First world championship of traditional Vietnamese martial arts to begin this week

July 27, 2016 | 09:23
Martial artists from 30 countries will gather in Ho Chi Minh City this week to compete in the first world championship oftraditional Vietnamese martial arts.

‘Vo Co Truyen,’ or traditional martial arts, is the collective name for a number of martial arts invented and practiced by the Vietnamese throughout the country’s history.

Influenced by the Vietnamese culture and mindset, Vo Co Truyen schools focus less on the ‘martial arts,’ which are the physical moves and techniques employed to overwhelm one’s opponent or defend oneself, than they do on the ‘martial way,’ which is the training of the mind and an outlook on life.

The first world championship of Vo Co Truyen will be held in Ho Chi Minh City from Tuesday to Saturday, welcoming martial artists from 30 countries to practice traditional Vietnamese martial arts.

This is not the first time that traditional Vietnamese martial arts have been featured in an international event, as five festivals and five international competitions have been held since 2006.

This is, however, the first world championship to be organized after the establishment of the World Federation of Vietnam Vo Co Truyen (WFVV) last August, marking the martial arts’ success in attracting global practitioners.

Grandmaster Le Kim Hoa, vice chairman of WFVV, flew to France in May to teach and share the rules of Vo Co Truyen combat to delegations from over 20 European countries in preparation for the landmark event.

According to the championship’s organizers, the opening ceremony will feature Vietnamese culture and history through a mob display of ‘Phat Quang Quyen,’ a Vietnamese fighting school incorporating the hands.

Olivier Barbey, a Swiss Vo Co Truyen master and founder of the ‘Son Long Quyen Thuat’ school in France, said he was overjoyed to learn that Vo Co Truyen would have its first world championship.

Barbey first came to Vietnam in 1989 and has witnessed the growth of Vo Co Truyen in international popularity over the years. He said practitioners of the martial art could dream of being part of the Olympics with such remarkable advancement.

Hoang Vinh Giang, vice chairman of Vietnam’s National Olympic Committee and chairman of WFVV, said Team Vietnam at the first Vo Co Truyen world championship would place more emphasis on promoting the martial art to international friends than on taking home trophies.

“The Vietnamese team is only allowed to compete in 22 to 23 events out of the total of 52,” Giang said.

The championship will run at Phu Tho Stadium in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City.

The event will be held every two years, with the goal of attracting 60 countries by the year 2020 and promoting the practice of Vo Co Truyen in 100 countries and territories by 2030.

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