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With the salutation "Iron hand over benevolent heart," Vovinam rises.
Thailand has mauy Thai, Cambodia has prodal serey... And Vietnam has got Vovinam.
Vovinam Vo Dao is originated in the land of Vietnam, during the French colonization. Young Nguyen Loc, at that time, with his nationalism spirit, he read about other martial arts, and his clear mind, along with strong body and pure soul, invented "Vovinam." He introduced this new art to public in 1938, and gained the support of all Vietnamese people. It was carried with every immigrants to where they went, specially France. His successor, Le Sang, continued developing and distributing Vovinam to the whole world.
Vovinam believes that hard and soft go together as equals. Students are required to develop this concept in both training and daily life. The combination of these two are crucial to the training of Vovinam. The basic techniques of this art are elbow, hand, kicking, knee, Forms, attacking, wrestling, leg, staff, sword and Hallebarde.
This is the ten principles of Vovinam (can be vary from school to school):
1. Vovinam's disciples vow to pursue high proficiency in their martial art in order to serve the people and humanity.
2. Promise to be faithful to the intentions and teaching of Vovinam and develop the young generation of Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao
3. Be united in spirit and heart, respect one's elder, be kind to one's peers.
4. Respect discipline absolutely, maintain the high standard of personal conduct and honour of a martial art disciple.
5. Have respect for other martial art schools, only use martial art skills for self defense and protect justice.
6. Be studious, strengthen the mind, enrich one's thought & behavior.
7. Live simply, with chastity, loyalty, high principles and ethics.
8. Build up a spirit of steely determination and vigor, overcome powers of violence.
9. Make intelligent judgments, carry out struggles with perseverance and act with alertness.
10. Be self-confident, self-controlled, modest and generous.
The belt system is quite unique compares to other arts.
The adult begins with a light blue belt - the same color as his/her suit. He then is a "Võ Sinh", a student aspirant. The old school Vovinam had two navy blue stripes before getting the Navy Blue Belt. But recently, some Vovinam schools have changed under the direction of Le Sang and do not have a Light Blue Belt 1 stripe, or two.
Following the light blue is the dark blue belt. Then he/she is a "Mon Sinh", a student.
Blue stands for the factor of the sea, and the hope - the hope in being successful in learning Vovinam.
With the following 3 exams yellow stripes are added to the blue belt. The 3rd yellow stripe is followed by the yellow belt. The student has reached the instructor's level.
Yellow It symbolically stands for the skin color of all people. It symbolizes the "skin deep" internalization of the martial art and the philosophy.
In other martial arts this belt is black. Therefore a Vovinam student who carries a yellow belt is allowed to carry a black belt. This makes a comparison to other martial arts easier, eg. in public performances. A person who wears a yellow belt with one or more stripes is considered an instructor.
Following in a longer period of time, respectively 3 red stripes are added to the yellow belt. This corresponds to the 1st, 2nd, respectively 3rd Dang (Dan). The exam following the 3rd red stripe is the master's exam. Passing the exam successfully assigns the right to wear a red belt with a circulating yellow border.
Red stands for the blood and the intensive flame. The student has internalized Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao even further.
The 5th to 10th Dang are shown as a completed red belt with 1 to 6 white stripes.
White stands for the infiniteness, the bones; is the symbol of the depth of the spirit. The white belt assigns the master the absolute mastery of Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao.
On the white belt thin, lengthwise stripes in blue, yellow and red symbolize the whole of Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao again. This belt is reserved for the "Patriarch". 2005 this is Granmaster Le Sang.
With every change of belt color the name plate color changes. Blue belt students start off with yellow text on blue name plates. With the yellow belt the name plate changes to red text on yellow ground. The red belt comes along with white text on a red name plate. The patriarch carries red text on a white name plate. Thin, colored lines in blue, yellow and red are shown on the upper and lower borders of this white name plate.
Author notes: I have only found an article about Vovinam in Wikipedia. I tried to access to other sites for various resources but can not gain any favourable results. Thus, this article is merely based on Wikipedia guidance.