LEGENDS AT EPIC

In mid-June, what started out as two Korean fighters missing their flight home turned into the stuff of pure legend.  And as fortune would have it, I was right smack in the middle of it all, at home in Hong Kong.

Legend FC held their ninth event at the City of Dreams casino resort in Macau on June 16th.  I spent the following day recovering from the after party poolside at the Hard Rock Hotel.  Hair-of-the-dog and volleyball were the doctor's prescriptions.  A ferry ride back across the Pearl River Delta got me home in time for a good night's sleep ahead of a busy Monday back at work.  Or so I thought.


Fresh off a three-round battle with Taiyo Nakahara that resulted in a split decision loss, bantamweight tournament contender Jo NamJin and his corner missed their flight back to Seoul and got stuck for a few days extra in Hong Kong.  I had the pleasure of putting off more work and playing tour guide for them.   NamJin is "Crazy" in the ring, but outside of it he is a very humble, quiet, and polite guy with a great work ethic and a desire to better himself constantly.

At only 21 years of age, NamJin has already fought some of the most notable active fighters from Korea, China, Japan, and the Philippines, most recently coming back to LFC after defeating Shooto trailblazing legend Shinichi "BJ" Kojima.  Dubbed "mini Bae" due to showing up with the same Wolverine facial hair as his stellar corner and senior training partner, Bae MyoungHo, NamJin was recognized by more than a few HKers as we walked around town because his face has been plastered on LFC show posters shellacked on every vacant storefront for the past two years.


The gregarious Bae got his share of attention as well.  Other than standing out among the black-suited pasty worker drones haunting Central because of his freakishly buff biceps, the LFC poster boy and welterweight champ was recognized several times by legitimate fans who posted "Bae sightings" on Facebook.

Post-harbor sightseeing tour and photo session, the Leprechuan, the underwear model, and I headed over for an afternoon workout at the sparkling new and epic MMA club named - well - Epic MMA Club.  Can it get any more epic?  Yes it can.  Who is waiting for the elevator in the lobby?  Buakaw.  Turns out that he's in town at the invitation of his fellow Muay Thai friend and Challenger star Vuyisile Colossa who's turned his eight limbs to MMA in ONE FC and ROAD FC.  Just another day in HK.


As the Koreans ogled the vastness of Epic, I ogled the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts who were doing groundwork with the Muay Thai champions inside the MMA cage.  Buakaw, Vusi, fellow Challenger star Mostafa Abdollahi, and a couple of others were drilling takedowns and side control under the guidance of Revolution Team founder and fourth degree black belt Rodgrigo Medeiros, third degree black belt Silvio Braga, multiple gold medallist Mike Powers, and third degree black belt Kiko Cacella.


Jo and Bae quickly dressed out to get in on the action.


Also taking advantage of the opportunity while in HK were new LFC fighters from Australia, 19 year olds Dan Pauling and Jack Gooderham of Shindo, who arrived a bit later.  So if you're keeping count, that's 4 pro MMA fighters, 3 Muay Thai champions, and 4 BJJ black belt masters, in one cage.  Epic.
What followed was a cornucopia of MMA techniques: a starter of throws from the clinch to a dessert of rubber guard finishes, all peppered with ground and pound position basics.  


Buakaw thoroughly enjoyed the ground and pound work.


Not too many of the guys were eager to work in the clinch with him though!


Even with guys who were just visiting, Professor Braga was very communicative and eager.


Professor Braga was very detailed with his rubber guard/triangle explanations, and even without English these guys seemed to eat it up.  It will be interesting to see if it gets used in the ring some time soon.


Dan's thighs were raw from Li JingLiang's kicks, and Bae had a broken toe.  Didn't seem to matter.


It was pure joy to watch these fighters and coaches work so attentively and effortlessly together like a well-oiled machine.  The next day was even more of a treat, as it was the last day of a seminar with BJJ legend  Julio "Foca" Fernandez: 5 times Brazilian Nationals Champion, 3 times Rio de Janeiro State Champion, International Masters Champion, 6th Degree Black Belt under Grandmaster Carlson Gracie, and a member of the Carlson Gracie Elite Team.



Then the guys worked on stand up.




All in a day's work.  



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