En garde: Hooked on foils, flyrodsOur prehistoric ancestors were able-bodied sportsmen who could hunt and fish at the same time to put food on the fire.
Times have changed; nowadays these skills aren’t typically needed for survival.
Still, Yu Sang-joo has managed to master both the sword and the fishing rod.
The 35-year-old athlete is a coach in sabre for the Tong Yang Cement Co. men’s fencing team and is a member of the Korea Sport Fishing Association.
Mr. Yu took up fencing during his junior year at Hongik High School. After becoming a member of the national fencing team in 1985, he won gold medals at the Asian Fencing Championships in 1993, 1995 and 1997.
At last year’s summer Asian Games in Busan, he coached the Korean women’s sabre team to a silver medal and helped Lee Shin-mi take home an individual gold.
His achievements in angling have not yet landed him any gold medals, but he nonetheless has plenty of admirers. Mr. Yu has continuously ranked in the top tier of the fishing association’s 350 members.
“I started fishing in my sophomore year in college,” he says. “I just got hooked on it the moment I caught my first fish.”
As his rod-and-reel expertise improved, he decided to become a professional fisherman. But in Korea, attaining that status requires a motorboat.
As good fortune would have it, he got a motorboat as a present in 1988 and immediately threw his line into professional fishing tournaments. Last October, he placed fourth in a Korean pro tournament by catching a 58-centimeter long (23-inch) bass.
“In fishing, what you need most is a good feel,” he says.
“One needs patience when fighting a fish, and when the right timing comes you go in for the final push. The same goes for fencing.”
by Jeong Young-jae