'Karate' Suits Inflame Taekwondo Lovers

    August 01, 2007 11:33

    A promotional brochure for a new Taekwondo park has sparked patriotic ire since the child models in the North Jeolla Province publication are wearing what appear to be karate suits.

    The first glimmer of controversy appears to be a posting on the website of the North Jeolla provincial government titled, "Brochure for the Taekwondo park, a shame." There, a devotee of the Korean martial art pointed out, "The models wear karate suits, their belts are tied improperly, and what is worse, there is no green belt in Taekwondo. This brochure is a waste of money. How could you administer the Taekwondo park without being able to distinguish the Taekwondo suit from the karate suit. Will you promote the spirit and culture of Korea in a brochure with kimono-clad models?"

    In the brochure, five foreign girls and boys are seen smiling, wearing white suits with belts in red, violet, green, orange and yellow. The suit does indeed look like those worn for the traditional martial art of Korea’s arch-rival Japan: the top is a jacket rather than a pullover, and the neckline is just white, unlike that of the original Taekwondo suit, which is black or red or both. But the suit is in fact a new design adopted in hopes of improving the popularity of the sport.

    Still, the “improved” suit is so similar to a karate suit as to smack of capitulation. Now there are calls for proper standards for Taekwondo suits to be drawn up.

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