The Creation of the Martial Art of Viet Quyen Dao

Viet Quyen Dao is a Vietnamese martial art, which is not a part of Viet Vo Dao, despite popular belief. Viet Vo Dao was created by a master Nguyen Loc, in Thang Long, which is in North Vietnam.

Viet Quyen Dao, on the other hand, was created in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in South Vietnam by a university professor named Dao Tuan Ngoc. Master Ngoc began his martial arts training in high school in the 1950s, and became one of the first Vietnamese individuals to attain a 4th degree black belt in the World Tae Kwon Do Federation. In addition, he was the former technical director of the Vietnam Tae Kwon Do Association. Master Ngoc created Viet Quyen Dao with the hope to bring a separate martial art to the young Vietnamese generation that included both the spirit and technique of Asian martial arts.

The Spirit of Viet Quyen Dao

Master Ngoc believes that there are two types of people who study martial arts today:

1.) People who are very physically active, who see martial arts for sport, and train very hard. They like sparring and interactive exercises. Such people like to compete and ignore any teachings related to the spiritual factors of the martial art, and take meditation, Zen exercises, and other spiritual activities related to the martial art lightly.

2.) The second type of people who study martial arts includes those who are more intellectual - those who love martial arts and train in order to advance in rank and display their abilities. They like forms and individual exercises. They understand the reasons and are serious about the spiritual factors of the martial art, but are afraid of physical contact, and tend to be more self-competitive.

Master Ngoc hoped to bring the best of both types together, so that the mind, body, and spirit are working together. Meditation and Zen exercises are emphasized in Viet Quyen Dao, as well as physical activities. He teaches his students to be outgoing, to have discipline, respect, and understanding for other individuals, and to discard the ideas of winning and losing, by emphasizing a harmonious and humble lifestyle with a free spirit. Outside from physical training students might also meet instead to do community service.

The underlying purpose of having such a profound inner strength in Viet Quyen Dao is so that the students can realize and perfect their own weaknesses, and a balance of both physical and spiritual factors in not only practicing the martial art, but in life. (also see How I realized the balance of Yin and Yang to read a personal experience about this from when I was a young student of Viet Quyen Dao)

Physical Training and Techniques of Viet Quyen Dao

At the same time that he teaches spiritual and mental factors of martial arts, Master Ngoc encourages difficult training where students need patience and endurance to survive.

The style of Viet Quyen Dao uses the hand techniques of Japanese Aikido, the elbow and knee techniques of Aikido and Thai Kickboxing, and the foot techniques of Tae Kwon Do and Thai Kickboxing. Emphasis is on quick, strong, and exact movements, and staying balanced. The footwork involved is mostly in a relaxed standing position.

There are 16 forms, the first one has 18 techniques, and it is very simple. Students can learn it in a month. However, Master Ngoc makes a clear distinction between just learning a form and practicing it to perfection. After 10 years of training, I am still unsatisfied with my first form.

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