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I am a martial artist, and for years I have had what I thought were the Korean symbols for Grace, Power and Precision put on my belts. Recently, our Grandmaster (Native born Korean) did me the honor of doing this in calligraphy, and I noticed that my older belt does not match my current belt, which does not match the calligraphy.

Is there an explanation for this, and do my belts not say what I think they do?

Calligraphy

enter image description here

Old belt

enter image description here

New Belt

enter image description here

  • Are these taekwondo belts? – topo morto Aug 10 '16 at 8:02
  • @topomorto - Yes, the older one is my 4th degree belt and the newer one is my 5th degree. – JohnP Aug 10 '16 at 14:05
  • Why do you think they have to match in the first place? – user7 Aug 10 '16 at 15:39
  • @Rathony - Obviously, I don't know anything about Korean language. – JohnP Aug 10 '16 at 16:15
  • @Rathony - I should amend that. I know basic counting and terminology. But knowing how to say sparring in Korean is not the same thing as being able to read/write it. – JohnP Aug 10 '16 at 17:20
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The first picture contains these 3 words written in Hanja (Chinese characters, which were traditionally used to write Korean and are still used sometimes for style) and the second and third are written in the Hangeul script. The calligraphy writes the 3 words in a different order than the belts, and the two belts use different Korean words to translate these concepts:

First picture:

正確 = 정확 = precision

優雅 = 우아 = grace, elegance

力 = 력 (역) (not usually used by itself, except in Hanja form) = power

Second picture:

품위 = dignity, grace

힘 = strength, power

명확 = clearness, precision

Third picture:

은혜 = grace

힘 = strength, power

정밀 = precision, accuracy

  • 명확 is closer to clearness than precision. – user7 Aug 10 '16 at 8:38
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BTW, 은혜 is grace as in grace of God. It generally means a huge favor or act of kindness, by someone much higher than you (say, a god or a king).

It does not mean grace as in a graceful motion, so that part might be a mistranslation, unless you're going to a Christian Taekwondo school. :P

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