written by Dave Patton
Some of us are old enough that we remember life before Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It wasn’t until we were adults that we heard of this fighting family with the name of Gracie. We watched UFC 1,2 and 3 on videotape. To have access to a quality fighting school was almost unheard of. But today, there’s a constant flow information and technique on the internet and good quality schools are more easily found. Today’s fighters have never known a day without the sport of Jiu Jitsu. This weeks profile presents one of those fighters who is young enough to have grown up with BJJ.
Name: Hyun “Steve” Lee
Team: Longo and Weidman MMA
Rank: Blue Belt
Years training: 3.5
Steve Lee didn’t move from Denver Colorado to New York to become a fighter, but he certainly didn’t squander the opportunity.
Four years ago. Steve was a full time student, working on his degree in Economics, at Hofstra University. He was already a fan of the UFC when he discovered that Longo and Weidman MMA was only a few miles from campus. Steve began his Jiu Jitsu training under UFC Veteran and Serra black belt Pete “Drago” Sell.
Fast forward to today…Steve has since graduated, but manages to balance his passion for martial arts with the pressures of a job and life. He currently resides in a house, near the gym, with four other active LAW MMA competitors. Every morning he can be found in the basement, on his makeshift mat setup with one of his team mates. Every night, after work, he can be found training at LAW, often until close.
- How did you get your start with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
- “I was a huge Mixed Martial Arts fan growing up. I wrestled in high school but want to train more seriously. While attending Hofstra University, I found LAW MMA. I began training there studying BJJ, Muay Thai, and Mixed Martial Arts. I’ve competed, not only in Jiu Jitsu tournaments, but also in kickboxing matches. I love both, but Grappling has become my passion. ”
- Other than your Instructor, who would be your dream private lesson?
- “I have always been a huge fan of Ryan Hall. His game is based on technique, not size or strength. He’s not super big, with chiseled muscles, but just a regular looking guy. But that regular guy will whip your ass sideways. ”
- What is your favorite technique/position/series?
- “Since I come from a wrestling background, I’m a big fan of working from the front headlock position. Recently, I have been expanding my game, learning the leg game. I have had some good success with it. “
- Prefer Gi or No Gi and why?
- “Although I work gi too, I prefer no gi. I feel it leads to a faster paced game, one where my size and speed work to my advantage. ”
- People would be surprised to know...
- “I am a huge fan of dogs. One of my coaches rescues and fosters dogs and usually has a litter of puppies at his house. You can often find me over there playing with them, and eating all of his daughter’s Cheez-its.”
6. How has Brazilian Jiu Jitsu affected your life?
- “Jiu Jitsu has changed for me. What started as a hobby, has become a way of life. I’m always looking for was to improve, to become better. I’ve recently started training with top Serra competitor Jason Rau, to improve my leg lock game.”
Steve will be facing Tiger Schulmann’s Andy Segovia, at the Rise Invitational 4, this May 18. for more information, head to http://www.facebook.com/RISEInvitational/
Full Disclosure: I am one of Steve’s Instructors at LAW MMA