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American High School Team in Korea

American High School Team in Korea

This is a summary of the emails from Mr Joon Chi to Vaughn Imada and Neil Simon.

Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008

Dear Mr Chi,

Matt Dong will be bringing several USJF items in his luggage. Could you please help him in the distribution?

  • (15) USJF History Books: (5) for team and (10) for gifts.
  • (10) USJF Polo Shirts: (5) for team and (5) for gifts. (1)XL, (1)L, (3)M, (5)S, sorry very limited on sizes.
  • (25) USJF Tee Shirts: (5) for team and (20) for gifts. (5)XL, (15)L, (5)M.
  • (50) USJF Window Clings: (5) for team and (45) for gifts.

Hope everyone has a great time,

Vaughn Imada

Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008

Hello, everyone. Greetings from Busan Korea.

I think this is first report for you of up to date of USJF American High School Team.

We, Dr. Ha and myself, went first to Busan International airport to pick up Matt, Colton and Chris.
They are looked great and Matt told me even he did not get sick at all. (Great! He was not airsick.).

And then we moved over to the Domestic terminal to pick up Ross, Preston and Brent. They are also great.

I just got back to my hotel as of 11pm after put them on Dong A University Dorm as follow.

Matt and Brent, Chris and Colton and Ross and Preston: they are paired together as room-mates.

Well, it is not a great place at the University dormitory, but it is suitable with Fan and open the window for cool air.

The dorms are located at the top of mountain from Pacific Ocean side.

Hope this helps for cooling them down.

So far it is great for everybody. I hope it will stay this way.

We are going to training tomorrow afternoon and possibly a little sightseeing?

Once again, thanks to all the parents, the USJF Executive, the Senseis and everyone else who have helped us to attend this event.

Hope we do not disappoint you at all.

We hope everything goes well for you and for us here.

See you later.


Joon Chi

Dear Mr. Chi,

The notes you are sending will make a great article for the Magazine. We look forward to some pictures to supplement them.

Thanks for all your efforts.

Neil Simon

Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008

Thanks Mr President,

Today will be first day for all our team members in Busan Korea. I was nervous – how will they like us, or not? how will the organizing committee treat them? and then there are the unknown things to come, etc.

Already there is a broken promise for airconditioning in the rooms – well, except coaches’ room.

Today we are going to do light exercise or taining and judo training will be after 2pm due to tatami moved to competition area.

Possible sightseeing today, or rest to adjust to jetlag, or whatever the team members need.

Tomorrow the competition starts at 10am in the morning at the Dong A Universtiy Gym on the campus so they do not have to ride or walk any long distances at all.

Another sunny day right now and it looks like a hot day also.

So far no one sick nor uncomfortable physical condition at all and we hope that everyone will stay that way…

I know kids or coach Ross will send messages once awhile.

Hope goes well for us and USJF Judokas and USA Judokas.

Take care and thanks to everyone.


Joon Chi

Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008

Good evening everyone,

We have had a great time. First breakfast and then went shopping. start the training 90 minutes.

I joined them back at the dorm and gave them the “you are in Rome, act like Roman” speech.

I explained them what to expect from them and how their body language is a lot different to ours.

We distributed all the gifts from USJF and Vaughn Imada sensei.

Then we also discussed manners and courtesy (for instance, why they use two hands to receive a gift or to give a gift away instead of one hand…. or the respect to an elder or senior or parent or senseis or senior belt…..etc.

Then we discussed the scheudles for the next three days. Tomorrow will leave dorm at 9am, the tournament will start at 10am, and it will finish around 5pm. We are going to have a famous seafood buffet for everyone after the shiai. Monday there will be training at 10am for about 2 hours, then lunch, sightseeing and dinner. Tuesday will be training at 10am for about 2 hours, then lunch, shopping or whatever we want to do, then dinner. Wednesday we will leave the dorm at 8:30am to Busan international airport for our flights to the USA.

The kids have a dinner at the University. Coach Ross and myself went to special welcome dinner at seafood restaurant.

We will return at 8pm. Thanks for let us have a great experience. Good night.

See you soon.

Joon Chi

Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008

Good morning everyone,

Sorry for this late information. Due to competition I cannot use the internet at all.

Well, we did better than last year. The first round was with China; we won. The second round was with Japanese team which is the team seeded second. We went in repeacharge with Korean team: we did great job. However, they won.

Colton and Preston got exellent player awards (the organizing committee award one player for each team), all the team did a great job; and all our team members learned so many things from the other teams.

Then we went Seafood buffet($32,00 per person) for all competitors, officials, coaches, referees, volunteer(around 250 people).

Today all the teams are together for a two-hour training session, lunch, seightseeing around Songdo Beach (on the Pacific Ocean), and a Sauna. Then to a special restaurant which serves BBQ-Bulgogi (a marinated slice beef) and Galbee (short rib of beef) for all the teams (three or four teams have just left).

Tomorrow morning special training session, lunch, we are going to visit Shilla dynasty kingdom (two hours from Busan) possibly. (There is a most famous Buddhist temple with a statue of the Buddha, an ancient weather tower, and other historical things.)


veryone leaves on Wednesday morning on 11:35am flight.

I have to leave right now. Thanks for your patience,


Joon Chi

Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008

Hello everyone from Busan Korea

We just got back from the Korean BBQ Bulgogi dinner where there were 150 people.

The boys were sitting together with other team and they cooked for themselves right in front of themselves at the table.

They were at the famous Songdo Beach for two hours and one hour at a Korean-style Sauna. (Since all boys had never been before, they were a little bit nervous, so I took the lead.) We finished up with Huge Snow Cone.
The finally we went Korean BBQ restaurant.

Tomorrow, it will be breakfast as usual, then a two-hour, special training-session. Then we will have lunch and shopping instead of tour to Kyungjoo City of the Shila kingdom, which is two hours from Busan. I told Coach Ross, “We lost good opportunity to learn with a visit to an ancient place.

Anyway so far no one has been sick. They are all in good health and excellent spirits. We are very lucky because you have given us endless support. Thanks a million.

More later.


Joon Chi

Tue, 5 Aug 2008

Good morning everyone,

Today is last day in Busan Korea and another sunny day.

We are going to training at 10am for a 90-minute session. The it is off to lunch and shopping at the International Market for about 3 hours.

We are going to have our last Korean dinner tonight in Busan. We leave at 9am tomorrow morning to Busan(Pusan)
International airport for our flight home (three boys will be on NWA to home and first segment together, Coach and two other boys will be on Korean airlines to domestic airport and change to International in Seoul for their flight home together).

I will be with them until they leave Busan airport in order to take care of them with whatever they need assistance.

I will write you one more time from Busan Korea.

Hope you have a great day!


Joon Chi

In a message dated 8/5/2008

Sunday’s competition went well. Our first match up was against China.

Colton went first and took his 250 pound opponent down with o uchi gari for ippon. Preston was up next and was taken down for wasari by a ko soto gari. Preston was able to turn his 230 pound opponent, but they went out of bounds and went back to their feet. Preston got a high grip and went in for uchi mata but the Chinese guy was too heavy and lifted Preston and threw him for wasari which ended the match. China only had two competitors (showed up with 3 but one was very ill and didn’t compete) so we won by default.

We went against a team from Japan next, Colton did very well but ended up losing by a yuko and a koka. Not bad considering the Japanese guy was probably 250+ pounds and Colton is maybe 185. Preston was thrown for wasari and pinned, he was moving out of bounds but was too late, I’m surprised that he was able to drag the 250 pound guy as far as he did …

The rest of the team members were thrown for ippon fairly quickly as they were all outweighed by 40-60 pounds. For our final match-up we took on a team from Korea, Colton went first against a 320+ pound “kid” and was thrown for ippon with a drop seoi nage.

Preston defeated his opponent who was around 6’4″ and 230 pounds. It was a great match but Preston was able to score a koka with tani otoshi and get the win.

Matt Dong fought very well and went the distance with his opponent but lost by koka. Matt defended several attacks by posting his head to prevent going onto his back… the kid is fearless and a great fighter but again, his opponent was just too big.

Brent and Chris also fought well but were thrown for ippon as they were also too small for their opponents.

We had practice with the other teams on Monday and Tuesday and our players did very well against the other teams once they were able to find some people closer to their size. Everyone seems to be having a good time but they’re also ready to go home and get some rest and some air conditioning. No serious injuries to report. Preston has a slightly sprained knee and Matt has a slightly sprained ankle, nothing that will keep them off the mat though.

Ross Quam

Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008

Good morning everyone from Busan Korea.

Matt, Chris and Colton just left from Busan to Tokyo. They checked themselves in together and were sitting together up to Tokyo. I gave to them all instruction of what to do in case something happened if their boarding pass was lost, or a luggage tag was missing, or a missed connecting flight. They must pick up their suitcases at their US destinations, at SFO for Matt, DTW for Chris, PDX for Colton.

The other team members, Brent, Preston and coach Ross have gone to domestic flight check-in. Unfortunately they must pick up all suitcase upon arrival Seoul due to different airport. I gave them instrunctions on what to do upon arrival at Gimpo airport (Domestic) for their flieght to Incheon International airport. They are trying to fly standby on an earlier flight out of Busan and also Inchoen to Los Angeles. Also they left ono a 12 noon flight instead their later flight (2:30 pm).

I believe they all have had great time for shiai and the special training sessions. They were able to mingle with all other countries judokas even though they cannot speak very well with each other. They will remember all these for the rest of their lives.

All these good things happen because of Parents, Senseis, USJF Executive Members and the competitors themselves.

Thanks again to all of you. This is my last report from Busan Korea.


Joon Chi