About Korea > Customs and Traditions

Traditional Sports


Traditional Sports

Cheongdo So Ssa-eum - 청도소싸움축제 (Bull Fighting) differs from Spanish bull fighting, which pits man against bull, in that it's  bull vs. bull. Two bulls butt heads and try to push each other backwards. The first bull to back off loses.

Hapkido - 합기도(also spelled hap ki do or hapki-do) is a dynamic and eclectic Korean martial art that employs joint locks, pressure points, kicks and other strikes. Hapkido practitioners train to counter the techniques of other martial arts as well as common "unskilled" attacks. There is also a range of traditional weapons including short stick, cane, rope, sword and staff which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined. Although hapkido contains both long and close range fighting techniques, the purpose of most engagements is to get near for a close strike, lock, or throw. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.

Taekwondo - 태권도 is now an Olympics event. Although believed by many to be a traditional Korean sport, it actually came into existance during the late 1940s, as then President Syngman Rhee decided that Korea should have a national sport. However, it is derived from taekkyon, which is an ancient martial art.

Jul T'agi - 줄 타 기(Rope Walking) was often taught from one generationo to the other. Rather than simply walk from one end of the rope to the other, Korean tightrope walkers jump up and down, do somersaults, and tell jokes to the audience.

Ssireum - 씨름 Wrestling (also spelled Sirum is the national sport of Korea. In the modern form each contestant wears a belt that wraps around the waist and the thigh. The competition employs a series of techniques, which inflict little harm or injury to the opponent: opponents lock on to each other's belt, and one achieves victory by bringing any part of the opponent's body above the knee to the ground. The match is played out in a sandy ring, similarly to Japanese sumo wrestling.
Korea Ssireum Association (대한씨름협회 - Daehan Ssireum Hyeophoe). Address: 424 Olympic-ro (Oryun-dong), 408 Olympic Center, Songpa-gu, Seoul. Tel: 02-420-4256~7 / Fax: 02-421-1346.

NOTE: For more information on traditional martial arts, see the K4E Martial Arts page (click here or type martial arts in the search box). Videos of some of the traditional sports can also be seen through the K4E video section (K4E home page).

K4E Editor: Korea4Expats want to provide the most accurate and complete information possible, so if you notice an error or omission in the contents above, please contact us at info@korea4expats.com.

Image Source - Ssireum

Last Updated on 2013-12-12


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