Han Woo Pak.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend.
Han Woo came to us from South Korea about a year ago. He dropped in on a Friday evening class – literally out of nowhere – and asked if he could join us. Not knowing his skill and strength level – or if he could even CrossFit – I told him no. He then told me that he had taken a 90 minute journey just to get to the gym to workout (he had followed the program loosely in Korea before he arrived) and was very eager to train at our gym with our group of athletes. The journey included several buses and several long bouts of walking (he didn’t have a car at the time).
Although I was hesitant letting an unknown drop into the class, I obliged him. I brought him in before the class and showed him the training session for the night: Squats and Amanda. He nodded in approval (as if he had already done these things many times before) and I was encouraged. He asked for a little time to get changed and warmed up. We gave it to him.
He came out of the changing room dressed and ready to go, grabbed a bar, and began to move like a Korean Weightlifting Angel. He was not the strongest by any means, but his movement was incredible – sharp, smooth and powerful. Everyone in class stopped to watch. We went through our squats and then on to Amanda. Once he set up his rings and began to warm-up, we knew he would vie for a top time in the class. He obviously knew what he was doing.
Long story short: Han Woo told us that he had to go home for a while, but wanted to know if he could return and train with us for the following year. When he returned, he joined us and officially became a Karhu Bear. Over the course of the past 12 months, he increased his strength in his deadlift, squat, snatch and clean & jerk. He improved his max set of muscle ups and pull-ups, and he competed for CrossFit Jääkarhu in the 2015 Open. He also managed to compete at several local competitions and spent as much time as he could at the gym: training, socializing; practicing skills and drills. For the better part of the year, he traveled a very long distance to and from the gym using public transpiration – and his feet – to make it to training in the evenings. He would often get a ride home from me or other people in the class – but there were nights when I remember him making the trip in the rain with no complaints.
I have met only a few individuals as committed and happy to train as Han Woo. Although his time with us was relatively short, he has become an archetype of the kind of athlete we want in our box: eager, humble and earnest.
Thank you Han Woo for all of the great times and memories. Surely our paths will cross someday soon in the CrossFit World. We love you and will miss you!
Week 44: 15.06.05
A. 5×3: Hang Snatch @ 70
B. 5×3: Speed Back Squat @ 55 – 1 Second Pause At Bottom
C. For Max Reps:
8 Min AMRAP: Push Press @ 115/75
When Break: 30 Second Bar Hang
Rest 4 Minutes
8 Min AMRAP: Hang Power Clean @ 185/125
When Break: 30 Second Plank Hold
D. 2×30: Reverse Hyper