“Fight My Way” (쌈 마이웨이)

By Jae-Ha Kim
jaehakim.com
January 10, 2018

Ko Dong-Man (played by Park Seo Joon)
Choi Ae-Ra (played by Kim Ji-Won)
Kim Joo-Man (played by Ahn Jae-Hong)
Baek Seol-Hee (played by Song Ha-Yoon)

Note: Korean names denote the surname followed by the given name.

One of the things I enjoy about Korean dramas is that many — such as the superb “Answer Me” series — tend to focus of the main characters’ childhood friendships and how that camaraderie evolves into their adulthood.

Such is the case here, where four friends grow up with each other and, eventually, end up falling in (and out of) love.

Don’t scream at me about spoiling the plot, because there is no way anyone can watch the first episode and not see what will happen by the finale.

Dong-Man was a bit of a country bumpkin in high school. But as one of Korea’s top hopes to win a gold medal in taekwondo at the Olympics, he has a fanbase that includes the most popular girl in school.

Dong-Man’s downfall occurs as he is about to qualify for Korea’s National Team. His top rival offers him money to throw the match, pointing out that the funds would pay for his crippled sister’s surgery. He says no. But when Dong-Man sees his little sister sitting in her wheelchair, he hits the mat and stays down. He vows never to compete in taekwondo again.

Technically, he doesn’t. But after running into his taekwondo frenemy, who is now a top Mixed Martial Arts fighter, Dong-Man decides that he will get his revenge in the MMA octagon.

Ae-Ra is his childhood best friend. She watches out for him, especially when his emotions are yanked around by the college campus beauty, who returns to him every time she has a breakup.

Ae-Ra had dreams of becoming a famous announcer on a major network. But without the funds to travel and get the training that her competitors have, she ends up toiling away as a greeter at a department store. She has a young, pretty and stupid boyfriend, whose lifestyle she funds with her meager salary. Even after she catches him cheating on her — and impregnating another woman — she has difficulty reconciling that she no longer has such a handsome beau. She says repeatedly that a man’s face matters more than anything else.

The second couple in this drama has the less splashy but more convincing story line. Joo-Man and Seul-Hee work together at a homeshopping network. He is a salaryman, waiting to get a raise so he can rent a larger apartment and propose to Seul-Hee. She is a customer service rep, who is always doing other people’s work for them and getting none of the credit. They keep their relationship secret to keep the office gossip at bay.

When a colleague develops a crush on Joo-Man, Seul-Hee’s insecurity comes to the surface. But, she also realizes what she will and will not tolerate and takes a much-needed stance.

One of the most heartbreaking elements of this drama was when Seul-Hee’s hardworking mother overhears Joo-Man’s bitchy family saying negative things about her daughter, who they don’t believe is good enough for Joo-Man.

The finale ends exactly as it should. And the quartet’s last hurrah of sorts on their apartment rooftop is satisfying.

Airdates: 

This 16-episode series aired on KBS2 from May 22 to July 11, 2017.

Spoiler Alert:

Ae-Ra’s mother didn’t die, as she had been led to believe. Rather, she had been ordered to leave the household, once Ae-Ra’s paternal grandparents realized she was an actress, whose screen credits included some sexy roles.

Dong-Man’s high school classmate Moo-Bin is a sociopath. He dates Dong-Man’s high school girlfriend to show her that Dong-Man is working at a gas station. And he dates Ae-Ra, because he wants to hurt Dong-Man. When Ae-Ra learns Moo-Bin is engaged to a Japanese heiress, she breaks up with him after he suggests that she becomes his mistress.

The Adoption Element:
After Ae-Ra’s mother is kicked out of the house, she moves to Japan. There, she catches a 15-year-old homeless boy stealing her wallet. She later adopts him. Namil is always worried he will be thrown away once she is reunited with Ae-Ra. After she returns to Korea and buys the apartment complex that Ae-Ra and her friends live in, he questions what her real motives are and how he will fit into her life. She reassures him that they are, and always will be, family.

© 2018 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (10)

  1. Alice F. says:

  2. JW says:

  3. Norie says:

  4. Andy says:

  5. Heather says:

  6. Yang Guo says:

  7. Lia says:

  8. Liz says:

  9. I squee’d like a fan girl when BTS’s FIRE came on as his character walked toward the cage. My husband was like “Are you okay?!” =) Had to explain it was BTS and even though it’s normal to hear Kpop music in a drama it was perfect for setting the scene as Park Seo-joon!

  10. Kristen Geyer says:

    I really enjoyed Kim Ji-Won in Fight My Way, even more than in DOTS. Song Ha-Yoon was a real scene stealer for me. My favorite will always be Coffee Prince followed by Reply 1988. I could watch them over and over but there are so many more I love. If it has Gong Hyo Jin it’s a guarantee that I’ll watch and enjoy.

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