Today, I received an e-mail from John Frankl with the following statement to share with the SEABJJ community regarding Mickey Choi and the legitimacy of his BJJ black-black. I've included two links from Korean online press announcing this challenge. -Luke

MOOKAS*all in Korean
NAVER*all in Korean

Dear Friends,

This summer it will be 10 years since I introduced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to Korea. I am happy to report that it is generally healthy and growing strong. There are, however, also many charlatans who try to take advantage of BJJ’s popularity. There are fakes and liars at every belt level, often running their own academies. I have never once challenged any of them or otherwise interfered in their businesses. They never directly impacted me, and I felt that the internet (and their protruding stomachs) would be enough for most people to figure out that they were not legitimate.

A couple of days ago, however, I publicly challenged Mickey Choi to a jiu jitsu match. Let me explain what led me to this decision. I first met Mickey Choi when he visited my school several months ago as a WHITE BELT. Of course, my better blue belts and all my purple belts completely destroyed him on the mat, but they still could tell he had previous training. When they directly asked him about his background, he lied and said he had done some no-gi, but had absolutely no training/rank in gi jiu jitsu. A few months later he opened an academy and had photos of himself all over the internet wearing a gi and black belt. Unlike the liars mentioned above, I take both of these actions very personally and very seriously.

Despite all of the above, I still never once confronted Mickey Choi, directly or otherwise. He was being savaged on the internet for the phony that almost everyone knows he is, so I felt no need to make it any more personal than he already had. One brave reporter wrote a story detailing all the testimony given by all those who know Mickey Choi in America and Asia. It was quite thorough and good. But Mickey sued him, getting Dave Hagon to claim that he got a black belt from some mysterious “Fabio” (no, the genius Korean policeman did not require even a last name for Mickey to win this case), and that Dave had in turn given Mickey a black belt. The reporter then had to write a retraction.

In the midst of all of this, Mickey and his associates (the names changed but the IP addresses often did not) began writing lies about how he handled my students, and how I myself, frustrated at not being able to deal with him, hit him in the face. This was the third, and most personal, set of lies. The facts are these. He wore a white belt. As such, many of my students, as per my standing instructions, took it rather easy on him. When he was spastic and rough, they thought it was due to lack of skill and knowledge. And while they did tap him, they did so in a very gentle manner, obviously treating him like a beginner and a customer. Had he worn a black belt, things would have been very different. They would have all felt quite comfortable going much harder with him, and he would have been beaten much worse than he was.

Because of the very personal nature of Mickey’s lies and insults, and because he chose to bring the police into this matter, I simply challenged him to a special match at an upcoming tournament. He responded that he would fight me, but not at a tournament associated with my team. Of course, many “netizens” suggested he simply opt for no time limits or points, with which I agreed, but he found a way to back out, saying he needed a more neutral location. When a reporter contacted me, I simply said that location has nothing to do with jiu jitsu skill, and that I would fight Mickey in his own school. Foolishly, Mickey felt the need to impress the reporter, and said, on the record, that he would fight gi, no-gi, or MMA rules. I jumped on this and suggested 10 minutes of each in the following order: gi, no-gi, MMA. When the reporter asked why that order, I told him that I wanted Mickey to take all three beatings, and that if we began with MMA, the day would probably end a bit too soon for Mickey to fully realize the error of his ways.

Mickey called me four times in the next 15 minutes, obviously shaken, and kept changing the dates due to some upcoming business trip. I simply told him to choose the date. Just like the location, I do not want to give him a single excuse for the beating he will take if he shows for this fight. I honestly do not believe he will, but I will train hard anyway. We are now tentatively set for April 4, though he is to call me on March 25, when he returns from his business trip, to finalize. We will each bring one person, we will each film the entirety of the event, and the film can and will be made public. I have all this recorded in telephone conversations between Mickey and me. Learning much from my friends in the US who have dealt with Mickey, and from my own brief but distasteful brush with him here in Korea, I am not leaving any room for his excuses and lies. This has already been reported in the Korean press, so Mickey can now either fight—and be crushed 3 times on video—or he can back out, which will also settle the matter of his credentials for anyone who is objective about this matter.


John M. Frankl


Anonymous said...

Is it just me or did I see mickey choi in some b-rated film called "Eleventh hour" check it out guys...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is so funny and at the same time so ridiculous.
This kind of people don't benefit Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in any kind of way.
Best of luck John, not that you need any.
As this Mickey character showed is Black belt certificate. Most schools give one and they are usually signed by registered black belts with CBJJ or CBJJE.

Anonymous said...

I assume Mickey will throw every excuse in the book at John to avoid fighting him.

IF Mickey chooses to fight, though, he will most likely fake an injury in front of his students prior to the match. he may even lie about the death of a close family member. the boy will try anything to show that he is at a disadvantage.

I can even see Mickey losing the fight, then sheepishly saying "you're a better black belt than I am."

John will have to beat Mickey soundly, i.e., put him to sleep or break one his limbs quickly, or risk souring his own reputation.

Mickey has painted himself into a corner. he needs to be purged from the martial arts community.

Anonymous said...

Obviously BJJ has been a cash cow for almost everyone nowadays

Brother, this is kinda pathetic already

Anonymous said...

Props to Frankl. His letter is very fair, and represents the sport well. All he is really proposing is a tournament of two.

Junior Familia said...

pretty funny if you ask me.

LUKE said...

Ultimately, this is not how anyone wants to spend their time. It's destructive to the bjj community, the integrity of legit schools and its instructors.

I do believe that this is result of a series of very poor decisions made by Mickey Choi (or whoever is guiding his career). It's one thing to claim to be something you are not, committing fraud and cheating unknowing students. It's even worse to extend these lies and insecurities towards others to maliciously hurt their public standing and well-being. With all the coverage this has gotten students will figure out for themselves what is best for them.

Mickey approached me and the blog to help advertise his new school. I am just being honest to the information that was already out there and the comments made by people with first-hand experience/knowledge of Mickey Choi. I have given him several opportunities to defend himself and provide substantial evidence to prove his legitimacy as a BJJ black-belt but have yet to receive any positive response. There was some colorful language but I take no personal offense.

I hope this issue can be resolved positively and definitively so that we can all move on. Best of luck to John Frankl and his team and hope Mickey Choi shows up to face the challenge.


Anonymous said...

Frankl better watch out for Bad Boy Choi's spinning axe kick! If done right, no can defend...

Anonymous said...

Any updates about this fight?

Anonymous said...

you mean Mickey's "spinning axe kick" that knocked down eight people at once?

Anonymous said...

It was 10, the other two fainted just by watching the kick

Alan said...

Man...I wanna bitcX slap Choi. He looks like a fucXing fucXtard. I should just go punch him in the face.

Anonymous said...

Very colorful comments on some.

John, my group & I know roughly how u feel mate. We have 'similar' situation in our hometown (a white belt teaching other white belts!!). So go forth & remember...humanely brutalize the lil 'mouse' ok?? LOL

carnivore said...

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.

Black Belt
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.

carnivore said...

The following is the translation of master Myunghoon Choi's response to Mickey Choi. The original can be found on http://cafe.daum.net/ssaumjil/KOJi/26319.

Hello. Mickey Choi mentioned my name.
First of all, him being hit by master John. Those who have seen the video footage of Mickey Choi’s match would understand, but the spar that day was even worse than the video footage. When master John gave out an easy position assuming Mickey Choi was an innocent white belt, he attempted knee bar with full force. Anyway, he acted so roughly that he kicked Master John and in his face several times.
And every time he was about to get swept or in a disadvantageous position, he ran to the wall. And he also wrote that master John pushed him with his stomach; master John is not a person with that kind of character. That day, master John did not hit Mickey Choi, but only got a little rough on him for his lesson because Mickey Choi acted very roughly; he did not hit him like punching him. After the spar, master John told Mickey Choi that he should not lose the control of his own body, that he should spar being aware of those who spar around him, that a spar is a spar, not a match, and that if he lost control of his own body, he might hurt his partner seriously (those are also what he always says).
Then, Mickey Choi said that he was also hit. Then, master John, said that that was on purpose and that since you acted roughly, you should feel what it is like being acted roughly on. What he said is that he should understand how his partner would feel. Mickey Choi might have been displeased at that. How it was felt or accepted is a matter of opinion. However, Mickey Choi blew it out of proportion saying that master John punched him because he could not beat him. I guess that he took advantage of master John to settle his black belt controversy or to promote his own gym. He insulted master John. Because of this, rather than taking it to court, master John asked him to prove his skill in public if he is indeed black belt as he claims. That is the story.
And as for him tapping a purple belt out in the morning, although I only watched it for 5 minutes for being late, the purple belt was easy on him receiving his attacks. I just called him, and he said that he has never tapped, but tapped him out and that he did not understand why Mickey Choi said so. After the spar, I even pointed out the mistakes he made very kindly after the spar. After all that, I am very puzzled at his comments. Writing that I had not sparred with him, he implied that I was afraid to spar with him. That time, I was able to spar only with white belts with 1-2 month experience very gently due to my elbow injury. He took advantage of this.
I would have been very happy if he had been really black belt. It would have been very nice to have two black belts at the academy. Unusually there are many people who had trained overseas before at the Apgujeong academy. Many purple belts have come to the academy, but I have never avoided sparring with them. Master John always tells us that we should abandon the idea that our master is the best like in kung fu movies, that there are too many people with great skills, that faced with a person of better skill, we should tap, learn from him, and share techniques with him, and that that is the way to get better.
Even now, I have those who trained overseas for 6-7 years at the academy. I spar with them; they invite me to their gyms; we get along. Of course we spar. It is hard because of my small frame, though.
Lastly, to Mickey Choi, I thought that you were unique in character when I first met you. After talking to you and your classmates, I concluded you were not a bad person for sure. I did not know how many years you had trained, but we are about the same age, so I did want to get along with you. However, you took advantage of our good will. Print out some flyers if you want to promote your gym. We tread the path of virtue. Rather than writing online like this, I want to sleep an hour more. I start to train at the academy at 10am, and when I get back home, it is past 1am. If you are genuine jiujitero, stop making up and focus on your training. Then, people will notice you even if you do not reveal yourself. I believe so.
As for the message, during the time, master John was so busy that besides his Saturday training at Yonsei University he could show up at Apgujeong 1-3 times a month. Mickey wrote to me that he was punched, but it was not punching as I wrote above, so I just wrote him that he could come back when he felt better. Despite his unique character, I could not disregard him easily since he had trained with me and taken my class for 2 weeks. I wonder why he revealed the contents of such personal messages.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the translations, carnivore

LUKE said...

"I changed the date due to the previously scheduled visit to Thailand."

I am based in Bangkok, Thailand and we would love to have an opportunity to train with Mickey Choi during his visit or any future visit. We have an open-door policy, welcoming all visitors from all schools to come train and exchange ideas.



LUKE said...

I am a blue-belt in BJJ with certification from Pedro Schmall (Gracie Humaita black-belt) who is currently teaching at Beijing BJJ.

Just so there is no confusion.

mperk said...

I would also like to roll with Master Won Choi. The chance to roll with such a legend is something I could not pass up. If anyone hears when he will be in Thailand please post here or shoot me an email.


Anonymous said...

can we get a schedule translated into english for his tours? id like to send it out to see how many people can expose him on the mat. this guy should be run out of the world.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the post above and I will get more information from google

Anonymous said...

this post is very usefull thx!

buy meltabs online said...

This is pretty interesting site. I would like to say thanks to author for this great efforts.