Seoul searching Homeward Bound
So the rest of the troop trudged along to the Karaoke bar in the hotel where queen Latifah (Adele) said she stole the show, I know that’s not true because she can’t sing. She’s good at cooking and cleaning and looking after me and darning my socks occasionally but singings not one of her strong points.
That morning, Sunday, signed the legal documents for the Kickboxing for peace initiative with Carl Emery, Dr Robert Briner and myself. More on the initiative at a later date.
Said our goodbyes to everyone as Adele and I went to the W hotel just slightly out of town for brunch, well it wasn’t brunch because of Carl, he kept us late because he had a sore throat from singing too much at the Karaoke.Carl is in Korea for another wek. He is at the world martial art conventio, Sacha Veterli and Luca Staeger are taking part in the Ju Jitsu style competition, we wish them well.
K1 finalist Gokhan Sakiwho defeated Ray Sefoon pionts rang Adrian Moat, our number one self appointed K1 contender, to say that he is also tough enough.
Got a private car courtesy of the hotel to take us to the airport, which was very kind of them. Left Korea, slightly disappointed in Seoul, didn’t see any of the ancient or the historic past just the modern side. Got the flight from London to Dubai, I said in an earlier blog about the Dubai airport. I don’t think I’ve seen an airport as busy.
Arrived in London 45 minutes ahead of time of course Adele was looking to see if we could change our flight so she could go into London to do some shopping but at the last minute she took a tiredy, I don’t know why as she did nothing but sleep on the last two flights. London flight was on time arrived in Belfast at 5.20pm nearly 26 hours travelling.
Went home got a shower and back at Prokick taking one of our yellow belt classes. It doesn’t seem as though we’ve been away… maybe it was all a dream.
Well, this is big FIGHT day - the last 16 best K1 fighters will be whittled down to make the final 8 for the K1 Grand Prix in Japan on December 1. And more importantly this was the first time since we're here that we've made breakfast, and it wasn't worth getting up for when one only have a couple of hours sleep.
My Swiss friends all arrived in Seoul for tonight's big event - Carl Emery, Mr Kickboxer from Switzerland just arrived in town along with his team mates and we were honoured to with top barrister Swiss Robert Briner whom jetted in to met Carl and the team in Seoul for Saturday's BIG Fight night the K1 final 16 - and yours truly was allowed to tag along.
Sat and discussed Kickboxing oh yeah and more kickboxing stuff for our December show in Belfast.We talked that much guf that we were late and by the time we got to the Olympic stadium where the event was being held we missed the opening ceremony - oh if looks could kill I was well buried.
Yes her ladyship Adele was not please, also missed two local fights - I really wanted to see them so I could gauge our own heavyweights against them, really my fault.
The show is everything you would expect if one had the backing of national TV and by the looks of the event and fight card - a humongous budget to plan it as well. No harm in dreaming.
After the event was over and we got back to the hotel where the after event party was held. When that was over every one headed to the lobby and Mr Kickboxer had the bright plan to hit the Karaoke bar in the hotel which is open till 3am.
Fill you in with the details tomorrow on who sang what when we head on our way back on Sunday.
And we missed breakfast again so we’ve got ourselves in a mind set - to make it in the morning.
Picking up where I left of last night, Adele was shopping with Orlando and Doi-san and she burnt them out, part time shopper only lasting an hour.
TAXI, true to form they was a problem with a Taxi diver by way of telling the driver who lives here he was going in the wrong direction to the hotel – minor league stuff, for Adele.
We all met in the conference centre – the hotel Lobby that is - today there was media circus in town that’s what it seemed like as we went to the official press conference where the fighters are on display to the media. A packed conference room on the 7th floor of the host hotel and one of the sponsors the Imperial Hotel.
We were led into the hall, got our places and were presented the final 16 fighter with 8 hoping to qualify for the Grand Prix in Japan on December 6th .I must admit, this is an exceptional fight card with some weird matches. But I’m sure the K1 group know what they are doing, obviously they do as they has been in business for the last 15 years and paying the best fight fee’s going.
The fighters where each asked questions and then give their own run down of the fight and how they see it going. A favourite for K1 fans is Jerome Le Banner who was in great form and looked very relaxed as he had the room in laughter with his comment to the press and about his fight.
It went on for a couple of hours and after it had finished we headed for dinner, and during dinner I received a text from a ProKicker, Adrian Moat which said “ Show looks great but I bet there is no one that could take me. Any one there, my standard?”
I know Adrian is a tough guy at 72K and has had ONE fight and a win by way of KO. I sent him a text back saying, “No one here but I’ll look” Adrian received a call from 5 minutes by Ernesto Hoost winner of the K1 not once but five times – Mr Perfect asked him - “I heard you are looking for a match I am available”
Adrian text later to say he told all his mates that Mr Perfect called him and still couldn’t believe it ….Adrian finished by saying , “ I think I could take him!” I think we’ll leave it at that for now.
After dinner Adele and I hit the town just for a walk for an hour or so – after that we hit the office – the hotel Lobby and had a nightcap (tea) with the team then hit the sack - big day for everyone tomorrow.
By-the way Carl Emery will hit town tomorrow for the show - looking forward to see him and all his team.
Until tomorrow – nite …
Day 4 in Asia
Well its really our second day in Seoul and what a day - missed breakfast, hate that when I'm away it wasn't our fault. In the book it states 10.30am - went down at 10.15 and they were clearing up and we were up for ages too, won't make that mistake again.
We decided to head out right away and grab a bite on the hoof so to speak. Guess where our first port of call was to? Yes, you're right, a shopping centre.Didn't really mind though as I needed a card reader for my camera or you guys would not be seeing any of these great photographs.
The photographer by-the-way is great!Lets not go there and blame Adele as your emails suggested, thanks away and please keep them coming. It really was her fault but I took it on the chin.
It was now 2.30pm and I was shopped out so back to the hotel we trudged. By this time all the fighters had now arrived at the hotel, talk about the who's who in kickboxing, there was some amount of names to town
Met up with Mr Perfect and all his team, as last night we just met Orlando the boxing specialist. Ernesto's fighter Paul Slowinski finally made an entrance he said he's been sleeping for 16 hours - now that sounds similar, as our very own Gary Hamilton sleeps the clock round when he's away too.
Doi-San just arrived in from Japan he has been working with Ernesto Hoost from 1996 and is also a valued part of the squad.We where invited to tag along and watch Paul training - that was me and Adele, as Ernesto said she was like one of the boys, Adele freaked by Mr P calling her one of the boys, he assured her that it was meant as a complement.
So off we went to a gym which was just about 15 minutes from the hotel. The gym belongs to a former K1 Max winner.Training:Brief warm-up with Orlando starting with the boxing side of thing, Paul has trained for 7 weeks for Remi Bonjasky and is just off a good win in Hawaii so he really hasn't taken his foot of the gas pedal.
Next up was the Man himself, Mr Perfect climbed through the ropes just to go over their game plan for the flying gentleman. Can't tell you much, sworn to secrecy or better still I'd be getting one of these high kicks to the head if I give anything away - I will say that this is going to be a great bout and Paul seems really up for the challenge.
Back at the hotel, we were invited back stage with team Perfect, and what an enduring but exciting 3 hours of none-stop press calls - to say that the K1 is big - that really is an under statement.A photo shoot, interview with the TV commentators a press interview in front of 20 different press firing questions.
Meanwhile, fighters like Musashi, Peter Aert and the local favourite - Hong Man Choi. All were being interviewed or photographed.Ernesto and Paul had three more TV interviews for other networks more photographs for the K1 web sites and Paul was finally finished.
Dinner time, we all went for a lovely meal then to the lobby for tea. Surprise surprise, Adele sourced a night market for some late night therapy shopping - Not me, I was burnt out so I declined (hoping) she would too. Paul was already in bed and at 11pm Ernesto was heading to his room Thankfully Orlando loves shopping YEHAA and Doi-san tagged along even though he was sleep walking earlier. I seen them off and I skipped off to my room like a dog with two tails.
They where out for just an hour or so and guess what they returned empty handed no goods in bag!
Tomorrow is another busy day Ernesto wants to go over more drills with Paul he said he is leaving nothing to chance. This is the last 16, Eight of the 16 will go forward to Japan for the K1 Grand Prix on Dec8 and Ernesto Hoost wants Paul Slowinski in the final.
WE arrived in Dubai at 1am - and boy was it hot, 38 and at that time of night. What a busy airport. There were thousands of people running for flights and we were just another two people caught up in the madness.
No time for shopping or internet, I'd just got the lap top switched on and it seemed it was time to board, the two hours between flights flew in. No Drama, what's up?
Finally arrived in Korea - well here we go - the drama starts, Adele researched the travel to the hotel and so did I.Bus, Taxi or Taxi/limo really no difference with the cars. We were contemplating which way, when suddenly this well spoken Korean ask out of the blue can he help us (We must have looked like two lost souls) he advised us to go with the yellow or white top taxi they were the cheapest and reliable too, we thanked him and on we went in hunt of the colour top taxis.
We came to one which we were hassled as he proceeded to attempt to load up the bags in his car BUT our taxi guy couldn't get the boot lid closed and started to tie in down, well just hold on there REMEMBER the taxi driver in China - then suddenly Hawkeye, Adele that is - noticed that the top of the taxi was light blue and not the colour the lovely Korean gent advised.
Okayyy then that was my fault so out the bags (Two bags that's all) came from the boot and into a white coloured top taxi, (picture the scene) the two taxi drivers started arguing with each other over who's fare it was, driver 1. then lifted bags out off driver 2's cab. And as fast as one on my spinning back fists (30 years ago) and before I knew what was going on Adele hightailed with her bag and left me standing - off she went to the Taxi/Limo which, nice Korean man said are too expensive. Meanwhile I'm stuck in the middle of two taxi drivers trying to stop their own 'winner takes the customer to the hotel'.
The next part of the Blog would not be suitable for our internet readers BLEEP<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<It went from an £8 bus ride to a £30 taxi which turned into a £95 cab ride to the hotel - Not HappyEvery thing else was just great the hotel is lovely, they up-graded us to a suite, NICE, the receptionist must have seen how stressed we looked. And just before we checked in we were greeted by Mr Perfect himself.
We freshened up and sat and chatted for a couple of hours, with Ernesto and one of his team, Orlando, a boxing specialist - there was a real buzz around the hotel as it's the host hotel for the K1.
I met old friend Ray Sefo who is on the card on Saturday night. Ernesto introduced me to Peter Aerts and then later to Showtime promoter and promoter of the K1 Holland, Simon RutzWe hit the town for an hour, then on the way back bumped into Jerome Le Banner and his team - they where in Japan for a week and just came to Souel which is just an hour away and after the K1 they jet back to Japan and on to France.
Well that was our day in brief - Oh yeah, took loads of pictures but left my card reader at home, will get a new one tomorrow.Yes, lets blame Adele on that one anyways!
Left Belfast this morning (Tuesday) and surprisingly, nothing happened. We got to Gatwick with 2 hours to spare, made the connection to the North terminal, boarded the fight to Dubai, great inflight service, would match it to Virgin any day – Still love Virgin though.
When I said nothing happened what I meant was every time Adele and I travel away somewhere, always and I mean always there’s a drama of some sort from Taxi drivers falling asleep to airplanes having more than one attempt at a landing. By-the–way Adele is my long suffering friend she was being nosey there looking over my shoulder and asked me to change it from girlfriend.
Okayyyy then, its going to be open season on Adele, remember the Prada shoes in China it was ALL true.
Adele wasn’t feeling well this week, we were not even sure if she was going to make the trip, and after breakfast with MY friend Joe Lindsay he sent Adele a text of sympathy – it Read, “ See Adele Voodoo Dolls do work”!
He really is a good friend.
Irish kickboxing figurehead Billy Murray is heading east this weekend for whistle-stop fact finding tour. The world champion turned coach is heading to Korea for the Seoul K1 event. Kickboxing legend Ernesto Hoost, who has become a familiar visitor to Northern Ireland this year, has organised seats at the September 28 event for Murray and his partner Adele.
Following the event, Murray wants to sit down again with the K1 worldwide chiefs to hold talks about using ProKick events as feeder events for the K1 shows – an exciting development for local kickboxing lovers.“The K1 pump large amounts of resources into events around the world. So why not Belfast, an excited Murray added:
“ I’ve met with the makers and shakers before on several occasions and they did agree to come to Belfast. What I’ll also be looking for is the winner of our WKN Grand Prix K1 style event on December 1st at the Waterfront will have the opportunity to feature on one of the big shows in Japan as an incentive.”
During the trip, Murray will blog on developments and on the incredible sights and sounds of the South Korean capital.
The trip is a late 50th birthday present for Murray from Adele. They had planned to go to Dubai for a similar big kickboxing event earlier in the summer, but Murray’s father Billy Snr took ill and was diagnosed with bone cancer from which he tragically died.
Murray will return from Korea in time to lead a ProKick team to Dublin for a Prokick select against a Southern Select in the National Stadium on October 4