Training at Team M.A.D. MMA in Busan

Ever since I arrived here in Korea, I’ve been trying to find a local BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) gym.  Amazingly, there is only one pure BJJ gym in this, the second largest city in Korea with 3.6 million people.  That gym, Tozi BJJ, is located way uptown from where I live and there was just no way that I’d be able to make it up there 2 to 3 times per week.  I tried Korea job forums, Korea BJJ Facebook groups, basically any way of getting a lead for a BJJ club or gym near me.  It was to no avail though.  I even contacted American Top Team to see if they would be interested in sending someone here to open a gym.  It’s such a wide open market.
I still kept active in judo and though they rarely practice newaza, I would still look for opportunities to roll when given the chance just to stay tuned up.
Fast forward UFC 148 where Anderson Silva fought Chael Sonnen for a much anticipated rematch.  Included on the card was a fighter from South Korea named Dong-Hyun Kim.  Well, during my perusing of Wikipedia I realized he fights out of Busan!  I perused more and found that his gym is called Team M.A.D. and it is just 3 subway stops from me.  They teach “MMA” as they say, which is essentially no gi BJJ and Muy Thai.  I thought I should have a look.  So I did.

Kim Dong-Hyun

Though it is one of the most successful MMA teams in Korea, Team M.A.D. is not like what we may be accustomed to back home.  Actually, most martial arts schools are not like back home.  They are not tailored for asthetic appeal in most cases.  There are no contracts.  No auto payment, none of that.  You show up, give the owner cash each month and work out.  Don’t want to train one month, don’t show up!  I digress.
Team M.A.D. is beyond “no frills”.  It is one room, maybe 700-800 square feet covered completely by padding.  There are 3 or 4 muy thai bags hanging as well.  No other fixins.  No real dressing room.  More like a dressing closet.  It’s July now and the rainy season.  That means it is humid!  They have a fan and dehumidifier.  The dehumidifier clearly has no effect on the training area.  The area is in a basement of a building and there are no windows.  Just the door leading to the stairs.
This is a real dungeon for training.
I went to visit on a Tuesday, and on Wednesday I joined.  The first class was warm ups which are very similar to judo warm ups.  Basically line drills of tumbling, shrimping, basic hip movements, etc.  Endurance drills centered around double leg pickups (morote gari), leap frogs, arm bar (juji gatame) and triangle choke (sankaku jime) movements.  The main instructor is a young guy with bad cauliflower ears as should be expected!  He went through a couple techniques and then we were free to roll if desired.  I was a little surprised that you actually had the choice to roll or not.  Back home in South Florida where BJJ is king, Brazilians require you to roll for 3 consecutive rounds like it or not.  Nonetheless, I got in a couple rounds and had a great workout.

No gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

This gym is in the heart of Busan.  Busan is 100% “Korean”.  Not like Seoul where there are some pockets of international flare.  Well, in this gym is another EPIK English teacher – a young girl from the states with long blonde hair.  She is a former high school national wrestling champion.  She really sticks out.  Very funny.  She’s the real deal though and a real trooper.  The next Rhonda Rousey?  You never know.
I’m glad to be doing more no gi BJJ as my experience with it is very limited.  I’m a jacket wrestler!
I am happy to have found this gym.  I don’t know when the professionals train, but I hope to have the chance to work out with them at some point.


  1. hey, could you tell me how to get to the team MAD gym via subway? thx!

  2. Absolutely. Line 1 (orange) to Daesindong stop. Leave exit #1 and walk straight up the street until you come to Tom n Toms Coffee. Take a right at Tom n Toms and you will see it right there on the left. Good luck!

  3. Thx a lot man! Nice blog!

  4. Hi there
    I am am a beginner BJJ and am going to be in Busan for a few days. Would love to join a few no gi classes & really like the no-frills you describe in this post. Got the directions but have you got any ideas re: training times?
    Much appreciated.

  5. Awesome! If you check out hisFacebook page, you'll get the contact info to call about times and days. BJJ and MMA are linked into one family of gyms.

    Good luck training!

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