A TaeKwondo Uniform is white in order to demonstrate that everyone is the same when training and to emphasis that one is judged on their skills and not on their appearance. It also signifies the ideals of purity, modesty and avoidance of self admiration.
First practiced in the 1940 and 1940s, Taekwondo is a relatively new entrant to the world of Korean martial arts. However, just like all Korean martial arts, Taekwondo goes heavy on symbolism.
Perhaps one of the most prominent of these symbols is the white dobok every Taekwondo practitioner wears. So, why is the uniform in Taekwondo white? Let’s take a look.
The TaeKwondo Uniform
The uniform used in this martial art is known as a ‘dobok’. The dobok is very similar to the doboks worn in other martial arts. It has been designed to be easy to move about in, which also allowing the wearer to be in touch with the essence of the sport.
As a note, not everybody practicing Taekwondo is going to be wearing a white uniform. If you take Taekwondo lessons, it is likely that your instructor will be wearing a different color.
These colors are really meant to help separate groups of Taekwondo practitioners out. There sometime doesn’t seem to be any real standard and the different colors of uniforms can vary from school to school such as ATA and ITF. However, traditionally, especially with the WTF, the uniform has always been white.
Nearly the entire uniform is white. There may be a couple of black bands here and there. You, of course, also have the belt. However, if you see a Taekwondo practitioner, they are pretty much always going to be dressed in white.
The Korean Flag and the TaeKwonDo Uniform
If you look at the dobok for most Korean martial arts, then you will notice that all of them are white with a bit of black on them. There are some people that believe that the design of the dobok was meant to reflect the Korean flag.
Sure, the Korean flag does have a touch of color in the center. However, it is well-known that the white and black part around the flag is meant to symbolize purity. Therefore, it is highly likely that the Taekwondo uniform is meant to reflect this purity.
You will see the Korean’s love of the color white dotted throughout their culture. This includes their national clothes. The color white plays a major role in their culture, and whenever white is used, it is meant to be about being completely pure.
Philosophy of TaeKwonDo
It is highly likely that part of reason the Taekwondo uniform is white is also due to the philosophy behind the sport.
Taekwondo is meant to be a combat and olympic sport that promotes peace around the world. It is meant to be a sport where purity is at the absolute core of the philosophy. The sport also has its roots in religion. Therefore, the white of the uniform could symbolize holiness.
One of the core tenets of Taekwondo is taegeuk. This is part of the religion of the sport. The taegeuk is also represented in the Korean flag. It is the colored circle in the center with the red and blue colors forming a circle. Taegeuk means the joining of opposites.
Since Taekwondo is meant to bring peace to the world, there is a strong chance that the white color could be the opposite of the blackness of evil. Although, this is just a theory.
Although the meaning of why a TaeKwondo uniform is white may seem easy to understand and self evident, the manner in which the significance of the uniform was not easily or haphazardly arrived at.
As I hope I have demonstrated, a white TaeKwondo Uniform means much more than just a combination of the elements of the Korean flag, coupled with the purity of this combat sport.
Remember, Taekwondo is one of only a few martial arts where it is written down that you absolutely must wear a uniform while practicing it. So, no matter the reasons behind the color of the uniform, know that it is incredibly important to the sport.