Matt Sung Lee, Founder & Professor
I have been training and teaching Martial Arts seriously for over 25 years. It started as a hobby in college and was something that I really enjoyed in my youth. Growing up in Seoul, Korea, I was always fascinated by Fighting or Combat Sports like Taekwondo, Boxing, Judo or Wrestling.
My hobby turned into something special that I could not live without, and I made a conscious decision that I was going to train full time, be poor, and be an expert some day. During those years, I competed in 29 Professional Mixed Martial Arts Matches, a number of amateur Boxing and Muay Thai fights, and also became a 2nd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
After my competition years, I coached aspiring Mixed Martial Arts fighters for years and traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. While overseas, I started teaching kids more and watched so many of my young students transform and blossom with new found confidence. I saw a timid, shy child who used to be bullied in school, slowly change his body language and build confidence as he became more comfortable with Jiu Jitsu and physical activity. So many parents and school teachers share stories with me of seeing their children change for the better. They are standing straight, speaking more clearly, and are just happier kids.
Witnessing these positive transformations in my young students, to this day, gives me such a rewarding feeling and renewed motivation to teach Martial Arts. I am excited to share with my students the amazing experience that I had through my years of training and teaching and am proud to transform my hobby into my life’s passion. My mission for Ithaca BJJ School is to provide a safe environment for children and adults to learn Martial Arts, and to inspire confidence, motivation and inspiration in my students through dedicated training.