Why are our doboks white, blue and black?

Back in the year 2000 I was very fortunate to not only be able to arrange for Sahjonim to come to Wales to do a seminar for the Welsh choi kwang do students, but also got to spend a few days sightseeing with him and also to ask him many different questions.

Back then we hadn’t long changed our dobok colours so an assistant instructor was all in blue and chief instructor was in black.

It was while having an Indian meal with Sahjonim that i was able to ask him why we had the the colours of dobok for each level.

His answer was one i didn’t expect. And it really hit home for me just how much thought had gone into every little detail of choi kwang do without us even realising it.

I honestly expected his reply to be along the lines of, we needed to make instructors stand out more (as back then all instructors wore white dobok tops) and that he liked those colours.

I was wrong. And i got a pretty detailed explanation of why we have the three colours.

White was pretty self explanatory. It represents a blank canvas, ready to learn, ready to start on the journey of growing and experiencing the art of choi kwang do.

Blue, he explained was chosen for assistant instructors as by taking that first step to being an instructor, you start to have more depth to your knowledge from teaching , similar to the ocean, it starts off clear but when it gets deeper the sea turns darker blue.

Black was the perfect colour for chief instructors when i learned what it represented. In Korean culture, black is a colour to represent humbleness and humility. I think all potential chief instructors should know the significance of this.

When you become an instructor and put on the black dobok you have a large responsibility to your class and students. Unfortunately a black suit can lead to some falling into a spiral of ego. They can start to think as they teach, they no longer have anything to learn and that is so far from the truth.

I’ve learned more about Choi Kwang Do and myself the longer I’ve been in black and I’m still learning and still improving after almost a quarter of a century of being in this art.

It’s very easy to succumb to ego when you don the black suit or get a black belt and unfortunately I’ve seen it happen many a time. And its not unique to choi kwang do. Having large groups of other adults and instructors calling you sir, listening to your every word can make the ego grow if you let it.

So if you are one of the privileged few lucky enough to wear a black dobok, do so with a humble attitude. Serve your students the best you can and always remember you can improve, you can grow more. Your students deserve it and so do you . Stay humble and you will always be on the right path, where you can continuously strive to improve.

I hope you enjoy this article. If you are interested in Choi Kwang Do classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age. We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.

If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://choikwangdo.com/locations.html where you can find the nearest location to you. Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.

If you are already an instructor in another Martial Art and you would be interested in converting to Choi Kwang Do please go to http://choikwangdo.com/school-conversion.html or contact them by email at ckd@choikwangdo.com and let them know you found them through Master Millers blog.


Dale Miller

Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.


5 thoughts on “Why are our doboks white, blue and black?

  1. I couldn’t agree more. The more I know the more I need to know. Learning CKD and going through the ranks was described to me once as first of all holding the pencil. Then learning to write each letter. Moving on to form sentences. None of us have written our own prose but a few have begun the thought process. you Dale are an inspiration to your students and I wish I had started my journey with you as my instructor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When receiving my school owner’s training with Master Brophy he said that the first black belt is only the start of the journey. When I asked what the colour belts were for, he said “Theryy are the preparation for the start of the journey”. Profound and correct. I continue to learn more since becoming aChief instructor and I hope that I continue to improve. I certainly learn so much from my students. Sahjonim is very wise.


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