Vovinam Viet Vo Dao – Vietnamese Martial Arts

Patrick MüskerOff topic, Uncategorized2 Comments

Vovinam Viet Vo Dao – Vietnamese Martial Arts

The most well-known martial arts come from Asian countries like Japan, China and Korea. But what about the rather small representatives of Asia? Have they also been able to develop martial arts in the shadow of their great representatives throughout their history?

Thailand, for example, is the home of Muay Thai, which has become popular in particular through the film Ong Bak. The focus in this article, however, should fall on Vietnam, which also developed interesting martial arts. One of them is Vovinam Viet Vo Dao.

What is Vovinam Viet Vo Dao

Vovinam Viet Vo Dao is a traditional Vietnamese martial art for defense with training with and without weapons. Like some martial arts, it follows the principle of harmony between hard and soft. The principle is based on the teachings of Yin (negative) and Yang (positive). This martial art prefers neither the negative / hard nor the positive / soft, but uses them both equally. Viet is translated with Vietnam, Vo with martial arts and Dao with „The Principle“, „The Way“.

The techniques are manifold and include hand and elbow techniques, kicks, foot sweeps, throws and leverage techniques. Particularly characteristic is the leg scissors to the head to bring down the opponent or to tear him down. There are also attack and defense techniques, escape techniques, forms, free fight and traditional wrestling. Experienced and advanced students of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao learn how to handle traditional weapons such as the long stick, knife, sword, saber, halberd and ax.

It’s history

Grandmaster Ngyuen Loc officially introduced his martial art Vovinam in 1938. In his youth, he trained various traditional Vietnamese martial arts. He grew up during the French colonial era and was a well-read young man. He was interested in art, history, philosophy and religion, all of which influenced his new martial arts.

Due to the oppression he was very patriotic and designed Vovinam primarily for Vietnamese and to strengthen their own people. He adapted the manifold techniques to the Vietnamese physique and growth. As a result, small, agile and agile movements emerged. The art spread at the beginning mainly by Vietnamese refugees who lived in France. Today, the World Vovinam Viet Vo Dao Federation (WVVF) represents traditional Vietnamese martial arts.

Belt colors

There is a total of four belt colors in Vovinam. At the beginning is the color blue, followed by yellow and red. Masters wear the color white, which stands in contrast to the black master color of other martial arts. However, a philosophy is also reflected behind this color scheme. The student evolves on his way and masters the art of the exterior (the blue suit, the „yellow“ skin, the red blood and the white bones) inside. The bones symbolize the depth and the spirit. So if you have a white belt in front of you, he is not necessarily a beginner.

Here is a video of a spectacular demonstration that leaves an impression of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao.


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2 Comments on “Vovinam Viet Vo Dao – Vietnamese Martial Arts”

  1. Thank you for this pretty interesting insight into a martial art which i’ve never heard of yet. Do you know what the traditional Vietnamese martial arts trained by Mr. Nguyen were? I’m asking because I am curious how old the martial arts tradition in Vietnam is.

    1. Hello Mario,
      thanks for your comment. It is said, that Mr. Ngyuen practised different traditional vietnamese martial arts and wrestling. The wrestling style he studied was a kind of familial wrestling stlye, but he didn’t remain satisfied with this legacy. Therefore he was interested in learning other stlyes. Although it is difficult to name the traditional vietnamese martial arts due to imprecise records, you have to imagine that they are similar to other asian martial arts like Karate, Kungfu, Qigong etc. The influence of those tradtional martial arts from the neighbor countries was very high during the past.

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