Uniforms are common issue in most martial arts. In Tae Kwon Do they are called ‘dobok’, in Karate, they are called ‘gi’. The tradition of uniforms goes back as far as the style itself. Uniforms offer a variety of benefit to the student training.
The uniform does exactly what its name suggests. It enables ‘uniformity’ to the members of the school. The uniform eliminates all perception of levels of class or socio-economic differences. Everyone wearing the uniform is equal to each other. There are no barriers based on nationality, gender, age, or wealth. All student are the same, or uniform. Many times the uniform is white, thus representing purity. The only significant representation of relative levels among the students are represented by the color of the belt they wear on their uniform.
The Martial Arts are based on military practices. This includes the wearing of a uniform that represents where the student (or soldier) is from. The Dobok / Gi or uniform represent the school or Kwan that the individual is from. It is worn with pride for the martial art style and the lineage of their training.
Uniforms are filled with symbolism which is very meaningful to the person wearing the uniform. As a student achieves certain levels in training, the uniform is often used to represent these achievements. The most obvious representation of achievement are the belt colors. There are also other adornments such as patches that might represent achievements or members of a demonstration team. At black belt level, often the white uniform is allowed to have black stripe lining the collar and/or pant legs.
Schools differ in terms of symbolisms represented on the uniform, but, the in all schools, fact remains, that the uniform is a common denominator to all students. It is worn as a symbol of the persons achievements within the school and is worn with pride and confidence.
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