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Why white?


Why is the uniform white?

Some reasons

When training, Japanese samurai removed their nice silken outer garments and stripped to their white underwear. This may have been the origin of our white uniform since colored fabric would not stand up to the dirty training and frequent harsh washings. This also gives an insight into training without shoes, since shoes were not worn indoors. Jigero Kano may have considered this when choosing the color white for his new judo uniform

Another possible reason for choosing white as the color of the uniform has its roots in martial tradition. A goal of martial arts training is to help us accept our ultimate fate—death. It helps us understand our attachment to the body by helping us abandon the ego through martial art training. Freud said, "The ego is a body."  As human beings, we find it difficult time to get past the egotism of the body and feeling a greater connection to the universe around us. This is evident in virtually every aspect of our lives, such as through the clothes we wear, which are just an extension of the body. We have physical contact with our outer garments and therefore much interconnectedness. When we put on a plain white uniform, bereft of superfluous trim, we are creating an outward sign of our humility and are moving toward the never obtainable perfection that we seek through our martial arts training in the martial arts. As Master Hee Il Cho said, "One can go on forever developing perfection within the framework of the martial arts."

Another reason, cotton is naturally an off-white so don't bother with dying it.

  • Korea Taekwondo Association. Available: [Online]. Available: http://www.koreataekwondo.org/english/english.htm

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