but I felt caution was very important in this case.
So, to polish off this rather ugly story, let me close this by saying that Machado Jiu-Jitsu Utah regrets the choices that Mickey Wonchoi has made. We do not recognize his black belt. Mickey Wonchoi does not represent Machado Jiu-Jitsu.
If Mr. Wonchoi makes any claims that he is a representative of Machado Jiu-Jitsu then those claims are false. If Mr. Wonchoi claims to be a Machado Jiu-Jitsu black belt then those claims are false. If Mr. Wonchoi claims to be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt then it is not from Eduardo Telles, according to Telles himself. If Mr. Wonchoi claims to be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, at all, then please request that instructor's name and contact information because as of today the information provided has not been what you might call the most reliable.
A letter focusing on the details of this post have been sent to Mr. Wonchoi.
Onya DJ for setting straight the record
Nothing wrong with keeping the information to yourself until you were able to substantiate the facts. There is no better way of doing that then to go to Telles himself. If possible, can you get Telles to sign something or to post something on his website as well as the Machado reps. This way, when someone decides they may want to train with this guy, you can direct them to the posted information on the various sites as well as documented proof if asked for it.
TTT -- Mickey's back and opening a school in Seoul Korea. Reported on http://www.bjj-asia.com
Looks like everyone is aware of the situation though. John Frankl is the man when it comes to BJJ in Korea and he's already made it known how he feels about Choi and his impression regarding his BJJ skill level.
He is now claiming a black belt in Judo.
That should be easily traced. Who is he claiming his BB came from and what Judo organization is he associated with.
Originally Posted by DJColdfusion
I found this on www.bjj-asia.com
Originally Posted by Ronin.74
Originally Posted by Aaron Huntsman
This was posted 12.16.2008.
Well that was easily resolved. Nice find Fodland!
That quote from Aaron, who is a legitimate Judo BB, was originally posted on the BJJ-ASIA blog. View the blog entry HERE -- >>
Mickey is apparently opening, or has opened, a school in Seoul South Korea and tried to get Luke (the host of the BJJ-ASIA blog) to help promote the school. Luke acted in what I consider to be an extremely ethical manner when he researched Mickey's background . . . which led him to contacting me and thus Mickey's fraud proves to be as unstable as the proverbial house of cards . . . but people still seem to be buying into his hype.
I want to make this very clear. I originally tried to make Mickey feel ashamed for what he did because I thought it was the most gentle I way I could rebuke someone who I honestly considered a friend. I had hoped it would be enough to get him to drop his claims . . . I was wrong. I now am more than willing to come out and tell each and every person on this planet that Mickey is committing fraud. He is has lied about his accomplishments and those lies have grown continually more brazen as I, for one, tried to handle it in a more civil manner. I'm angry now. Angry that someone who was unwilling to make the sacrifices that those, of us, who earned the rank legitimately sacrificed glady with the recognition that we were honoring both the art and the people who came before us by doing so. Mickey pissed on all of us and continues to think that he can get away with it.
And I am ashamed for my part in it. Or at least what might have appeared to be my part in it when I incorrectly assumed that Mickey would understand that what he did was wrong and ultimately drop his claim. My naivete has allowed him to defraud more and more people. And as pissed off as I am at Mickey for the insault he has thrown at the feet of Jiu-Jitsu in general and Machado Jiu-Jitsu specifically, I am equally or perhaps even more upset by the fact that I could have prevented much of the harm he has caused those people who have looked to him as their instructor.
I want to apologize to those students and apologize to you, the MA community, for not taking a hard enough stand in this matter. And I want to make it known that the soft approach has ended. We have 4 Machado black belts here in Utah and we are not going to let this fraud continue much longer. We are making sure we cross out legal T's and dot the judicial I's but we are acting.
I also want to reach out to Mickey's defrauded students. If you are one of them, and yes I will demand proof, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I want to make sure you understand what Machado Jiu-Jitsu is and that we really are a family. We all know that the rank you have worked for, and paid good money to Mickey for, won't be recognized by any legitimate organization. I want to try to find a way to make sure you aren't left out in the cold. What that means right now I don't really know. I'll work with the other Machado black belts here in Utah to figure it out.