Popularizing Vietnamese Traditional Martial Art in Europe

Vovinam Viet Vo Dao (Vietnamese martial art) is currently developing in nearly 70 countries, contributing to strengthening cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between Vietnam and friends around the world.
December 13, 2023 | 14:43

Vietnamese traditional martial art clubs in Switzerland recently gathered to meet, exchange and promote connections. The event in Geneva is also an opportunity to spread the image of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao (Vietnamese martial art) in Switzerland.

Talking to the press, Hoang Kim An, representative of Nghia Long Vo Dao sect, said that many people who study traditional Vietnamese martial art are foreigners. They are very interested not only in Vietnamese martial arts and weapons, but also in stories about Vietnam's history of fighting foreign invaders, building and defending the country.

"This is a form of promoting Vietnamese traditional martial art to the world, from which international friends can see the goodness and beauty of Vietnamese traditional martial arts," An said.

This year, the event also attracted traditional martial arts enthusiasts from Switzerland's neighboring countries.

Giovanni di Fillipo, who comes from Italy, said that he has studied Vovinam for decades, helping him understand Vietnam better.

He said that he has been studying since he was 5 years old. Vovinam is interesting and there are many things he needs to explore more in the future. He also hopes one day he can go to Vietnam to understand more about this martial art.

Popularizing Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts in Europe
Young practitioners perform the Nghia Long Vo Dao form. Photo: Anh Hien/Vietnam+

Previously, in mid-December 2022, in Italy, the International Vovinam Cup 2022 - Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu tournament organized by the World Vovinam Federation in Montichiari city and the traditional martial art festival of the Binh Dinh Sa Long Cuong sect took place in Novara city, also in Northern Italy.

Participating in the International Vovinam Cup 2022 tournament - Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has seven delegations representing Vovinam associations in Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Romania, Spain and Vietnam, with nearly 100 athletes, demonstrating the vitality and persuasion of Vovinam as well as the traditional values of Vietnamese culture and history.

Meanwhile, the Traditional Martial Art Festival commemorating Master Luu Van Trong of the Binh Dinh Sa Long Cuong sect attracted attendees with dual training competitions, both armed and unarmed, along with boxing demonstrations, and lion dance.

The Sa Long Cuong sect is one of the traditional martial arts of Vietnam, which was founded in 1964 based on the traditional Binh Dinh martial art that were handed down during the reign of King Quang Trung. The Sa Long Cuong sect has been taught in many countries, including Italy, Canada, France, and the United States.

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Duong Hai Hung, Vietnamese martial art is the historical pride of the nation, expressing the spirit of martial arts, humanistic values and cultural identity, that is, using humanity to fight inhumanity, takes the meaning of fighting injustice, and is spreading throughout the world.

In recent years, Vietnamese traditional martial art have developed in nearly 70 countries, of which in Italy there are about 40 sects and martial arts schools with over 5,000 students, demonstrating the affection of the Italian people towards Vietnam.

Talking about Vovinam in Italy, Luca Marzocchi, chair of the Italian Vovinam Association, stressed that Vovinam was present in Italy nearly 30 years ago and drawing the attention of a lot of Italians in their mid-teens. People from 5 to 60 years old participate in training because this is a complete martial art, different from other martial arts, and rich in performance but not complicated. In recent years, despite the hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have made joint efforts to bring Vovinam to young people, especially in schools, through promotional activities and performances.

In the coming time, the teaching and development of Vovinam training centers will be expanded not only in Northern Italy, where there is already a large number of practitioners, but also to other regions of Italy. Furthermore, Vietnam is also a country that is increasingly developing in recent years, with an attractive culture. Therefore, through practicing Vovinam, Italians have the opportunity to learn about Vietnam's cultural traditions more deeply, said Marzochi.

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