Toe Balk / Uniform
The Tang Soo Do uniform is called a "toe balk." Like everything else in Tang Soo Do, it is steeped in tradition and history. The toe balk consists of a jacket, trousers, and belt. It is derived from the traditional Korean clothing called "hanbok."
Reasons for Wearing the Toe Balk:
-It instills pride in the student as a practitioner of Tang Soo Do.
-It identifies the degree of skill that the wearer has attained.
-The style of the toe balk is symbolic of Tang Soo Do's heritage and tradition.
-Rank levels indicated by belt color create incentive while preserving humility.
-It is very practical and healthy.
-It distinguishes Tang Soo Do practitioners from other martial arts.
Traditional toe balks were all white in color to symbolize oneness with the universe "han." The toe balks have an open jacket that overlaps in the front from left to right. Some Korean Karate organizations have adopted a V-neck, pull-over style jacket. Some organizations have adopted different color schemes to differentiate between the color belt ranks, dan ranks, and instructor status. The toe balk is not only for wear during Tang Soo Do training, it is the required uniform for competition in tournaments.
Students should keep their toe balks clean, ironed, and in good repair. They should wear it with pride, proper respect, and etiquette.
Higher rank students (mostly Black Belts) often prefer to wear heavier uniforms which are made of heavy drill cotton or canvas. These uniforms last longer, often look better, and also provide more of a "snap" sound when executing punches and kicks. It is also a common practice is to starch the uniform, in particular the sleeves from the elbow down and the pants from the knee down.
Many tournament competitors also favor longer jackets and belts to further their chances of impressing the judges. The idea is that when they are performing low stances, the longer belt and jacket give the appearance of being lower to the ground.