Faces of Pain: the Tales of My Judo Injuries in Korea

As I am sitting here writing this blog, my arm is slowly returning to a normal color.  Fleeting are the days of tie-dye skin tone and a swollen Popeye-sized forearm.  What am I rambling about?

Yet another judo-related injury here in Korea.  For the life of me I can’t understand what I did to deserve the injuries and near death experiences I’ve enjoyed while practicing judo in Korea.  I’m not talking the normal twisted fingers and toes, or sore shoulders, or anything like that.  I’m talking REAL injuries.

Yes, I took a picture!

Like the time some beginners decided to use my shin for target practice.  This resulted in a swollen hematoma that needed a minor surgery to remove the mass of nastiness that had accumulated on my shin.  The good news is it introduced me to how awesome the medical system here in Korea is.  That is, compared to the USA.

Or the time I went to workout with the Dong-Eui college judo team and ended up tearing (or seriously spraining) my ACL.  I needed a semi-cast the length of my leg and crutches.  Not to mention the numerous visits to the natural medicine hospital for acupuncture therapy.

Or the time during randori when my training partner lost his footing during an attempted uchi mata throw and I landed directly on my head.  Did you ever see Saving Private Ryan?  This near tragic event reminded me of a certain part of this movie.

On this topic, I do a much better job telling the details of the story in my latest YouTube vlog, or rant.  Here’s the clip.

If you watched the video, you’ll agree that the arm injury is pretty sick.  It was.  And it still is, trust me.  It’s amazing how challenging it is to wash, put on clothes, and about everything else in life with only one arm.

In all seriousness, I can’t stress enough to those of you who practice any kind of martial art to be mindful of your body at all times.  As I mentioned in my vlog, I wasn’t going particularly hard or anything (with the exception of visiting Dong-Eui University).  The injuries were fluke occurrences and the outcomes could’ve been a whole lot worse than what they eventually were.  I think everyone who trains should plan on doing so until the end of the game.  Meaning life.  Go as long as you can and enjoy the many different learning experiences and adventures that come only through martial art.  To do this though, we need to keep ourselves healthy.  So train smart and safe, and respect your partners for the same reason.  You want to make sure to bring them along for the long ride – so don’t hurt them!  You don’t have to go full bore at all times.  Not everyone has the same intentions for training as you may.

Remember, judo instructs us as follows:

  • Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort
  • Mutual Welfare and Benefit

Mind your body.  Mind your partners.  Make it last a lifetime.



  1. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I take my hat off to you dude. Those are some pretty gnarly injuries.
    What is your ranking?

  2. I'm 3rd dan

  3. Hey There,

    I was wondering if you could recommend some judo clubs? I’ll be traveling around Korea (Seoul, Jeju, Busan) from september 5th to the 24th. I google map’d judo (yudo) clubs in the areas i’ll be staying and have korean friends that can translate…but could you personally recommend some clubs? Just looking for some satisfying workouts, don’t need my life to flash before my eyes lol. Thanks in advance, hope you are enjoying Japan,


    This is me during our clubs “throw-a-thon,” I’m the brown belt.

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