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  #1  
Unread 05-24-2011, 04:58 PM
blacklotus blacklotus is offline
Jiri Jammer
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: n/a
Posts: 47
Korean gyms - 'members only'

Of the four gyms in my area (Anyang) none of them charges a daily rate.

I feel so frustrated over this, because I'd like to visit other gyms from time to time instead of only climbing at ONE.

At Kim Jong-heon's gym, for example, you cannot buy a pass for any shorter than 3 months. Nevermind a day pass, even one month is too short. Through translation he apparently explained to me, "You must choose one gym in Korea." Now I feel like, if I go back there at all, he's going to expect for me to pay 180,000. I'm told there are four foreign climbers there, but if I don't commit to paying 180,000, then I guess I'll just never meet them.

So I have no idea of what to do. Each gym has advantages and disadvantages for me. Only ever training at one gym means unlikely exposure to climbers and climbing groups from other gyms. Further, it means no exposure to different training walls, methods, etc.

I just want to be able to buy a day pass every now and then, but the approach among most gyms in Korea seems to be all-or-nothing. You commit to a membership (of one month or more) or else you're not welcome there, it seems like.

Does anyone know why this approach is so common in Korea? Is it a matter of loyalty? Or do the owners not realize there are people in my situation who would truly like to climb there sometimes but not all the time?
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  #2  
Unread 05-24-2011, 09:10 PM
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skinsk skinsk is offline
peace
 
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Yeah. . . it's a group thing, though I've never been turned away for a day pass (and I've visited about 50 gyms!) and only twice (I think!) was I charged for a first day! Of course, usually I explain that I am just visiting the particular area. . . but yeah, this is a "membership" country, where membership means a lot. Used to be easier for foreigners to get away with playing the field, but once committed, you are more accepted and considered a part of the group. The whole "day rate" is a rather recent trend here. . . but I date back to early '98 when gyms were fewer and further between.

But to answer your last quesstion. . . probably "yes" because most people here don't feel like you do, and the gyms are really trying to appeakl to Koreans-- but foreigners are welcome-- moreso if they acknowledge and go with Korean conventions. . . here in Jeonju many of us are given a special "daily" rate, though it's prefered that we pay monthly for our "days". . . so in large part it depends on the gym management/owners.
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  #3  
Unread 05-29-2011, 11:19 AM
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Les Les is offline
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If you'd like to develop awesome climbing skills quickly, take the plunge and sign up! You'll still get outdoors, and still get the chance to meet up with other foreign climbers. If you invest yourself in A climbing community (money, time and heart), I bet the social reward will be outstanding.
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  #4  
Unread 05-29-2011, 12:07 PM
danger danger is offline
Seorak Sender
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I've been to a few gyms in more downtown seoul and there are always drop in rates. but probably 99% of the people do the monthly rates.

Koreans in my experience are all about being in a group, and bonds forged over time. The men, at least, are also big on loyalty. So this isn't surprising
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  #5  
Unread 05-29-2011, 12:13 PM
danger danger is offline
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blacklotus what are you doing on the internet! you should be at the RBS!
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  #6  
Unread 05-29-2011, 12:14 PM
blacklotus blacklotus is offline
Jiri Jammer
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Hey Les. Thanks for the response.

I've been climbing for about nine years. I climb hard.

One trouble is I'm relatively shy. Not shy among climbers, but that assumes I can communicate with them. And very, very few climbers in my area speak conversational English. And many who seem to I'm suspecting don't in fact, and maybe don't understand much of what I say, even if I make an effort to speak simply.

About investing oneself in a climbing community, there are many more gyms per unit land area in Korea than in the US. The trouble is, it seems that at any given gym, only a small handful of people visit regularly. If I don't feel welcomed at first, then I'm not so inclined to stick around. That was the case at the gym across the street from where I live. And I would have gone ahead and stuck around (given the convenience), if it weren't for the k-pop/ rap stuff on the stereo.

Right now I'm inclined to invest in a month pass at a gym an hour from me, in Seoul. Far away, yes, but more than 15 people climb there :D
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  #7  
Unread 05-31-2011, 06:09 PM
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skinsk skinsk is offline
peace
 
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blacklotus-- it's a bit of a catch-22. Koreans, too, can be shy, especially when they have to use English to communicate. When I first came to Korea (in 1998) I didn't speak any Korean, nor did I understand the culture, and I stood out like a (blond) sore thumb. The Koreans were fairly welcoming, but much more so as I just continued to show up (and they realized I wasn't going away and I wanted to climb!), but it wasn't until I could read the signs and even see that there were fees! and I joined the gym, that I was truely treated like a member (until then, I was invited on trips, but for the first year almost, no one asked me for money or anything-- I think they were too shy! But going out every day almost, and every weekend, and learning to fit in definitely helped and before long I was in the magazines and in climbing ads

These days, of course, there are many foreign climbers and this wonderful site, and more Korean climbers who can speak English. It's quite possible that they will make more of an effort when they see that you are committed. Go for a month at first, and definitely go to the gym where you feel most comfortable, but the sooner you dive in, the better it will be for maintaining that hard climbing!

I also thought that there training methods were weird, but alas, there was no one to complain to so I just went along, and boy did I get strong quickly!

Good luck!
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