Portraits Around the World: The Korean Squat

Every week I post a new portrait, with a short little story to go along with it, that captures the magnificence of people and societies around the world. Sometimes they’re taken in my own backyard, and sometimes they’re captured during my travels. To see more Portraits Around the World, click here.

Have you heard of the Korean squat? No? That’s probably because I just made the phrase up, but there’s no way I believe that I’m the first to use it. It’s quite fascinating to me, and I can never resist bringing it up in conversation. “The ajummas, though, man can they squat,” or “The line was so long, I saw an old man pop a squat for thirty minutes while he waited.”

It looks a little something like this:

Korean Squat

Many a foreigner has tried to perfect the Korean squat, but man is it hard. Korean kids are the butt of a joke if they can’t do it! The military even came up with a fabulous phrase of it’s own to describe it, which Urban Dictionary so graciously keeps in it’s archives: The Kimchi Squat.

To do it right, you’ll have to plant both feet on the ground, the same way you would for downward facing dog in yoga class (if you’re more flexible than I am, that is).

Duryu Park

What’s the verdict? Can you do the Korean squat? Leave me a comment below!

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  1. Jerry Bauer
    July 17, 2015

    I find the “Korean squat” very interesting as this same posture was very common in rural USA during the 50’s-60’s when I was growing up. You don’t see this in the USA today, but in those days any good farmer could do this squat. I only remember men doing this, no women. The taller and longer the legs the easier it seemed. I remember one person, Mr. Simpkins did this squat very frequently (wiht his butt almost touching the gruond), in fact I don’t even remember seeing him sitting in a chair, but I remember seeing him often in this squat position. My grandfather was very good at this also. More common in the summer around the hay baling season when it was hot and there was down time when the machines broke down.

    I don’t recall seeing city people doing this squat, just more rural people and farmers.

  2. […] squatting position, whether they are selling fruit in a market or just resting. Koreans are pretty amazing at squatting! They do it beautifully, on flat feet and with perfect balance. If the position is that natural to […]

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