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BJJGround Forum >> Won Choi - bjj black belt in judo novice division


12/15/08 4:58 AM
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Koga
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Known in the US as Master Won Choi and in Korea as Mickey "Bad Boy" Choi, Choi is understandably proud of his 3rd place finish in the 2007 Idaho State Judo Championships and puts this prominently on his website alongside his many other accomplishments: http://www.mickeychoi.com/biography.php

I was even more impressed when I found out that Choi had put on a white belt to compete in this local judo tournament and that his third place finish was in the Novice Division: http://www.iydk.com/results/results.pdf

Bowing in a as a white belt: http://www.wonchoitkd.com/photos/displayimage.php?album=3&pos=11

This is impressive as Choi is already an American National BJJ Champion as a black belt and a Korean national champion in Tae Kwon Do. Choi is a natural talent - his ascent from blue belt to black belt in bjj under the tutelage of professional cage fighter Dave Hogan in under two years eclipses that of both BJ Penn and Mike Fowler.

Choi is an instructor under the Machado's: http://www.wonchoitkd.com/machado.html and is the grappling instructor for the Korean Top Team (pictured here):
http://www.wonchoitkd.com/photos/displayimage.php?album=3&pos=57

I have heard ugly words like "sandbagger" used to describe accomplished wrestlers and judo players who enter the novice division of local grappling tournaments but think this view is misguided - if an internationally accomplished martial artist like Master Choi has the humility to put on a white belt and compete with beginners in another style, this represents the true budo spirit.
12/15/08 5:20 AM
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BenJay
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well there seems to be some doubt about how legit his BJJ Blackbelt is.

Just read the comments on this post in the BJJ Asia blog:

http://www.bjj-asia.com/2008/12/mickey-choi.html
12/15/08 5:30 AM
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BenJay
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Blackbelt?

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=hqcKDDurSOY

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=FV0ZJ-JT154

Love how he has "goal is the black belt" on his school's wall:

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=rTjTnguELNY


Is he in the same city as John Frankl??
12/15/08 6:00 AM
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Koga
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He is only a first Dan in BJJ, but is a 5th Dan and certified Master in TKD. First Dan might not seem like much, but it is when it is awarded by a professional cage fighter like Dave Hogan (also spelled Dave Hagen and Dave Hoggan on the website you cite, which lists Mickey Choi as a resident bjj black belt in Asia).
12/15/08 6:09 AM
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Koga
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The first video you posted http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=hqcKDDurSOY proves my point - it shows a match between Mikey Choi representing bjj and a black belt master of Young Sul Do on a hard wood floor, its like Gracie in Action in Korea!

Not only does it clearly show the effectiveness of bjj against another style under bjj rules, but it is another example of Master Won Choi competing anytime, anywhere.
12/15/08 10:00 AM
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BenJay
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I am sure Telles would be delighted to see this picture...

Since Choi trained with him for a full week:

http://www.wonchoitkd.com/photos/albums/userpics/10001/014%285768%29.jpg
12/15/08 11:04 AM
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JSho
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http://www.bjj-asia.com/2008/12/mickey-choi.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20071026102626rn_1/www.slcbjj.com/machadoslc/


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.

http://www.nhbgear.com/forum/index.php/topic,84388.0.html

12/15/08 11:17 AM
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andre
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http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=hqcKDDurSOY

wow...that is the worst rolling Ive seen from anyone higher than a white belt.
12/15/08 11:56 AM
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Koga
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Not just anyone can become a bjj black belt and an instructor under the Machados.

The article above has long been removed from the Salt Lake City Machado website, presumably as it was false. Going to the website itself is informative.

Here Master Choi is shown teaching a seminar with Rigan Machado in 2006:

http://www.slcbjj.com/machadoslc/rigansseminar.html

Master Choi and Rigan at the same seminar (proof that Master Choi was talented enough to be considered a peer by Rigan when he was only a blue belt):

http://www.wonchoitkd.com/photos/displayimage.php?album=3&pos=69

In fact, Salt Lake City Machado bjj has been authorized to use the same "what is Machado BJJ" webpage as contained on Master Choi's site http://www.wonchoitkd.com/machado.html
and its instructor Jeff Kruze adheres to Master Choi's bjj philosophy to the point were he copied the words from Master Choi's website verbatim:

"Jeff has a laid back style of instruction and refuses to run a training session that is overly formal. No bowing, no "yes sir, no sir", no "RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!"

Just Jiu-Jitsu for Jiu-Jitsu's sake. "

http://www.slcbjj.com/machadoslc/index.htm

http://www.mickeychoi.com/biography.php

I assume that the writers of South Park took Cartman's famous "Respect My Authority" line from Master Choi as the cartoon is set in Utah, Park is a common Korean surname and Master Choi is well known in Hollywood as a martial arts movie star of "The Collectors".
12/15/08 12:37 PM
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shen
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Edited: 12/15/08 12:38 PM
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Mr. Wonchoi IS a legit Black Belt who has been newly recognized by the "Shen Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association". Jitstron 3000 emailed him his certificate on Friday. I'm sure Mickey himself would be glad to forward you a copy of it.

I hope this puts an end to all this "unpleasantness".

Maybe now we can get back to talking about real BJJ-related topics and let this go.

Kind Regards,
Prof. Shen
Grandmaster, S.B.J.J.A.


BTW, anyone know what is the best new plasma screen to get...? I've got some extra cash and looking for something REALLY awesome. Thanks!
12/15/08 12:42 PM
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eviladam
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 i've seen a legit black belt and mma fighter (who also trained for a while with a judo guy) post articles on his website bragging about winning a judo tournament as a white belt. he had never technically been promoted to any belt in judo, so he entered the white belt division (he took 2nd in the black belt division).
12/15/08 12:52 PM
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Koga
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eviladam, with all due respect this type of behaviour represents everything that is wrong with martial arts today and the values which Master Choi has fought a lifetime to uphold. Although a black belt in two other styles (bjj and tkd), Master Choi did not win the novice division of the judo tourn, he came third. Had he won, he would not have put this fact on his website as he is too humble.

Shen, sorry to say but your values are outdated, LCD is the way to go now.
12/15/08 1:07 PM
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Koga
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Perhaps someone whose Korean is better than mine can tell me if this says that Master Choi also has a black belt in mma from Jeremy Horn:

- ????? ??? ?? ????
??? ?? ?? MMA ?, ??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ???.

From Mickey's interview with Moozine: http://www.moozine.net/112
12/15/08 1:33 PM
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eviladam
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 the fonts on that website are broken or something.  i can't make heads or tails of anything.
12/15/08 1:55 PM
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shen
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eviladam -  the fonts on that website are broken or something.  i can't make heads or tails of anything.



Racist.
12/15/08 3:35 PM
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twinkletoesCT
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Hmmm. A few years ago I took third in the novice division of my state's Judo Championships as a new BJJ BLUE belt*. Nobody gave me any awards for putting on a white belt...

~TT

*Authentic blue belt. I had paperwork to back it up. :)
12/15/08 9:38 PM
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bjjasia
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A full write-up is in the works and I will post on BJJ-ASIA alongside Mickey's profile. I've been in touch with Mickey, his agent Jason, Gerald Harris, John Frankl and am waiting to hear back from Telles. -Luke
12/15/08 9:59 PM
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akebh
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He's even wearing a Telles 99 patch in his rolling vid
12/16/08 1:36 AM
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sputniik
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Plus he is wearing a patch from a school in Sydney Aust...Roots bjj academy, the same instructor that gave Tony "the Gun " Bonnelo his black belt.
12/16/08 2:48 AM
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bjjasia
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Does that mean clubs have to be more careful about selling team patches/gis? There is a 'Roots' affiliate in Korea but I haven't been able to get in touch with them.
12/16/08 4:33 AM
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walbjj
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apparently the roots korean school is run by a purple belt jaesub jo. he recently received his purple under paulo.
http://www.brazilianjiujitsu.com.au/Dojos/korea.htm

the funky thing with the school is the matted area has the polished wood floor covering. so it looks like ur rolling on a wooden floor
12/16/08 5:48 AM
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jtwalker
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bjj asia,
i spoke with telles on the telephone about 6 months ago when first heard of "won choi" (we have mutual friends)... Telles told me that in no way did he give won choi a black belt.
12/16/08 7:35 AM
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BenJay
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Edited: 12/16/08 7:35 AM
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Telles should swing by this guys school on his next trip to Asia and rip the patch off his Gi after giving him a thorough beating in front of his students.Video on youtube please.Or John Frankl should pay him a visit.... But he seems to be too nice for that judging from his videos and will let the quality of his instruction speak for itself.
12/16/08 7:38 AM
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John Frankl
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Hello from Seoul.

This guy is a tool. Came to my school for a bit. Got owned by all the blue belts and some tough white belts. A few months later he has a school and a black belt.

He passes himself off as a Korean in Utah and as an American in Seoul.

The nice thing about the Internet is that there is really no where to hide.

John
12/16/08 7:45 AM
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walbjj
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another bjj bb mystery solved by the belt police. case closed

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