Project to update the 10 fundamental principles


The 10 basic principles of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao were created since 1964 (1). For 48 years, these principles were widely distributed not only in Vietnam but also worldwide.

With may experience of over 37 years working in different countries of the world and alongside countless famous martial arts schools, I never met a martial developing a system of theoretical as rich, universal and as structured as ours.

This contribution to culture is a great pride for all of us in the martial arts world, but it is still very modest compared with the great philosophical schools.

Thus, in order to fulfil this role, the 10 basic principles must be updated to be up to the modern world of the 21st century.

In 1964, our seniors Masters (2) have worked hard for months to create this system of thought that has survived to this day.

The 10 basic principles were created in a context of a country at war both civil and ideological (1945-1975) and after suffering a long period of colonization (1862-1945). They were based on the bright ideas of the Master Founder Nguyen Loc and our Senior Masters, embellished with schools of though Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian and Christianity and occidentals philosophical thoughts such as Platon, Diogène, Aristote, Spinoza, Descartes, Rousseau…

Today, after 75 years of existence (1938-2012), the Vovinam Viet Vo Dao is not only reserved for Vietnamese but it now belongs to the martial arts history and world culture.

For this reason, the 10 basic principles must be updated to get rid of context "Vietnam 1964" and integrate into the modern world, according to the wishes of the Master Founder Nguyen Loc.

The wishes of founding Master Nguyen Loc

In the journal Vovinam Viet Vo Dao published in 1965, Dr. Thien Quang Dam (friend of the Master Nguyen Loc) described the master's thought: "... We must never seek to impose our ideas or our works as frozen rules so that future generations and contemporary to strictly follow. Thus, we condemn any progression of future generations. For over twenty five centuries, humanity (e.g. Western and oriental conservatives) imposed the thoughts of Confucius and Aristote as "golden rules" for future generations obey. If all Orientals became Confucius and Westerners became Aristote, humanity would have reached the level where Confucius and Aristotle had reached 2,500 years ago. Where would be the progress?

Without innovation, we retreat

To work towards these reflections, the younger generation of today can said that if we do not advance in the path of progress, then we will inevitably be on the path of decline. Our martial art will never accept the status quo and remain without any mysterious activity, sectarian or religious.

Since the early 1980s with the development of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao in Europe, the Masters have already had the idea to update the 10 basic principles to be in harmony with the world's cultures.

In presenting his thesis "Viet Vo Dao: tradition or adaptation" in 1983, Master Kim HA Khanh (3) discussed the need to modernize our technical and philosophical teaching retaining its traditional values, in order to meet the needs of development of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao on two Plans: quantitative and qualitative.

At that time, I felt the time was not yet ripe for any major changes and, I preferred to postpone the revolutionary theme later.

The convenient moment!

Dear Masters, teachers and Practitioners, it’s time now. The origin of this topic came from a request from a elder Master to update the 10 core principles (out of modesty, this elder Master prefers not to reveal his identity) dated 5 September 2007. This master was a member of the Council of Masters that initiated in 1964 the original texts for the 10 basic principles.

Dear Masters, Teachers and Practitioners, I believe this long-awaited moment has finally arrived!

Indeed, today,

    • We are an internationally recognized organization with a legal structure and activities INTERNATIONAL for over 16 years. So we have a reputation and appropriate expertise to organize the work of updating the 10 fundamental principles.
    • Most of our Masters have more than 30, 40 years of activities at the international level, familiar with the cultures of countries where Vovinam Viet Vo Dao was implanted. On the other hand, the Masters in Vietnam have also many contacts with strangers practitioners (from all countries) and many courses abroad.
    • The majority of seniors Masters, creators of the 10 fundamental principles are willing to make contributions to refresh these principles.


Elected as Secretary General to head the World Council of Masters (Mandate : 2004-2008), I have a responsibility to ensure the sustainable development of our school throughout the world.

I decided to officially launch the process of updating the 10 fundamental principles at the 6th World Congress Vovinam-VVD in May 2008. But unfortunately lack of time didn’t allow us to go through with our ideas.

For this reason, this year, on the occasion of the 7th World Congress of Masters, I invite all our seniors and all international masters to participate in this monumental project.

I also invite the Master Nguyen Van Cuong, President of the Supreme Council of Masters to chair the process of updating 10 fundamental principles and master HA Kim Khanh to assist.


All ideas are welcome updating, without distinction of rank, age or race. Your contributions will be studied and recorded (Refer to the template for participation in the work of updating the 10 principles).

All the Masters (from 4th Dang) can issue their votes (1 Nobody = 1 vote) by secret ballot (postal or mail mode) during World Congress in May 2012 in Paris.
Dear Maters, Teachers and Practitioners. I'm sure you're ready and proud to make your contribution to this work of updating the 10 fundamental principles of our Martial Art.

I'm sure you will also be tolerant to receive all the ideas, wherever they come: Master, leader, teacher, practitioner or supporter, and this irrespective of the organization he belongs or which is his leaving country, provided that the noble objective is to allow Vovinam Viet Vo Dao to achieve the Way of universal progress.

Paris, on March 30th, 2012
Secretary of the World Council of Masters of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao
Master Trần Nguyên Đạo



(1) : Publication in 1964 of 10 fundamental principles according to the statutes of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao in 1964 - Article 74 - Chapter 8: All practitioners need to know, understand and apply the 10 fundamental principles :

    1. Achieve the highest level of art to serve the nation and humanity.
    2. Being faithful to the ideal of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao and be devoted to his cause.
    3. Always be united, respect the Masters and seniors, loving companions.
    4. Strictly observe discipline, placing homer above all.
    5. Respect others and Arts n use the Vovinam Viet Vo Dao in case of legitimate defence.
    6. Cultivating knowledge, forge the Spirit, progress towards.
    7. Live with honesty, simplicity, fidelity and nobility of spirit.
    8. Develop a will of steel, overcome difficulties.
    9. Being lucid, persistent and active.
    10. To be master of himself, modest, respectful, tolerant and forward by judging yourself.

(2) : The Masters elder members of the 1st Council of Masters of Vovinam VVD in 1964 :

    • Mạnh Hoàng (*)
    • Trần Huy Phong (*)
    • Trịnh Ngọc Minh (*)
    • Nguyễn Văn Thư (*)
    • Lê Sáng (*)
    • Nguyễn Văn Thông
    • Trần Đức Hợp
    • Ngô Hữu Liễn
    • Trần Bản Quế
    • Nguyễn Văn Cường
    • Phan Quỳnh
    • Trần Thế Phượng

 (*) : Dead

(3) : Thesis entitled "Viet Vo Dao - Tradition and Adaptation" presented by Master HA Kim Khanh during the examination grades of Red Belt (4th Dang) - in Paris in April 1983.

Master HA Kim Khanh 60 (born 1952), Belt Red 2nd Degree ((Dang 6th in 2010), Graduate Diploma economic (DESE Marketing) at the University of Limoges, Graduate Diploma of specialized 3 rd cycle (DESS Ethno methodology and Computer Science) at the University of Paris VIII. At present, Master HA Kim Khanh is president of National Council of Masters of the Federation Vovinam-VVD France.