The following is the tranlation of Mickey Choi's response to John Frankl's letter. The original can be found on http://minihp.cyworld.com/41091568/226033388
Online rumors and malicious comments have fatal effects on an individual’s life. Many people have been seriously harmed by them. It is too bad that Mr.John Frankl, the elder of Korean BJJ scene and also professor of prestigious Yonsei University, has an intention of ostracizing a person by expressing his personal emotion online. I can sense his ill will since he posted it online for everyone in the world instead of telling me personally if he is displeased with me. I can help but stating my standpoint online for the first and last time. It is my response to Mr.John Frankl’s latest post.
White Belt Incident
In the summer of 2008, I visited Korea shortly. Since my stay was for several weeks, I looked for a gym to work out, and went to John Frankl’s Academy in Apgujeong-dong, where a black belt was said to teach. However, there was no black belt, but a purple belt taught there.
At first, I went there without a gi, but master Myunghoon Choi said that there was no no-gi class, so I brought my gi. Noticing my worn gi the master asked me about my belt, and without mentioning my belt, I answered him that I had competed against purple and black belts at the matches in the US.
I did not want to reveal my black belt to avoid any attention and possible misconception of dojo attack. I just wanted to roll. When I said that I did not bring my belt, master Myunghoon Choi borrowed me a white belt marked with “moosoolsa”, so I wore it. I happened to wear a borrowed white belt; I did not wear white belt intentionally.
Rolling with Mr.John Frankl
He showed up once for the two weeks. While rolling with me, Mr.John Frankl got angry twice for the rolling did not go smoothly at this will. On one incident, when I stood up while rolling, he also stood up, and pushed me with his stomach as if challenging me in an American way; on the other, Mr.John Frankl punched me in the face with his right hand grabbing my gi. Perplexed, I gave out my arm, and finished the rolling. Upon my leaving, Mr.John Frankl called me. He told me that I played too roughly, so I said that I was sorry that I was hit by you fist three times.
Then, he said “I did it on purpose,” so I said “What? Anyway I am sorry.” John Frankl said that he hit me because he was hit by my feet, and that white belts are not supposed to use leg locks, so I should not attempt leg locks next time, and move slowly.
Frankly I was too mad to sleep at night. During the morning class the next day, I rolled and tapped the two purple belts – one was Korean, and the other was American. Master Myuinghoon Choi showed up 30min late and watched it. Master Myunghoon Choi had never sparred with me for the two weeks. Since then, I stopped going to John Frankl’s Academy.
While shopping at Dongdaemun, I received a text message from master Myunghoon Choi aking why I stopped attending the academy. Since I was not comfortable with text messaging, I sent him a message that I did not want to go to the academy since I was displeased by Mr.John Frankl’s punching on Cyworld(Korean equivalent of Myspace). Master Myunghoon Choi wrote “Master John only shows up once a month. If you feel better later, please join us,” I wrote him “Yes. Thank you.”
Opening a Gym
Several months later, I was planning to marry a Korean woman. I decided to stay longer in Korea, and to work out regularly, I organized a club, rented gyms in Daechi-dong and Mok-dong, and trained and taught BJJ. While doing so, I opened a BJJ gym in Yeoksam-dong at the club members’ suggestions. It was my purpose to make a space for enjoying training in a friendly environment, so I have not seriously considered rival John Frankl’s Academy with its 10 year history and a lot of branches.
I proved my black belt three times: first to Dave Hagon, second at American National, and third at Korean police.
The video footage about Dave Hagon’s awarding of black belt
The correction of the false report on the black belt controversy
The apology and correction was issued after my black belt was proved at the police.
While removing his false report, the reporter said that he could not delete the post on John Frankl’s BJJ Network website. I told him that I would retract the charge only when he removed the entire posts, and he textmessaged me that he would call John Frankl and do it during that day. The next day, one of my student told me that there was a post on John Frankl’s blog, saying that he himself, the Conde Coma in Korea, would test me to see if I am black belt as the police said on his blog. I was wondering by what authority Mr.John Frankl would test my black belt, which was confirmed by the police for the submitted objective evidence and if all the black belts in Korea should be passed on by John Frankl.
Special Match versus Mr.John Frankl
I heared about the special match from a Mookas news reporter.
He said that Mr.John Frankl wanted to challenge me at the special match of his BJJ tournament. After the discussion among my associates, I answered that I would fight him whether it is BJJ or MMA. At that point, I thought that it was just a competition to match our BJJ skills.
After that, I talked to Mr.John Frankl on the phone about the date and the rule. I changed the date due to the previously scheduled visit to Thailand. Meanwhile, the reporter told me that Mr.John Frankl was recording our conversation. I thought that something was wrong.
The Next day, Giok, a studnet and friend, called me asking if I knew why I would fight, after reading an internet article. I told him that I had no idea. He said that he would figure out whether it is a innocent BJJ competition or a grudge fight, and asked for John Frankl’s phone number. After 10 minutes, he called me.
Mr.John Frankl challenged me for two reasons; first, he was upset for the fact that I disturbed his academy and lied wearing white belt; second, as the person who introduced BJJ to Korea, he felt obliged to settle the black belt controversy in Korea and the US himself.
I did not know how much I disturb and trouble the US and Korea as a mere gym master, but Mr.John Frankl seemed to bear a serious grudge against me.
After reading Mr.John Frankl’s letter yesterday morning, I figure out how he feels about me and the reason of the match. I do not want to accept the grudge fight, not an innocent competition matching skills. Until last year I had trained and taught BJJ with many black belt champions and competition winning, excellent purple belts both in the US and Brazil. I know Mr.John Frakl’s skill. I compete against a person with sound mind based upon sportsmanship. Therefore, I do not accept the fight that he proposed.
I am not a professional fighter. Some say that this match is a turf war, or an ego war. Many wrote about me. However, what I am doing is not a show business. Teaching BJJ as a sport, the skills that I have, to the public or athletes, in other words, education, is my job. BJJ is already common in the US. Not only as a public sport but also in various forms such as music, fashion, and tattoo, BJJ has become a new culture for the younger generation following hip hop. The style of BJJ education that I pursue is enjoyment. Nobody calls me master at my gym. My students calls me by my first name, “Mickey.” Joyfully laughing, sweating, and working out is my style. I feel rewarded while teaching in detail step by step and when my students complete cool techniques. I hope one day BJJ in Korea will gains its popularity to become a cool culture for the younger generation as in the US.
I think the reason that the story about my black belt and the rolling with Mr.John Frankl got so much attention is that there are too few black belts in Korea. Otherwise, how would a mere master of 2 month old gym come into the spotlight?
As Mr.John Frankl wrote, this summer it will be 10 years since BJJ was first introduced in Korea. Doing BJJ in Korea, I wonder the scarcity of black belts. In my opinion, Korea, strong in combat sports, can produce at least 20 black belts in 10 years. In the US and Brazil, those trained in combat sports tend to earn black belts in 4-7 years of training according to their skill levels.
For the last 10 years in Korea, the American, Mr.John Frankl, awarded black belt only once to the American, Professor Steve at Sogang University. Korea is the strongest country in wrestling and judo. I think that there are many Koreans have not received their black belts, while their skills deserve them. The walkover by the single black belt will hamper the development of BJJ in Korea. A true teacher should recognize the students’ progress, respect them as his equal, and encourage his growth. I do not suggest an overissue of black belts. However, taking advantage of having black belt, antagonizing other black belts, and warding off the students’ promotion should be avoided.