Dobok is the uniform worn by Korean martial arts practitioners. The word DO is an important word in the martial arts, as it means “correct way.” Eg Taekwondo, Chung Do Kwan, Do Jang. Bok means “clothing.”
Traditional Taekwondo Doboks are the wrap over kind, this is because Koreans believe that the top of the head is very spiritual and an access into the body for energy. Most Asians do not touch each other’s heads. Touching a person’s head is equating to petting a dog, so it is quite insulting, hence the wrap over style.
However, many practitioners wear the V neck style Dobok introduced by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) for sport fighting and this is common place now. Kup grades tend to wear white necked collared doboks whilst Dan Grades wear the black necked. The actual origin of this style of Dobok was based on the design of traditional Korean dress (hanbok) which also has the V neck design.
Your Dobok should be white to symbolise cleanliness and innocence and a willingness to learn. Many schools encourage numerous badges and writing on suits however a traditional Dobok should be all white with minimal extras.
The belt is worn around the dobok with the knot directly over the abdomen. The tkd belt should be reasonably tight and not loose so that only the palm of the hand can slip underneath it. The knot of the belt being over the abdomen is vital and students should learn to breathe into their abdomen and push against the knot of the belt.
The colour of the tae kwon do belt denotes the grade of the student. The order of colour of belts sometimes differs depending on the school however there are generally nine belts from white belt to black belt.
Respect your belt. Black belts should look after their belts. Your belt is a visual image and memory of all the hard work, dedication, sweat, pain, tears, sacrifice and injuries you have gone through to get it. It should mean something to you and you should take good care of it.
Students get their name embroidered on their belts, their club, their grade etc. Really you should only have one black belt, your original, and it should be plain with no writing on at all. High grade black belts often have frayed, whitened belts, this indicates hard training over a long period of time. Always keep your original black belt and see how many years of training it takes to turn white.
Why Your Taekwondo Dobok Is Important
• A clean and smart Dobok represents a disciplined student with an instilled sense of pride.
• The style of your Dobok symbolises your Taekwondo heritage and culture.
• It is crucial that students keep their dobok clean at all times, wear their Dobok and belt correctly and treat them with respect.