Paul Jean was born and raised in San Francisco, California. After his parents’ divorce, Paul did not have much exposure and access to Korean culture or a community and grew up feeling disconnected and almost ashamed of being Korean.
As he got older, his curiosity of the world around him grew and allowed him to explore different ways of thinking. He continued to struggle to find his place in America and his desire for a greater purpose in life led him to move to Korea in 2006. For the first seven years, he was recognized as an American by his peers until he discovered jiu jitsu. Nobody at the gym cared that he was the Korean American, or a gyopo. Paul credits jiu jitsu in helping him connect with his Korean identity and keeping him motivated and grounded.