The word ‘globalisation’ and its definition have been discussed and researched by many different theorists globally. There have been attempts to derive a clear-cut definition of the topic, but there is still not universally agreed understanding of it. Giddens (1999) argues that we should consider the aspects of politics technology, culture and communication as well as economics when we consider globalisation. He also claims that globalization works in multiple directions, and it is not only a movement form the west to the rest of the world. This paper will discuss Giddens’ concept of globalisation, and then go on to show how his ideas can help to understand globalisation in world, especially in sports culture. In particular, there will be an analysis of the globalisation of the Korean martial art ‘Tae Kwon Do’.
The entire human life encompasses diverse activities which have undergone tremendous transformation as a result of globalization. Every sector including financial and communication has witnessed changes which define what they are today. It is important to note that life would not have been the way it is without globalization. People are able to send money to any destination at the click of the mouse. Information technology has grown to a level that transmission of information is so advanced making the world to be a global village. Internet connectivity has augmented communication throughout the world. Globalization has played a major role in creating new levels of economic performance across nations (Tiplady, 2003). Many experts argue that globalization has been augmented by a number of factors including economic influences especially in the financial market where competition has continually been witnessed. These factors which promote globalization are not natural forces but they have been shaped by cultural diffusion and technology. Moreover, several governments and leaders have played a significant role in setting the pace for globalization.
As mentioned before, globalization usually involves all aspects of human life including culture and social life. It is true that the manner in which people live and interact as social beings continues to change day and night. As our attention converges to global changes and prospects of how life will be several years to come, many wonder whether or not sporting activities have felt the effect of globalization (Boudreaux, 2008). Is there any sign to indicate that football, athletics, Baseball or tennis has changed with time? Although it might not be quite evident, there are significant advances which have been realized in sports. These range from improved rules, introduction of new games and the use of advanced technology among others. Sporting activities have generally undergone imperative transformations with regard to globalization. From the recently concluded soccer world cup competition, it was evident that the world of sports has changed. One of the areas in which massive change has occurred concerns communication of the referees and his assistants using computerized communication gadgets. This is aimed at ensuring fairness during decision making.
Is it true that football is a global sport? It is one of the most preferred games in the world registering the highest number of fans. Be it in Asia, Africa, Europe or America, football is regarded as the main sporting activity. It is also evident that many teams have continued to surprise the world in their football performance. For instance, Spain made history in South Africa after winning the world cup. The Ghanaian team from Africa also exhibited outstanding performance yet it was its second appearance in the tournament. The Republic of Korea also shocked the world in 2002 after thrashing several European countries, a season that saw Italy lift the cup. Many companies like Nike and Adidas have played a mega part in sponsoring these activities (Cho, 2008.). This has seen several players rise to different levels of excellence. Even as the world enjoys advancements in sports and in other aspects of life, history will always remind us where we have come from. Like many other countries, Korea is one of the countries which have undergone manifold transformation with regard to sporting activities like Soccer and baseball.
Football and Baseball in Korea
Football has emerged the most popular sport in the world since its international diffusion by the British towards the end of the 19th century. There are over 250 million people around the world who have interests in the game with the world cup tournament attracting billions of fans globally. The world soccer governing body, FIFA has remained steadfast in maintaining world-class standards through rules which define the overall shape of the game. It can be argued that football is a tool which can be used to measure globalization. With fans all over the world, football has developed mechanisms which make it remain at the top of the list as the world game. It is clear to understand that globalization has not imposed itself on football. Soccer has been seen by many to posses some advantages like the simplicity of its rules unlike others like rugby and cricket which have complex rules and guidelines (Giulianotti & Robertson, 2004). The game does not manifest extreme British imperialism and is relatively cheap since materials used in the manufacture of balls are cheap and readily available. Media coverage and the internet have also contributed to the globalization of the game which was initially seen as a Western game.
Football in Korea has always been moving from one level to the other. There is a huge difference in the current Korean football as compared to what it was several years. During the 1968 Olympic competitions, the status of Korea was completely pre-modern. This was due to political and economical pressures which were being exerted on a nation which has a current promising soccer life. It was during this time that Korea was under military and authoritarian governance with a poor performing economy. Soccer completely lost meaning with the Korean authority using competition events to divert the attention of citizens from dictatorship. North Korean teams were also the target for many sporting activities to embarrass them. Soccer was mainly a test for physical power as was well enshrined in the Korean slogan ‘Physical strength is national power’. The economy of South Korea was so weak that vey few households managed to watch TV broadcast for the 1968 Olympic. The country had very few journalists and mainly depended on global news agencies. Poverty among majority of Koreans denied them an opportunity to find leisure time to be spent watching football. Media coverage during the event was not up to date since it mainly concentrated on the enemies of South Korea who were the North Koreans. Many newspapers focused on the national flag and never featured best athletes who broke world records during the event. The country continued to improve in terms of economy and poverty reduction. The 1984 Olympic games witnessed a significance change in Korean teams although the country was still under military rule. There were several people who owned television with a good number of cars registered under private names. These were true indicators that the country was growing. In addition, the 2000 Olympic Games saw the Korean media focus mainly soccer and baseball which emerged as better performed games (Giulianotti & Robertson, 2004).
Similarly, Baseball is one of the games in Korea which have undergone momentous transformation. The Korean Baseball League was mainly used to divert political attention and construct state nationalism. The Major Baseball League is also remembered for promoting alternative leadership through the intervention of IMF. The launching of these leagues was however affected by the fact that Korea was never stable. There was political tension caused by militaristic leadership and presidency (Cho, 2008). KBO was founded in 1982 and is currently the leading league in the Republic of Korea. The league has eight teams was hit by a major scandal in the 2004 leading to the suspension of 55 players for dodging military service by manipulating urine tests. KBO is a member of IBAF-International Baseball Federation which manages activities like Asian Games, Olympics and Baseball classics.
It is clear that both Baseball and soccer have undergone significant development from the time the games were adopted in Korea. However, the process was hit by a number of serious issues like political imbalance and dictatorship. The two games were mainly used to divert the political attention of many Koreans who were not satisfied by militaristic governance. This development can be viewed as globalization models with Koreans having realized commendable advancement in technology and broadcasting. Contrary to this, the world has in recent past witnessed the global rise and spread of 'Taekwondo'. The martial arts game has continued to experience global acceptance since 1973 when the World Taekwondo Federation was formed. It is believed that the game has achieved a lot more than what other games have achieved in the last one hundred years. The game mainly involves the mind and the body and is also acceptable as a way of cutting body weight and maintaining physical fitness. The game has continued to grow showing signs of future developments. It has introduced Taekwondo Dance, Taekwondo Aerobics and Taekwondo Fan Dance which have been highly accepted (The Globalization of Taekwondo).
There is enough evidence that taekwondo will continue uniting many world citizens in the brotherhood spirit. As one of the best martial sports in the world, taekwondo has turned out to model people’s character. Is the growth of taekwondo to becoming a global sporting activity a form of reverse globalization? Based on the origin of football, baseball and many other discoveries, it is enough to say that globalization was initiated by western countries. This has been welcomed by everybody due to improved technology and general efficacy. With this in mind, it could also be argued that the spread of Taekwondo to becoming a global game is a reverse globalization since the game has been accepted all over the world including Britain, US and even in Africa.