Taekwondo Uniform: The Dobok


Dobok is the Korean term for the Taekwondo uniform. It must be worn at all times during practice and most especially during tournaments and sparring games.

Etymology of the term
The term dobok originated from two Korean terms: “do” which is in reference to the word way and “bok” which refers to clothing. Combined together, it meant way of clothing.

Types of Taekwondo Uniform
There are two types of Dobok namely the white and the black Dobok. The white dobok is typically worn by students which are distinguished by rank based on their belt color. The black dobok on the other hand is worn by student who has successfully achieved the rank of black belt but there are also instances wherein a black trimming on the collar of the white dobok is done just to distinguish the rank the student has managed to attain.

Similarity with other Martial Arts Uniform
The Taekwondo uniform closely resembles other types of uniform primarily that of Karate and Judo. Nevertheless a closer look at these uniforms will reveal certain unique differences in them.

Similarities with these martial arts uniform proves one thing, the fact that almost all Oriental Martial Arts uniform may have originated from judo. “Gi” is the martial art term for the judo uniform wherein all other martial arts uniform may have been patterned. It was developed by Kano Jigoro, who was also the very first individual who made use of distinctive colors to distinguish the skills of his students.

Characteristics of the Dobok
The dobok is commonly portrayed as a white upper garment with wide sleeves that are paired with white long wide pants that are tied together by the colored belts which signifies the individuals rank and skills.

At present, the dobok used is patterned over the Korean hanbok, which usually have a v-neck jackets but others who wish to war a “gi” with a cross over jacket front are still accepted. Before entering a tournament, make sure you check their rules with regards to the proper dobok accepted so as not to have any technical problems during the start of the actual tournament.

Purpose of Wearing the Taekwondo Uniform
There are many reasons why people would wish to wear a dobok but based on the Encyclopedia of Tae-kwon-do these are the primary reasons why wearing the dobok during training and tournaments are necessary.

1. The wearer acquires pride and dignity by mere wearing of the dobok. It reminds him or her of the tenets of Taekwondo and the virtues and values which comes together with the knowledge he or she may have learned from his or her teacher.

2. It distinguishes the rank of a particular student. Based on the color of the belt which he or she wears, it easily identifies the degree and skill that particular individual has attained.

3. It carries a historical heritage and tradition which has been passed on during the times of the early Koreans up to the present.

4. It is practical and healthy to use even during tournaments.

5. It helps instill the virtue of humility to the wearer due to the grade and degree the dobok symbolizes.


Source by Brendan Mark Smith

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