What is a uniform (do bok) and how should it be treated?

by Peter D Sorce

The uniform (do bok) is symbolic to Tae Kwon Do heritage and tradition. Students are expected to keep it neat, clean, and treat it with the respect owed to his/her art. The dobok should only be worn when practicing or performing Tae Kwon-Do, it should not be worn anytime else. Now since many children would like to change at home rather than at the Do-jang, they are to change right before they leave the house and take it off as soon as they return home. The belt has even further requirements, as for it is a symbol of the hard work and dedication a student has put into his/her own training. When changing at home, the belt is not to be put on until they are inside the Do-jang and it is to be taken off before they leave. It would be considered disrespectful to wear the dobok to the store, bank, and for children, outside playing, even if it were for only a few minutes before leaving for Tae Kwon Do. Really, the belt should be taken off when getting a drink of water, eating at tournaments, and when just waiting at the Do-jang in the guest area. These rules are not only based on tradition, but also to teach how to show respect and how to be humble.

One additional note: When wearing your uniform, it is important to remember that you are representing your school, classmates, instructors, and most importantly the art of Tae Kwon Do. Nothing can do worse for a school’s image than students who are goofing around, playing, and being disrespectful in their uniforms whether it is at McDonalds, the YMCA, tournaments, or out in the street. I have seen all of these instances on several occasions. It is up to the instructors to make clear to their students the extreme importance of how they treat their uniform and how they should act when they are in it.