The Martial Arts Discipline of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao was founded by Master Nguyen Loc in 1938. It uses a combination of the traditional martial arts of Vietnam and traditional wrestling. He researched into other martial arts with the intention of combining specific aspects from the other martial arts into one style of martial art that would be suitable for the physical frame of the Vietnamese people, thin, but fast, flexible and enduring. He later named the combined martial art Vovinam. Master Loc grew up in the period when Vietnam was still under the French colonial rule. At that time, young men were either seduced by the French into lusty lives or they joined the revolutionary war against the French.
Master Nguyen Loc believed that the only way to free Vietnam from colonial rule was to train them to have a strong, invincible will for liberty and independence. That will would be produced by a strong body and a rational mind. Carrying that belief, Loc practiced diligently and researched many Vietnamese traditional martial arts as well as many foreign martial arts. Through his research, he found a new discipline of martial arts, which he named “VOVINAM”, understood as the “MARTIAL ARTS OF VIETNAM.” Since 1964, the new title “VIET VO DAO” (“THE PHILOSOPHY OF VIETNAMESE MARTIAL ARTS”) was added to become “VOVINAM-VIET VO DAO.”
In 1960, before passing away, Master Loc promoted his eldest student, Master Le Sang, to Grand Master. Since then, under the leadership of Grand Master Le Sang, Vovinam – Viet Vo Dao became an international martial art with more than one million practitioners from around the world.
The goals of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao are to:
- Preserve and develop the martial arts of Vietnam, applying the “Hard-Soft Co-development”.
- Research and innovate new martial arts’ techniques to improve Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao’s technical resources.
- Train disciples on the Strength, Techniques, and Philosophy
Strength: Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao will train disciples to have a solid body and strong endurance against obstacles and diseases.
Techniques: Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao will train disciples to have practical techniques for self-defense and just causes.
Philosophy: Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao will train disciples to have a rational mind, an invincible will, and a gallant character. Disciples will be living in a self-disciplined and forgiving way and become model citizens, and serve oneself, one’s family, one’s state, and mankind.
To achieve these goals, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao follows five objectives:
- All the functions of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao are based on an established foundation: take Mankind as the end, take Characters as the goals, and take Invincible Will as the means.
- Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao is an extended family, in which disciples love and respect one another. This respect and love will be the discipline of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao, which will help the disciples to unite and honor the uprightness of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao, serving mankind.
- Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao actively participates in the education of young men and women.
- Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao is independent of political and religious influence.
- Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao always respects other disciplines of martial arts.