Viet Vo Dao, also known as Vovinam, is a Vietnamese martial art.
Vovinam is practiced with and without weapons. It is based on the principle of between hard and soft. It includes training of the body as well as the mind. It uses force and reaction of the opponent. Vovinam also includes hand, elbow, kicks, escape- and levering techniques. Both attack and defense techniques are trained, as well as forms, combat and traditional wrestling. The wide range of techniques include punching, kicking, forms, wrestling, sword, staff, axe, folding fan and others.
Self-defense techniques cover defense against weaponless attacks like choking from behind and defense against attacks with knife or sword. Advanced students learn to combine the techniques and learn to defend themselves against armed opponents. Instructors train traditional weapons like the long stick, short stick, knife, sword and sabre. Thereby the weapons serve as training devices for reaching optimal control of body and mind.
Hard and Soft
The yin and yang theory states that everything in the universe and on earth is initiated through the interrelation of Âm (negative) and Dương (positive). As to this theory there are martial arts that prefer the hard over the soft and others that prefer the soft over the hard. Viet Vo Dao does not prefer any over the other. Hard and soft are used equally to adapt to every situation, to every problem.
Based on Võ-Thuật, the student aims to develop the ability to combine hard and soft in combat and in daily life. This aims to develop physical abilities as well as the student's spirit. Not only the principle of the harmony of hard and soft but also many other things resulting from the training contribute to internalizing the martial art philosophy, e.g. fighting spirit, courage, tenacity, fairness, modesty and tolerance. Above all the training in morality and the way of applying the techniques shape the students' character.
The greatest difficulty is to see through one's own ego and then to overcome it.
In doing so the Vovinam student will gain generosity and tolerance with other people.
With the awareness that the most important thing in a human's life are other humans, the final goal is to be able to not only help oneself but also to help others to live in peace and harmony with their surroundings.
With the salutation "Iron Hand over benevolent heart", the student is reminded of the main principle and the goal of Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo with every training. It is also about using the opponent's force and reaction, reaching maximum effect with little force/effort.