Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Festival

Published:  20:59 Wednesday - December 29, 2010 The three-day Vietnamese traditional martial arts festival in central Binh Dinh Province, father land of the “Viet Vo Dao”, is not only a way to popularize the Viet’s martial arts, but also a reflection of its prestige in the world.

Vietnamesetraditional martial arts have been learnt in 100 countries andterritories by hundreds of thousands of followers. It is now one of theworld’s most popular sports.

Central Binh Dinh Province is the cradle of Vietnam’s martial arts andrecognised as the birthplace of traditional martial arts in Vietnamfrom the time of the Tay Son-Binh Dinh martial arts school in the 18thcentury. It has proudly continued the tradition of producing some ofthe country’s best talent in the discipline.

The traditional martial arts festivalbegins with performances at Quy Nhon Town, the capital of Binh Dinh,and surrounding areas including King Quang Trung Museum, Hoang De(Emperor) Citadel and Nhon Hoi Economic Zone – which is symbolic ofcentral Vietnam’s economic development.

Viet Vo Dao

Viet Vo Dao, based on the principle of harmony between hard and soft, was founded by grandmaster Nguyen Loc less than a hundred years ago during French colonization in Vietnam. Mr. Loc developed the martial arts mainly for self defense that uses force and reaction of the opponent to fight against him.

 Viet Vo Daois not just a way for health training, moral refinement, human sense ofloving, but the martial arts also reflects the generosity of a heroicand sporting people. Vietnamese traditional martial arts attracted people of all generation to train.Viet Vo Daotechniques invovle kicks, throws, escape and levering, wrestling,punching, kicking, and even employ swords, sticks, and knives.

The founder Truong Thanh Dangspent  his whole life to understand, practice, research and consolidatethe cultural heritage  and the martial  arts treasure into a unique,creative system.

Spectacular martial arts displays

Withthe will of a free independent country and their invincible patriotism,  the Vietnamese  have developed a strongfighting spirit, which can be seen in the decisive  wars : "To escape from the humiliating misery and hardships of  slavery. They have to win  the enemies"

TheVietnamese traditional martial arts which is very rich informs, was developed  based  on  the   bloody experiences acquiredduring  the courageous  fights to protect their country and  people .

BinhDinh Province is famous for Vo Tay Son, also known as Vo Binh Dinh, anancient martial art that was developed in the area. Ten out of 11districts in the province have established martial arts trainingcentres with nearly 100 clubs. The provincial traditional martial artsassociation manages 80 masters and attracts approximately 1,000students in regular training courses.

Comingto Binh Dinh and attending the festival, you can join local teams andwitness the showcase for their talent in martial arts, as well as BinhDinh’s scenic beauty and distinctive, appealing culture. Participantsdemonstrated their various performances at the villages, allowingeveryone to imbibe the unique aspects of martial arts in differentcultures.

Moreover,the participants can also visit the province’s martial arts villagessuch as An Thai and An Vinh, where they can learn about thetime-honored arts from successors of martial arts forefathers. Thefestival features enthralling events including battle drumming,international martial arts competitions and a beauty pageant with someof Vietnam’s most dangerous women.

Battle drum

TaySon battle drumming has always been close to locals hearts. It is saidthat during battle, Nguyen Hue, who later became Emperor Quang Trung,used a 12 drum system, which symbolized Asia’s 12 zodiac signs, to give battle commands, boosthis soldiers’ morale and convert his enemies to good causes. symbolized Asia’s 12 zodiac signs, to give battle commands, boosthis soldiers’ morale and convert his enemies to good causes.

Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Festival

Accordingto Tran Dinh Ky, director of King Quang Trung museum in Quy Nhon Town,Tay Son battle drumming is a special genre which blends military andartistic elements and is based on the traditional sound systems such asho, xang and xe.

It is extremely difficult to express the “soul” of Tay Son battle drumming, which explains why few artists can perform it well.

Amember of the King Quang Trung museum’s martial music troupe, HoangMai, a girl in her early twenties, has been selected as the mainfestival drummer and an icon to popularize the genre.

Beauty pageant

Inthe festival, beauties from martial arts schools in almost 40 countriesparticipate in a beauty pageant titled “Hoa hau nhung mien dat vo”(Beauties from the Lands of Martial Arts).

“Femalegeneral Bui Thi Xuan, one of the leading figures in the Tay Sonuprising who possessed both charms and great martial art skills, waschosen as the image of the contest,” a member of the organizing boardsaid. “The contestants not only compete in physical attractiveness;they also show off their mental and physical strength by displayingtheir martial arts skills,” he added.

Tuong(Vietnamese classical drama) and particularly tuong from the province’sDao Tan tuong theater, one of Vietnam’s tuong cradles, is also a partof the contest. In Binh Dinh tuong and martial arts share some of thesame movements giving them a close connection.

Other highlights

Thefestival begins with a procession and flower offering, at King QuangTrung museum at 8 a.m, to honor Emperor Quang Trung, a shrewd king anda great national hero.

Onthe next day, tourists can ride in 22 sailboats, which symbolize 22years of “doi moi” (economic reform), and let loose flower garlands andcolored lanterns at Thi Nai Bay and Thi Nai Bridge.

Thereis also superb fireworks shows and traditional musical performances bylocal and international artists throughout the festival.

Another highlight is a traditional handicraft fair, with many stalls at the central park in Quy Nhon Town.

Visitorscan also relish specialties such as the very strong Bau Da wine and PhuMy nem (fermented pork roll) at the fair. An ornamental plant fair andcompetition featuring a wide variety of rare plants and bonsai fromacross the country is organized at the province’s Labor Cultural House.

Impression on the first national martial arts festival

The first national martial arts festival was held in Binh Dinh in 2006. Many domestic and foreign-based masters of Viet Vo Dao togetherwith some 500 other enthusiasts across the world have come to thefestival to take part in the return to the sport’s ancestral land toattending the first “Viet Vo Dao festival.

Phan Tho, a Viet Vo Daomaster permanently living in Binh Dinh, expressed that he feelssatisfied to see the festival held in his homeland. He said this is hisbiggest happiness after spending some 70 years of training Viet Vo Dao.

Many other Viet Vo Dao masters as Tran Tien and Ho Hoa Hue and foreign-based masters are pleased with the festival.

Thenumber of delegations and artists to join the year 2007’s festivalalmost doubles the year 2006’s numbers, which means traditionalVietnamese martial arts have grown in stature on the world scene...

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