01/08/2016 10:43 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

The Pioneer of Aikido in Vietnam

After more than half a century doing Aikido,  martial art master Dang Van Phat has bequeathed the passion for and the spirit of this Japanese martial art to his disciples as well as contributed to the development of Aikido in Vietnam.
In 1958, Japanese Aikido began in Vietnam. In 1961, young Dang Van Phat, only thirteen years old, started to learn the martial arts and he has gradually made a contribution to the establishment and development of Aikido in Vietnam.

According to martial art master Dang Van Phat, Aikido’s philosophy highlights a harmonious and non-aggressive spirit and regards love as the principle of martial artists so he wants to introduce this martial art to the Vietnamese people.

During more than half a century of doing Aikido, martial art master Dang Van Phat has been promoting it in the community. From Ho Chi Minh City, he has travelled to neighbouring localities to open training classes (called dojos) and urged youngsters to join. As Aikido is a peaceful martial art without competitions, few people are attracted to it. However, with his determination, martial art master Dang Van Phat has gradually diffused his martial passion and spirit to his disciples and developed the practice of Aikido. Aikido has become popular in Binh Duong, Can Tho, Rach Gia, Nha Trang and Lam Dong.


Masters Dang Van Phat and Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan teach Aikido in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP

Master  Dang Van Phat is among the few masters in Vietnam who have the Aikikai black belt degree
certified by Aikido’s founder Morihei Ueshiba. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP



Master Dang Van Phat instructs his students to practice with a long staff. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP


Master Dang Van Phat teaches his disciples. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP


Master Dang Van Phat is famous for his effective throwing and defending techniques. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP


Master Dang Van Phat instructs his students to practice with a long staff. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP


Master Dang Van Phat participates in an Aikido training course held in Hanoi in 2010. Photo: File


Master Dang Van Phat takes part in the first training course of 2016 for Aikido masters and teachers
held in May 2016 at Rach Mieu Stadium (Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City). Photo: Thong Hai/VNP


Master Dang Van Phat offers incense to Aikido founder – Morihei Ueshiba. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP




Certificates presented to martial artist  Dang Van Phat
by Aikido Federations in Ho Chi Minh City and Japan. Photo: File 

In Ho Chi Minh City only, there are now 44 Aikido training centres and clubs with more than 3,000 people performing it compared with just a few in the past. The Ho Chi Minh City Aikido Federation has been established to facilitate related activities. Martial art master Dang Van Phat is also known as an essential factor in the establishment and development of Vietnam’s Aikido community.

Now at the age of 70, the old master still travels to many provinces and cities to help Aikido groups there with teaching materials, training teaching masters and testing disciples who want to reach higher ranks. Sometimes he travels just to visit the places where he taught in the past and encourage current students.

When we met him at Rach Mieu stadium in Phu Nhuan District, Phat happily acknowledged that there are currently two training periods a year in Ho Chi Minh City for martial artists who want to improve their techniques or obtain higher ranks. He was delighted that a lot of people joined these training periods.

Also at one of his training classes, Dang Tan Phat met martial art master  Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan, who later became his wife. They are two of few Aikido masters in Vietnam who have Aikikai black belt degrees certified by the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. They also opened a free class of Aikido for disabled children, which has been running for 15 years.

As a disciple of Phat for more than 10 years, martial artist Nguyen Chuong Anh Vu (District 3’s Aikido club) said that from his master he learned the martial spirit, love for friends and respect for elders as well as the determination to develop Aikido in Vietnam.

 
Story: Son Nghia – Photos: Thong Hai & File