Intelligence-promoting Folk Game Paduk
Paduk is one of the long-standing folk games widely encouraged among the Korean people from ancient times.
Originally, it was a simple game like kkoni, and it was developed in relation with the Korean ancestors’ outlook on the universe. At that time they believed that the sky was round and the earth was square. So the flat paduk board meant the earth, its four sides, four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter), and the 361 intersecting points of vertical and horizontal lines on the board, one year.
Chonwonjom in the centre of the board was also named thus as they thought the earth was the centre of the space. And the round shape of the paduk pieces was symbolic of the round space and the white and black colours of the pieces meant the day and night respectively.
Paduk was widespread in the Middle Age as well as in the ancient times.
According to Samguksagi (Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms compiled in 1145), Torim, a monk of Koguryo Kingdom (277 BC–AD 668) weakened the national power of Pakje (late first century BC–AD 660) by taking advantage of paduk, rendering service to the great cause of his country for territorial integration.
According to the records of Koryosa (History of Koryo), those who were good at playing paduk during the Koryo dynasty (918–1392) were referred to as Kuksu, or national treasure, and some talented people went to other countries for away games in the mid-13th century.
In the period of the feudal Joson dynasty (1392–1910), the public interest in paduk grew further.
It had been widely disseminated among the privileged classes, not among the commoners. It once gathered dust owing to the vicious moves of the Japanese imperialists to obliterate the national culture of Korea during their military occupation of the country. After the country’s liberation (August 15, 1945), paduk started to be widely disseminated again, and now it is a folk sporting event and popular intelligence-promoting game.
As it has innumerable tricks and moves, it is regarded as one of the best activities for cultivating intelligence of people.
For this reason many military commanders cultivated their wisdom and drew up strategies and tactics while playing paduk in the past.
The game is now widely encouraged among the people.
National and regional paduk contests are held regularly in the DPRK.
The paduk houses in Pyongyang and provincial seats and paduk circles in the extracurricular education bases for youth and children are the hubs where many people, including youth and children, learn knowledge and skills of paduk.
Amid the growing social interest in paduk, many kindergartens are now offering paduk classes.