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THE JAKE CLARK EXPERIENCE (Updated Sept. 16): Wrestlers' first lunch in China includes shark fin, eel and 'special' tea

Saturday, Sept. 16, Guangzhou, China

Well, I'm here. After traveling by plane, car and bus I have finally made it to Guangzhou. We arrived last night around 2 a.m. (just in time to see the local Chinese people stumbling out of the karaoke bar in our hotel). My flight went well and I actually slept for 14 of the 15-and-a-half hour flight!!! No joke. The guy next to me was amazed that I was able to sleep so long and that I didn't wake up for a meal!

For those of you that aren't TLC or Discovery fanatics like myself... The Hong Kong Airport is an engineering masterpiece. The runway and airport were made on a man-made floating island! It's unreal and if you get the chance, Google it. From Hong Kong we had about a two-and-a-half hour van ride to our hotel in Guangzhou. I was so tired when we arrived that I believe I left my BRAND NEW 30GB video I-POD in the van. Chalk that up as a loss!

The place we're staying is pretty nice and considered a four-star hotel. The breakfast this morning was great and very surprising to all of us. I slept great last night and due to my sleep on the plane, I believe my body is set on the time change already.

This afternoon, myself, Chas Betts, and Jake Fisher went for a short stroll to find some lunch. We walked through this long alley-street-market kind of thing and saw some amazing things. I'll make sure to take some photos. During that stroll it was like a guessing game. Were they selling things as pets or food?! We saw pigeons, crabs, fish, weird-looking fruits with spikes, and several other "odd" things. The smell was a bit odd, but that was the least of my worries ... Bird Flu being the No. 1! Ha ha.

Honestly, this city seems to be a very nice place and the people have been very kind thus far. We didn't find any place to eat during our walk and decided to eat at the resturaunt located next to our hotel. The hostess asked if we wanted Chinese food and we said yes. Well, we soon learned that General Tso's Chicken, Won-Ton Soup, and other such items ARE NOT REALLY CHINESE FOOD!!!

I tried to get the other guys I was with to play a game. In this game I wanted to choose what Chas was going to eat. Chas was going to choose what Jake Fisher was going to eat. And Jake Fisher would choose what I would eat. Neither of them agreed to play my game ... THANKFULLY! It could have been real bad! Ha ha. Instead we ordered a few different dishes and crossed our fingers before they brought it out. We had some fried noodles with some kind of meat, some fried rice with eel, shark fin inside of a mango with some kind of broth, Chinese tea, some Chinese cake, and Chinese versions of Pepsi and Sprite. We did our best and ate as much as we could. The shark fin and eel weren't too bad.

There was a Chinese family eating at the table next to us and they sent us some "special" tea to share with them. We drank it and hopefully I won't "pop" on my urinalysis for that!

The people have been very friendly and during lunch our waitress "hit on" me. She told me in "broken-English" that I was beautiful and she wanted to have rice with me later tonight. She then went on to explain that there are "special" tables upstairs and wanted to know if I would accept her offer. I was a bit confused and the guys with me were laughing at the whole situation. Our waitress then told me to follow her and she'll show me the room. I was nervous, but excited at the same time! The next thing you know I was in an elevator in the resturaunt with three girls. A dream come true. Ha ha. We got to the floor and they escorted me to this room with a table for four in the center of it and a bathroom in the corner. Weird, very WEIRD! She said it would cost 600 of their money (approx. $75) to rent that room for dinner. It didn't have a view or anything! I stayed there for a few minutes trying to communicate with these girls (their English was horrible, but much better than my ONE WORD in Chinese!). She kept asking me, "Yes, or no?" I would say, "Maybe" and she'd reply with her famous yes-no line. Needless to say we didn't get too far in conversation. After a few minutes we went back down to the resturaunt where Chas and Fisher were waiting "wide-eyed" and curious to hear the story. That is where that story will end ... for now! Ha ha.

We received our schedule for the rest of the time we are here and will be doing two practices a day, alternating with a game, and a short on-the-mat practice. I suppose that's all I have for now, but I will write again in the near future.

Thanks to everyone for the e-mails I've received thus far. It's great to know that we have so many of you supporting us. As I said before, feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them (if you don't want me to mention it in the blog ... just let me know and I'll answer it to your e-mail). Once again, my e-mail is I hope all is well with everyone and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jake "Beautiful" Clark (she must not have seen my ears before she spoke!)

Thursday, Sept. 14, Chicago, Ill.

Greetings to all,

Welcome to "The Jake Clark Experience" and I hope you enjoy the ride. First off, I'm honored to be representing the United States, The Marine Corps, and my family at the upcoming World Championships. I am blessed and very grateful for this opportunity to do something that most people never have the chance to do. Over the next few weeks I will invite you to walk in my shoes and join me in my journey to Guangzhou, China, where I will compete in my first Senior level World Championships. I will try to give as much detail as possible, answer any questions you might have, and hopefully let everyone enjoy the experiences I'm about to endure. I will try to write daily, or as often as possible. If at some point anyone comes up with some questions you can send them to my email address and I will answer them in my next entry. I can be reached at:

Don't be shy and ask away!

It's Thursday the 14th of September and the time has finally come. The trip has already started off pretty cruel and I'm stuck in Chicago for a five-hour delay! I left my apartment in Stafford, Va., at 6 this morning and made my way up to Dulles International Airport in Northern Va. I believe the trip is somewhere around 50-60 miles from my home to Dulles, and generally takes about an hour to get there. But, not today! No way! The weather was horrible and traffic was slam packed! What a way to start off my trip.

Upon arriving at the airport I was then informed that there was a delay in Chicago and I'd be backed up 4-5 hours. Let me remind you, I'm already dreading the fact that my travel schedule is already more than I was ready to handle. From Virginia to Chicago is an hour-and-45-minute flight. From Chicago to Hong Kong is a whopping 15-and-a-half hours! (Is that safe for planes to fly that far without refueling!!!) And from Hong Kong we are going by ground to Guangzhou ... duration of that part of my travel ... NO IDEA! Without the delay, the total TRAVEL time (excluding layovers) was going to be around 20 hours!

Thankfully, I'm not cutting serious weight at the moment or I would have put a few flight attendants in a front-headlock! Luckily, over the past few years I've done so much traveling that I've earned "Premier Executive" status with United and am a member of the Red Carpet Club at the airports. So here I sit in Chicago, a Diet Pepsi in hand, laptop on the desk, sitting in a comfy leather chair, surrounded by a bunch of businessmen, just trying to pass time. I'm the only one in here with tennis shoes, shorts, a backpack, and no business cards to my name! I like to consider myself a "Broke Rock Star." I live the life of a rock star ... just on a MUCH smaller scale and budget! Ha ha.

Onto the important stuff...

Over the last several weeks I've been having a tough time staying focused and finding motivation to train. It seems like the minute after winning Trials I had people trying to get me ready for Worlds ... which was nearly four months away! I just wasn't ready to jump into the training regimen so soon.

I had people telling me that I need to start training to win the World Championships. However, I hadn't even thought about that. My goals for this year were to win Nationals, win Trials, and be the No. 1 guy in the U.S. I accomplished my goals and didn't think too much about anything beyond that. I wanted to be excited for myself for achieving my goals and doing what I set out to do. But at the same time, no one was ready to celebrate with me ... they all had bigger ideas, bigger expectations for me. I just didn't have the energy and drive like I did in preparing for Nationals and Trials. I think I was just worn out or something.

Recently, I found a little "kick" and have been feeling much better mentally and with my training. Now I find myself two weeks away from competing and I'm excited to go. I feel ready and no matter how I do I'm happy with my season ... but it sure would be nice to end the year with a medal around my neck! I suppose I must get going for now. I will be writing again when I arrive in China ... if I ever make it there!

Take care to all,

Jake Clark
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