While Vietnamese martial arts may not be to most well known in the world they have certainly be honed for use against overwhelming force of invading enemies with better weapons and massive forces and resources. Among it’s invasions Vietnam has been attacked by it’s giant neighbor China as well as being ruled for a time by France and of course there was the infamous Vietnam war involving the US. Some controlling forces like the French tried to outlaw practicing or training in martial arts in order to protect themselves from uprisings.
This led to training continuing in secret. The Vietnamese borrowed techniques from their neighbors and combined them to form of one of the first Mixed Martial Arts. The breakdown in factional fighting and guerrilla warfare lead by various warlords to various regions developing their own styles of Viet Vo Dao or Vo Thuat. The most important principals behind the development of these Vietnamese martial arts were:
- Predominance of close combat techniques
- Using flexibility against force
- The principle of taking the opponent by surprise
- The secret of illusion
- Methods of sidestep movements avoiding resistance
The various forms of Viet Vo Dao or Vo Thuat evolved into styles such as Vo Binh Dinh, Hung Ke Quyen as well as Vivodo, Nhan Da and Kieu Dung. These styles are known for their aerial and two legged flying kicks.
If you are ever lucky enough to get to visit Vietnam and see these martial arts in action, the local cuisine will give you an in site into the culture, though may require a tough stomach. Local delicacies include dog meat, coconut worm and whole frog. But the real treat is Snake Village near Hanoi. This area is home to many restaurant serving various forms of Cobra. These cobras are held in live tanks just like lobster tanks you have probably seen at home. Real men will opt to try a shot of Cobra blood wine.
“This is made by the waiter killing the Cobra at your table and draining the blood into your glass of rice wine – may be this will help you fight better – who knows?”
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