There are few places I feel as alive as when I am practising Vovinam.
Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial art. Well-known for self-defence, wellness, and philosophy, its disciples and masters are active worldwide. Master Crozon-Cazin (France) gives a good overview of the art in this video.
I have been introduced to VVD a few years ago whilst living in Senegal and it’s been a joy since. But, with my illness, much of last year I had to take leave from it. I am still in pursuit of my black belt. So, it was with great excitement and wary that I resumed last August (2017).
It felt special to put on my uniform again and break some sweat with the team. The mere fact that I am managing to keep up with the team during training and ‘not screwing up’ the great work of my care team, is a personal triumph – challenging me at every session and bringing much growth every class. I practice once to three times a week and I have access to two clubs in the Boston area (Dorchester and Randalph) depending on which days of the week I can make the practice sessions.
The art Việt Võ Đạo also brings me more mindfulness and to a certain extent, a spiritual realization. This starts with its motto - ‘be strong to be useful’. It advocates harmony in all matters and in all situation. Hard and soft are used equally to adapt to every situation, to every problem.
… 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 is 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.
It guides one to permanently strive for balance amongst the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Moreover, programs are individually based. Accordingly, I build my program and improve with time at my own pace. It is surely helping me become more resilient and stronger whilst living with my illness and my heart condition. My current goals are to improve my agility via light stretches, maintain basic techniques and grow from both a mindfulness and philosophy perspectives.
That's it for now :). Welcome to my world of VVD.
For more on Vovinam Viet Vo Dao:
Thanks for reading. Here’s to becoming stronger and more useful.
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