Also referred to as “Vo Viet Nam” is a Southeast Asian martial art form known as Vovinam. This “hybrid” combat form is said to have originated from Vietnam, and is mainly practiced without the use of weapons. Apparently, it is based on a philosophy of “yin and yang” which includes the simultaneous training of the mind as well as the body. Furthermore, apart from the use of striking techniques this combat form also makes use of weapons. In addition, this martial art form also comprises of ten principles, and they are as follows:
- Vovinam’s disciples vow to pursue high proficiency in their martial art in order to serve the people and humanity.
- Promise to be faithful to the intentions and teaching of Vovinam and develop the young generation of Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao.
- Be united in spirit and heart, respect one’s elder, be kind to one’s peers.
- Respect discipline absolutely, maintain the high standard of personal conduct and honour of a martial art disciple.
- Have respect for other martial art schools, only use martial art skills for self-defense and protect justice.
- Be studious, strengthen the mind, enrich one’s thought & behavior.
- Live simply, with chastity, loyalty, high principles and ethics.
- Build up a spirit of steely determination and vigor, overcome powers of violence.
- Make intelligent judgments, carry out struggles with perseverance and act with alertness.
- Be self confident, self controlled, modest, and generous.
a. History/origin of Vovinam:
According to the cultural history of Vietnam, Vovinam was created by grandmaster Nguyen Loc in the year 1938. Apparently, Loc believed that development of martial arts would help the Vietnamese people achieve freedom from the colonial rule of the French. And so he fused elements belonging to kung fu and other traditional Vietnamese combat forms to develop Vovinam. In addition, Loc also wanted to provide Vietnamese martial art practitioners with an extremely efficient and effective system that could be learnt in a short period of time.
b. Weapon used in the Vovinam:
The weapon mainly used in this combat form is the “hands and legs of the fighter. In addition, weapons such as sword, axe, staff, and folding fan are also used in this martial art form.
c. Technique involved in the Vovinam and training availability:
In terms of technique, “striking and grappling” is mainly used by a fighter to overcome an opponent. Furthermore, moves such as punching, kicking and wrestling is mainly used by the fighter in this form of combat. In addition, a move such as elbow striking is also used in this martial art form. As for training centers/schools, there are a few available especially in Vietnam for those interested in learning this “hybrid” martial art style.