4. Achievements: "No warrior ever fights alone..."

"No warrior ever fights alone," the King said, "and neither did these two fighters. However great their skills, they could not have achieved what they did today without help." - Chapter 16, The Kite Fighters

After the end of the tournament, the king not only honors the efforts of the winning kite fighters, but also recognizes and honors the kite makers. Although Young-sup was the one to fly the kite and win the competition, it was all possible because of those who helped him along the way. The King helped him practice and suggested the use of the blue line. Kite Seller Chung and his father gave him advice and guidance. And his older brother constructed the magnificent kite, came up with the idea for the pottery powder, and supported him all along the way.

What is an accomplishment you are proud of, and who helped you along the way? Or, what goal are you working towards, and who is helping you to achieve it?

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3. Integrity

"Is this invention within the rules? Yes. There is nothing that forbids it...But there is a more difficult question. From what you have told me, it is clearly a great advantage-perhaps too great...It is you yourself, and your brother, who must decide if it is honorable." -Chapter 11

In chapter eleven Kee-sup has the clever idea of coating the kite line with powdered pottery. This invention makes it easier to cut the line of an opponent to win a match. They are not sure if this will be allowed in the competition so they turn to Kite Seller Chung. Kite Seller Chung tells them it is not against the rules, but that they have to decide for themselves if it is honorable.

What do you think, should Kee-sup and Young-sup use the pottery line in the competition? Why or why not? How would you feel if the brothers used this special line in a match against you?

2. Honorifics: "Young-sup was horrified. Talk to the King like a brother?"

In chapter seven Young-sup is commanded by the King to talk to him as if they were brothers. But for Young-sup this is a very uncomfortable command to follow because in Korea, even today, you speak to people differently depending on their age, seniority in relation to yours, and their job position. You may speak informally with people your same age and to those younger, but to show respect you use a formal way of speaking (honorifics) when talking to those who are older or who hold a higher position. 

For example here are three different ways to say “hello”: 

Anyong Ha Shim Neeka:

Highest degree of formality, used at Taekwondo Way, in the military, to the president, etc.

Anyong Ha Seyo: 

Respectful, friendly, spoken to those who are older, to strangers, teachers, etc., it’s the most common form of hello

Anyong:

Informal, spoken to those who are close friends or younger than you

In your life is there someone you speak to in a more respectful manner? What words do you use to show respect, what body language do you use? Do you speak the same way to your siblings, parents, and grandparents? Do you speak the same way to your classmates and teachers, to your coworkers and boss? School will be starting in less than a month, how you can demonstrate respect towards your teachers and principles?  

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1. Tok-gabi (Dokkaebi)

At the end of chapter one Kee-sup cannot fly his kite successfully. His younger brother, Young-sup, jokes that there must be a tok-gabi on his kite making it crash. A tok-gabi is a fictional character from Korean folklore that likes to play practical jokes, who rewards good people, and who creates havoc for bad people. 

Have you ever had a comical accident, lost something, or had other bad luck that could have been "caused" by a mischievous tok-gabi?

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