Synthesis of Project to update the 10 fundamental principles

(Master Nguyễn Lộc - extract of thoughts of Việt Võ Đạo page 166).

Why update the 10 principles ?

Here are the main reasons:

  1. The 10 fundamental principles of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao were created in the 60s, in a particular context of South Vietnam just emerged from the colonial period and in the heart of the terrible Vietnam War (1954-1975) . These 10 principles are rather designed for the Vietnamese people and not universal. After 40 years of existence, these 10 principles are not current today. 
  2. Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao current is no longer reserved solely a martial art for Vietnamese! Indeed, we have preciously offered this martial art to the whole of humanity and it has become a universal discipline practiced by peoples across five continents. So we have a duty to update these principles to become universal, without distinction cultural, religious or racial.
  3. The modern world is constantly changing in all areas: technological, philosophical, economic and social development. If the Vovinam Viet Vo Dao does not evolve, it will be condemned to regress compared to others. It is for this reason that the 10 basic principles must escape from the Vietnamese frontiers to join the modern philosophies, symbols of human progress, in accordance with the wishes of the Master Nguyen Loc founder.

I . Proposals for change

We received several proposals that emanate from our Masters and also personalities (sociologists, researchers, teachers ...) friends of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao and very interested by the deep values that our martial art.

1. Change on the form  :

    • Dr. Nguyễn Minh Triết (University of New York) proposes to abolish the number 10 because it represents the commandments of Christ or Buddha. He prefers the number 9 (multiple of 3) which is more symbolism in various cultures.
    • Some parents of Texas practitioners propose to group the 10 fundamental principles to only 8 because there are common topics that are repeated.
    • Professor Phạm Mộng Chương (Houston, Texas) proposes to replace the numbers with a poem or a sutra (easier to remember) declaring the obligations of the practitioner.

2. Change in substance :

    • The researcher Nguyễn Anh Tuấn proposes that the fundamental principles must belong to the training base of the ideal man according to the oriental concept of classical ("gentleman" or "gentleman" in the West).
    • The writer Lữ tấn Hồng, a former judge, proposes changing the principles 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 by insisting that they must respect the love, peace and law.
    • Doctor Nguyễn Minh Triết proposes 9 principles based on practice so that they can be easily put into use in everyday life.
    • Master Nguyễn Thế Hùng and the parents of practitioners of Houston - Texas propose together in just eight principles, themselves grouped into three sections: objectives, relationships with others and good behavior.
    • Master Nguyễn Tiến Hội (Germany) commented on the principles 2, 3 and 8 and proposes to change the principle # 10.
    • Master Hà Kim Khánh (France) made a comparative study with the 11 codes of French soldier, the moral code of judo ...   

II. Synthesis and proposal of nine liabilities/commitments of practitioner of Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo

We have synthesized all the proposals, giving the following 9 liabilities/commitments of practitioner of the World Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo :

 1 : Build up himself in the way to serve fellow men.

 2 : Develop Vovinam Viet Vo Dao, build a generation of the true man to serve a world of solidarity

 3 : Respect the law, deontology and place honor above all

 4 : Respect of elder people, help the weak, love classmates and fellow men

 5 : Respect the other martial arts and use the Vovinam Viet Vo Dao only in case of self-defense and for a just cause.

 6 : Never submit itself in front of the tyranny nor in front of the repression.

 7 : Live with purity, simplicity, frankness and honesty.

 8 : Be Lucid in the perception, persevering in the fight, and skillful in the action

 9 : Be master of himself, modest and tolerant

 1 : Attain the highest level of art to serve humanity

 2 : Being faithful to the ideal of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao and be devoted to  cause

 3 : trictly observe discipline, placing honor above all

 4 : Always be united, respect the Masters and elders, loving classmates

 5 : Respect others Arts and use the Vovinam Viet Vo Dao in case of legitimate defense

 6 : Cultivate knowledge, forge the Spirit, progress in the way

 7 : Live with honesty, simplicity, fidelity and nobility of spirit

 8 : Develop an steel will, overcome difficulties

 9 : Being lucid, persevering and active

 10 : To be master of himself, modest, respectful, tolerant and forward by judging himself

III. Meanings and explanations of 9 liabilities/commitments of practitioner of  Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo

1 - Change in terms too context-specific Vietnamese : After reviewing all proposals, we decided to change only what is necessary in international development, that is to say all the words and expressions that are too specific to the Vietnamese context, not suitable for development movements of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao in the world.

2 - Use of the word "commitment" (or oath) : We chose the word "commitment" (or oath) rather than "fundamental principles", because the fundamentals principles are reminiscent of the religions in the context of Vietnam year 60s, and even today. For the purposes of worldwide development, we prefer the word "commitment" to leave the Vietnamese context and to avoid confusion with the religious domain.

3 - Change the word "discipline" (Commitment n°3) in "deontology" because that word has a wider meaning.

4 - Nine commitments and three domains : The nine commitments are grouped in three scientific domains :

    • Commitment to the Vovinam Viet Vo Dao: commitments 1, 2 and 3 deal the duty and responsibility to his school.
    • Commitment to the fellow men: commitments 4, 5, and 6 discuss the relationships with others.
    • Personal Commitments: Commitments 7, 8 and 9 relate to himself, behavior, values and qualities to be a worthy practitioner of Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo.

5 - The Vovinam Viet Vo Dao is not an organization that requires dictatorship to his members, but a community of people sharing the same values and that works in the respect for democracy. This is why the word "commitment" is proposed to be based on respect for freedom of each practitioner.

IV. Conclusion

On the way of our martial art development in the international scale and in the objective of continuous improvement of our ancestral values, we are convinced that with the experience and the participation of all Masters, we can build together a modern system of thoughts for the Vovinam Viet Vo Dao, answering the wishes of our founding Master NGUYEN Loc and so contributing to the wealth of the universal culture.

The World Council of Masters of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao
Masters Ngô Hữu Liễn & Nguyễn Văn Cường