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Beckham turns into Oriental mystic

August 02, 2004 14:00 IST
In the movie 'Shaolin Soccer' a bunch of down-at-heel Hong Kong footballers call on the spirit of Oriental mysticism, and a little bit of kung-fu, to overcome their arch-rivals.

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before David Beckham headed down the same road. The latest talisman for his journey into Eastern mysticism is a new pair of boots.

Or to be more precise, 723 new pairs of boots.

Last week the England captain unveiled the David Beckham Limited Edition Predator Pulse boots in Tokyo.

Only 723 pairs will be sold around the world, at a price of 723 euros ($870). The figure 723 is a somewhat less divine combination of his England and Real Madrid shirt numbers. The boots are only available in British size 9, Beckham's size.

Each pair will come in a wooden box inspired, according to adidas PR boss Thomas Schaikvan, by an Asian shrine and accompanied by a booklet designed with an Asian flavor.

"There are quotes from Confucius in the packaging and the history of David's football career is described in the booklet," Schaikvan informed the spellbound Japanese press.

He described the silver and red shoes as Beckham's "yin and yang boots" and said they were inspired by the sight of a Japanese boy wearing a pair of odd-coloured adidas boots.

The boy's shoes, one red and one blue, are the colours that make up the central yin and

yang symbol on South Korea's flag.

Maybe the boy was Korean.


Beckham looked overwhelmed by the flow of ancient qi -- the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things -- that was emanating from the boots.

His disciples waited for a sign, and then the master spoke.

"I think the box is very special," Beckham philosophised.

"Everything that comes with the boots is very special but to have the yin...and the yang effect in the boots I think makes it extra special, not just for me but, obviously, in Japan."

A country where, he hesitated to tell us, most people spend a good part of their days talking about Chinese philosophy, the I Ching, the Tao and one's inner conflict.

Therein lies a problem. According to Taoist philosophy, the yin and yang are the two fundamental elements in the universe. But they are opposites and they act in conflict.

So, for example, just as you're about to take a penalty, it is possible that your 'yin' boot will come into conflict with your 'yang' boot and send the ball flying over Portugal's bar.

Confucius may have said, "That's a lot of mumbo-jumbo," but the next time Beckham misses a penalty, he can at least blame his conflicting yin-yang boots.

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