The major technical reform of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao - 2023

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La Commission Technique Internationale 

The International Technical Board


Grand Master Tran Nguyen Dao

President of the World Council of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao Masters

President of the International Technical Board


The major technical reform

of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao - 2023

(Reform of “Viet Vo Dao Quyen” and 1st level sword techniques)



I.I. The reform of sword techniques-1st level 

The 5 subjects forming the 1st level of the sword system are:

  • Attack techniques.
  • Parade techniques.
  • Counter-attack techniques.
  • The Quyền Lưỡng Nghi Kiếm Pháp[[1]].
  • The Song Luyện Kiếm. 

The 1st level of sword techniques is one of the pillars of our International Teaching Program. It is programmed for the mid-level (international yellow/black belt). The other 4 levels are reserved for masters, therefore for those who wish to specialize to become a “sword master”. For this, you need to invest around 10 years of training on average to achieve this. In the world of Vovinam-VVĐ today (2023), to my knowledge, we can count on the 5 fingers of the hand the people who still have the true knowledge of these techniques! 

The sword techniques of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao are one of the jewels and strong points of the International Teaching Program of the World Federation of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao, because we have been able to preserve its authenticity without deviation towards the spectacular or demonstrative side which the world of Martial Arts calls “dance”. 

However, there is a significant problem that has persisted for many years: these are inconsistencies between the 5 subjectsthat make up this 1st level of the sword system. I realized this inconsistency when I became a teacher in 1972. Once I became a master in 1977, I began to invest myself in analysing all the inconsistencies and researching new techniques in order to harmonize and eliminate these inconsistencies. My actions are motivated by the ideal of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao, including the 1st code of honour of the masters "reaching the highest level of art to serve one's neighbour", thus perpetuating the tradition of our Art: Contribute to the evolution of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao. 

To kick off this reform, 25 years ago, in 1998, I laid the first stone by submitting my thesis “Sword techniques of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao” during my exam red belt 2nd degree (6th Dang) in Houston, Texas, USA. This thesis aims to produce a document on the knowledge of 1st degree sword techniques from Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao. I think it is now time to turn this knowledge into a real book, so that the cultural treasure of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao martial arts endures over time. 

During my years of research, I had to face two major challenges: standardizationand credibility. Because the 5 subjects of the sword system are now practiced all over the world and are relatively unified, if there is change, it will be a difficult obstacle and may be dangerous for the unity of our teaching program. The second problem is that to succeed in reform, one must not only have the capacity and persistent will, but also have a high reputation and a good “position” to launch the reform. 

My dear masters, today, given my position as a grand master and nearly 60 years of practice, I think I have the assets to carry out this reform, or rather to give more coherence and order between the 5 subjects of the 1st level of sword techniques. 

As you know, in this world, “no one is perfect”! Therefore, on November 1, 2019, I proposed a project to reform 1st level sword techniques by inviting all European masters to participate, with the aim of obtaining legitimacy and improving the performance of the project while considering it as a collective investment action for future generations. 

After more than two and a half years of research with European Masters, I decided to officially submit this reform project on June 12, 2022 to the World Council of Masters of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao, so that, during the 9th World Congress which will take place in July 2022 in Paris, masters can decide whether or not to adopt this reform. Unexpectedly, the reform project was warmly welcomed by masters and was unanimously approved by the World Master Council with an extension of another 8 months (until March 2023) for masters around the world can participate in this major contribution. 

II.The reform of Viet Vo Dao Quyen 

The “Viet Vo Dao Quyen” [[2]], is a mid-level Quyen (international yellow/black belt). It has been taught in Vietnam since the 1970s. At the international level, it was adopted and then added to the International Teaching Program during the 4th World Congress of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao in Houston - Texas, USA, in 2004. 

This “Viet Vo Dao Quyen” has a very special place in the Quyen system of our school. It has the same characteristics as Khai Mon Quyen (for beginner level), because both are not part of traditional Quyens like Thap Tu Quyen, Long Ho Quyen, Lao Mai Quyen, Ngoc Tran Quyen... since they do not simulate not an imaginary fight against one or more opponents, but rather a “repertoire of techniques”. Their aim is to help the practitioner memorize the basic techniques and/or counter-attack techniques of their respective levels. Viet Vo Dao Quyên is therefore an educational tool or rather an “application exercise” than a true Quyen itself. 

After long years of practice and teaching, I note that this Quyen has the following major imperfections: 

1.Too long: Around 140 techniques (Khai Mon Quyen: 38 techniques, Thap Tu Quyen: 54, Long Ho Quyen: 44…), which results in: 

  • Exhaustion, if we want to perform it with vitality and speed.
  • Imperfection in the execution of techniques due to the length of the Quyen.
  • Forgetfulness and hesitation during the execution of Quyen. 

2.Too repetitive: Repetition of the same techniques: 2, 4 or even 8 times. In total, we have listed this type of repetition approximately 25 times in the Quyen. 

3.Does not return to the same place in relation to the starting position. 

For these reasons, Master SFORZA Aldo and I have studied it since 2012 and we had the honour of presenting our work and submitting this project of reform of Viet Vo Dao Quyen to the World Council of Masters during the 9th Congress world, which will take place in July 2022 in Paris, at the same time as the sword technique reform project. 

The reform of Viet Vo Dao Quyen obtained full support from all the masters. It was unanimously approved by the World Council of Masters, without recommending an additional period of 8 months like the case of the sword reform. But, I still decided to add a period of 8 months like that for the sabre, in order to allow masters around the world to be able to participate and give their opinions. And I was not wrong! There have been many contributions, from the oldest to the youngest masters, who participated enthusiastically in the perfecting of this Quyen. Thanks to their contributions, Viet Vo Dao Quyen has reached a much better maturity than the initial proposal. 

III.    Official launch 

Dear masters, as of October 1, 2023, i.e. after 14 months of additional contributions by international masters, (instead of 8 months initially requested by the World Council of Masters), and in accordance with the decisions of the World Council of Masters, I am pleased to inform you of the official launch of the two reforms: sword techniques and the “Viet Vo Dao Quyen” of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao at the global level. 

These reforms involve several stages: 

1-    October 2023: Promulgation of the two reforms through texts written in three languages: Vietnamese, French and English, intended only for teachers. 

2-    From November 2023 to December 2025: transition period. 

  • There will be organization of courses and seminars all over the world. 
  • Videos will be produced so that teachers can better understand these two subjects, which are so difficult and so special. 
  • Two books will be published in eight languages [[3]], one on the sword and the other on Viet Vo Dao Quyen. We will therefore have detailed and practical supports for all Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao practitioners in the world. 
  • During this transition period and during grade examination sessions, practitioners can present their choice of new or old techniques, it all depends on the evolution of reforms in each country.

    3- During 2026, a decision of the World Council of Masters will be published to formalize the new techniques and the abandonment of the old ones.

Good study and good reform to all masters. We are counting on you, the pillars of our school. You are like me, we have a mission and a duty towards Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao and our practitioners. 


Paris on October 1, 2023.

Grand Master Tran Nguyen Dao

Copy to:

-        The Supreme Council of Masters of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao

-        The World Council of Masters of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao.

-        The President of the World Federation of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao.

-       National Federations, members of the World Federation of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao.

[1] : Its full name in Vietnamese is: Tinh Hoa Lưỡng Nghi Kiếm Pháp = the Purity of the Duality of Yin and Yang of the sword.

[2] : Son nom complet en vietnamien est : Thân, Thủ, Bộ, Cước, Pháp, Tinh hoa Việt Võ Đạo = Meilleures méthodes de Déplacement, de Bras (coup de poing), de Position, de Jambe (coup de pied) du Viet Vo Dao.

[3] : Vietnamese, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.