A Visit to Crossfit SAP in Seoul, South Korea

by Mike on November 29, 2010

Seoul Tower, Seoul, South KoreaI was able to find sometime for myself to visit Crossfit SAP, a crossfit affiliate located in Seoul, South Korea on my recent trip to South Korea.

Like with finding anything in South Korea, don’t rely solely on the address, instead call them and ask for directions and landmarks relative to where they’re located.  This will save you a bit of time and some frustration.

With that being said, I choose to visit Crosffit SAP over Crossfit Hankook because I was able to talk to someone over the phone and obtain directions.

THE SAME FIRST STEPThe Same First Step

Now, I’ve been to several different Crossfit affiliates in the U.S.  Despite the difference in location and layouts, they all make you do one common thing – sign a waiver.  When I stepped foot in Crossfit SAP expressing to hit a WOD, I was expecting to sign a similar wavier like I’ve done in the States.  With the affiliate located in a foreign country, the question that begs to be answered is: will the waiver be in English or Korean?  Or will they have two versions?

It turns out, the wavier was neither in English or Korean.   I didn’t sign nor read any wavier because there wasn’t one!  In fact, the owner didn’t know what a “wavier” was.   In all fairness, I didn’t know what the Korean word for waiver was so I couldn’t really ask why there wasn’t a need to sign a waiver.

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES

With this being a Crossfit affiliate located overseas, there are going to be some cultural differences.  And of course, I committed the first mistake by wearing my work out sneakers to the box.  Huh? How could that be a mistake?

Schools and some work offices in South Korea require you to change out of your street shoes and into slippers when you enter the aforementioned buildings.  The Crossfit SAP box was no exception to the rule, thus this was the mistake I made.  I didn’t realize a gym, a place where it’s filled with weights and sweaty people would abide by the custom of taking of your shoes.

Nevertheless, when you first enter Crossfit SAP, there is area to take off your street shoes and change into slippers.  You then walk into the locker room with slippers and change into your workout cloths including your work out sneakers.  I took a video of the little area in front where you take off your street shoes and into slippers.

The thing I don’t get is, what happens when during a WOD, you have to run outside and come back inside and do a movement with bar or pull up bar.   They must still keep their work out shoes and still come and go as they please until the WOD is finished.

Despite the fact I didn’t have a separate pair of work out shoes, they let me slide this time and let me work out with my sneakers I wore to the box.  So, if you’re ever going to hit up this box, bring a pair of slippers and carry your sneakers to the box in you gym bag.

OVERVIEW OF THE BOX

The owner of Crossfit SAP was kind enough to take some time to show us a little around his box.

The video is in Korean because it was easier for him to talk.  When I asked a question in English, he responded in English.  If anyone wants to know, the translation for the Korean part when he first started talking is as follows:

In Korea, there aren’t a lot of gyms like this.  In this gym, you can do weightlifting or crossfit.  Other gyms just have weights or machine.

The equipment was pretty standard to what you would find in a crossfit box State side.  The notable variation was the dumb bell weights are in kilograms versus lbs.  This was kind of odd because I’ve worked out in a gym in Thailand before the dumb bells there were all in lbs.

I didn’t have time to hit another WOD during my stay in Seoul, but I wouldn’t hesitate to return with my own slippers.

UPDATE 5/31/12
According to a comment below, this box has moved to the Hongik University area and changed their name.  From the name, one can assume it’s a college like area, and I can confirm that it is.  There’s a lot of cheap eats in the area and always bustling with people even late on a sunday night.  There’s also plenty of budget accommodations around this area.  As far as Western Chain hotels, the Westin Chosun is only a few metro stops away at City Hall.

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