The Meaning of The Korean Flag

If you are a new white belt at Integrity Martial Arts, Mr. Frost has given you a brand new uniform (dobok) with patches for the sleeves. One of those patches is the Korean flag and just as our American flag is full of meaning, so is the Korean flag. Below is an explanation of the Korean flag and the meaning behind the design.

The Korean flag is called “Taeguk-ki”


The name for Korea in Korean is “Hangeuk”. You green belts will recognize this as your form is Hangeuk Form. The form is performed to the Korean National Anthem “Aeguk Ka.”

Just like our American flag, there is a theme to the Korean flag. The colors and shapes all have specific meanings. The main theme of the flag is that although there is constant movement within the sphere of infinity, there is also balance and harmony.

The flag consists of three parts: a white field (or background), a red and blue circle in the center of the flag (containing a “yin-yang” like symbol), and four black trigrams sorrounding the circle in each of the four corners of the flag.

The circle in the center is called “Taeguk” and means the origin of all things in the universe. The red and blue within the circle represent eternal duality (heaven-earth, fire-water, good-evil, male- female, dark-light, life-death). The blue portion of the circle is called “um” and represents the negative aspects of this duality; the red
portion of the circle is called “yang” and represents the positive aspects. “Um-yang” is the Korean equivalent of “yin-yang”.

The four black trigrams symbolize the idea of opposites and of balance. The trigrams

  • heaven (upper-left) and at the other corner earth,
  • water (upper-right) and at the other corner fire.

Looking at symbols of the trigrams, you can see that they are opposites as well. Three unbroken bars (heaven) vs. three broken bars (earth), etc. Just so you can put it all together in a visual way, which is always helpful to me, wblow is a graphic for you to see it all  put together.

korean flag