09/03/2018 15:15 GMT+7 print

Lac Viet Vo dao – A combination of martial arts and traditional medicine

Lac Viet Vo dao, a Vietnamese traditional martial art which is a collection of defense techniques in combination with traditional medicine to improve health, has become popular for Vietnamese over the last few years. The martial art is sponsored by UNESCO to be preserved and passed on to future generations.

Lac Viet Vo dao  selects the essence of traditional martial arts with more than 50 basic barehanded forms, exercises demonstrating  movements of animals, and weapon-based forms, including spears, halberds, staffs  and swords. It also has high-level forms and counter exercises and qigong exercises combined with traditional medicine.

Compared with other martial arts styles, Lac Viet Vo dao is practical with short but firm hand techniques which focus on the rival’s weaknesses without revealing one’s own weaknesses to be attacked.  Exercises of Lac Viet Vo dao are systematic and scientific, which not only help improve the health of practitioners but also have positive psychological impacts on them.

Most followers of Lac Viet Vo dao say their moods change in a positive manner after a time practicing the martial art. They are no longer hot-headed and quick-tempered but become calmer, more patient and tolerant. Those having practiced Lac Viet Vo dao for a long time not only become superior martial artists but their character is imbued with forbearance.

Instructors from Lac Viet Vo dao’s 64 schools in a performance festival in 2017. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

 Master Nguyen Thanh Chung gives souvenir flags to martial arts schools at the 2017 performance festival.
Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Lac Viet Vo dao has become a spiritual sect for Vietnamese, which combines martial arts
with traditional medicine. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Lac Viet Vo dao allows its practitioners to develop physically and spiritually, which is the reason behind its formation and development. People with different health issues and those doing different jobs may all utilize Lac Viet Vo dao which is suitable to their actual conditions. After three months of practice, a person can reach the basic level.

Lac Viet Vo dao was founded in 2010 by master Nguyen Thanh Chung, who has been involved in the martial arts for more than 30 years. Chung is also a member of the International Warrior Martial Arts Association. Since 1995, Chung has been working with the Security Academy and the People’s Police Academy in training policemen in martial arts techniques to deal with criminals.

In 2005,  Nguyen Thanh Chung was invited to a seminar  by the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation in Turin, Italy, to introduce Vietnamese martial arts where he found that the international community has a major interest in Vietnamese martial arts.

This motivated Chung and his associates at Lac Viet Vo dao to expand the martial art in the community. Lac Viet Vo dao now has 64 schools, including those in Italy, France and Belgium, 30 instructors and 6,000 followers. It has so far held 130 exams of belt grade promotion.

A collective form which starts a Lac Viet Vo dao performance festival. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

A position for children. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

An individual performance at Lac Viet Vo dao’s performance festival. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

A barehanded form showing an animal movement. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

A practitioner performs with a staff. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

A decisive movement in the staff-based form. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

Performing with a halberd. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

An exercise between a barehanded practitioner and a halberd user. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

A barehanded counter exercise. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

Clamping the neck in a counter exercise. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Barehanded counter in the air. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Qigong practice: Breaking bricks on a practitioner lying on a spike board. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Brick-breaking performance. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

Lac Viet Vo dao, which combines martial arts with traditional medicine in every exercise, aims to promote the humanity and cultural values of Vietnam, Chung said, stressing the martial art seeks to help followers improve their physical fitness and health and keep a peaceful mind to encounter challenges in life.

In 2018,  Lac Viet Vo dao plans to develop martial arts tourism to promote the Vietnamese culture to the international community.

Story: Bich Van - Photos: Cong Dat – Khanh Long