While the progress of Vovinam discipline had just began
and there were still many tasks to overcome, Founder Nguyen Loc unexpectedly
passed away on April 29, 1960 (April 4, 1960, year of the Rat, according to
Lunar Calendar). Before passing away, Founder Nguyen Loc appointed his most
senior disciple, Le Sang, to continue his missions. Founder Nguyen Loc was then
buried in the Mac Dinh Chi cemetery, Saigon. Then on every April 4 (lunar
calendar), all the disciples gather in front of his tomb to pay respect to him.
November 11, 1960, since Master Pham Loi of Judo participated in the coupe led
by General Nguyen Chanh Thi, the Ngo administration prohibited many martial art
disciplines, including Vovinam from functioning. All the training centers were
banned. All the masters either dispersed or were drafted into the army.
However, despite of the hardships, Master Tran Huy Phong still continued the
missions set forth by the Founder. He secretly trained many disciples in
schools where he taught such as Thang Long, Ho Vu, St. Thomas. Therefore, he
had created a task force of young, courageous instructors who became the
foundation of Vovinam in the future.
November 1, 1963, the Ngo Dinh Diem administration had fallen after a coup led
by the military. Then a military government was established, and the ban of
martial arts was annulled. All martial art disciplines were no longer being
restricted, and started to appear. In 1964, all the leading Vovinam Masters met
and formed the new discipline of martial arts. "VIET VO DAO" ("THE PHILOSOPHY
OF VIETNAMESE MARTIAL ARTS") was added to become "VOVINAM-VIET VO DAO." The
Council of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao is also formed.
The Council of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao had two
Training Commission directed by Grand Master
Le Sang who was responsible to develop the training curriculum and to
certify masters and instructors.
Viet Vo Dao Youth Association led by Master
Tran Huy Phong was responsible for youth and social activities.
hierarchy of the Council of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao:
Grand Master: Master Le Sang
Assistant Grand Master and Director of Planning
Commission: Master Tran Huy Phong
General Secretary: Master Phan Quynh
Treasurer: Master Nguyen Van Cuong
Director of Public Relation Commission: Master
Phung Manh Chu
Director of General Management Commission:
Master Nguyen Van Thu
Director of Justice Commission: Master Ngo Huu
Director of Ceremony Commission: Master Tran
Director of the Treasury Commission: Master
Training Commission: Master Tran Huy Phong
(Director), Nguyen Van Thu, Tran Duc Hop, NguyenVan Thong, Tran The Phuong.
Council of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao also established the rank hierarchy and uniforms
as well as a training curriculum according to the rank.
ranks of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao is as follow:
White Belt: Grand Master Le Sang
Red Belt II: Master Tran Huy Phong
Red Belt I: Masters Nguyen Van Thu
Yellow-Stripe Red Belt: Masters Nguyen Van Thong, Tran Duc Hop, Phung Manh Chu,
Tran Ban Que, Phan Quynh, Ngo Huu Lien, Nguyen Van Cuong, Tran The Phuong.
Yellow Belt II: Senior Instructors Trinh Ngoc
Minh, Cao Van Cat
Yellow Belt I: Instructors Nguyen Duc Quynh Ky, Nguyen Van Le, Lien Quoc, To
Yellow Belt: Assistant Instructor Nguyen Van Thai
first training center was opened in 61 Vinh Vien (Eternal) Street, Saigon; then
numerous training centers were also opened in Saigon such as Tran Hung Dao, Hoa
Lu... The philosophical knowledge was also researched and published.
1965, Master Phung Manh Chu, Director of Public Relations Committee, was
successful in bringing Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao to the "New School Deal" program of
the Education Department. The program started first in four public high
schools: Chu Van An, Petrus Truong Vinh Ky, Trung Vuong, and Gia Long; then
followed by other pulic schools such as Nguyen Trai, Vo Truong Toan, Le Van
Duyet, Tran Luc, Ho Ngoc Can, Mac Dinh Chi... as well as private schools in
Saigon - Gia Dinh. During this time, the new training curriculum was developed
from Self-Defense to Master levels. The philosophical knowledge of Vovinam-Viet
Vo Dao was also taught during class.
Because of his good public relations and communication skills, Master Manh
Hoang managed to secure two large centers for Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao from 1965 to
April 1975. Those were the Hoa Lu stadium (later named the Youth Training
Center by Master Tran Huy Phong), 2 Bis Dinh Tien Hoang street, and the Lam Son
stadium, Tran Binh Trong street, behind the Petrus Truong Vinh Ky high school.
Since the number of students practicing Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao increased rapidly
after a short period of time, hundreds of classes were opened and admitted
thousands of students in Saigon and provinces. There was a serious need for
instructors. Many masters and instructors had to teach 10-11 hours a day, seven
days a week; even the third-degree blue belt students were required to teach.
Finally, because of high demand and low supply, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao had to
refuse to open new classes.
early 1966, Master Manh Hoang persuaded the National Police Department to allow
Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao to be taught for the police officers. First many
instructor-training classes were initiated in the National Police Headquarter,
and the newly instructors were sent to the regional police departments to start
Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao there. Even Grand Master Le Sang and the masters like
Nguyen Van Thong, Phan Quynh, Trinh Ngoc Minh, Le Cong Danh, Tran Van Be...
taught these classes. In the same time, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao collected a
financial grant from the police funds.
1966, South Korea persuades the Central Military Command of the Republic of
Vietnam to allow Teakwood to be taught solely in the army. Upon hearing that
decision, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao declared that this was a shame to the Vietnamese
martial arts of more than 4000 years. On the National Sorrow Day, July 20,
1966, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao organized a vigil attended by thousands of disciples
in the Plant-Animal Park (Thao Cam Vien), Saigon to protest the army's use of
foreign martial arts. This vigil, widely supported by the media, touched the
Vietnamese nationwide. Even the Military Intelligence Agency and the
Presidential Political Bureau started to investigated this event and the
organizers. Even master Manh Hoang, Tran Huy Phong, Phan Quynh... were
personally interrogated by Colonel Thang, Director of the Military Intelligence
Agency. However, because of the persistence and the just cause, the Central
Military Command issues a second order to allow Vovinam, Judo and Taekwondo to
be taught in the military.
early 1967, Master Manh Hoang convinced Lieutenant Colonel Thuy of the Military
Police of the III Corps to open many training sessions for the Military Police
in Bien Hoa.
late 1967, Master Manh Hoang passed away unexpectedly because of advanced
diabetes. Only 29, Master Manh Hoang made many great contributions to the
growth of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao in the 60s.
From 1968, Vovinamization of Armed Forces was initiated in the Central Military
Command, the 18th Army Division, the Military Police of the III Corps, the Air
Force and Naval Academy of Nha Trang, the IV Corps, the IV Reinforcement Corps,
the 16th Armor Division, the 81th Airborne Brigade, the 21st Army Division, the
9th Army Division Academy, the Navy of Long Xuyen, the Navy of Binh Thuy, the
3rd Army Division... In the same year, Vovinamization of Rural Development
Officials was initiated with the participation of tens of thousands of Rural
Development Officials in Saigon and other provinces and villages.
early 1968, during the Tet Offensive event, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao helped many
victims of war in Saigon. This touched the hearts of many people.
1968, the Chief Instruction Commission was established in 30 Tran Hoang Quan
Street, Saigon, together with the formation of Viet Vo Dao Association and Viet
Vo Dao Youth Association. The Grand Master also appointed Master Tran Huy Phong
as head of Viet Vo Dao Youth Association.
After that, many masters and instructors were sent to many provinces to promote
Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao: Trinh Ngoc Minh (Nha Trang), Tran Tan Vu (Phu Yen), Ngo
Kim Tuyen (Binh Duong), Nguyen Van Chieu (Quy Nhon), Nguyen Van Nhan and Nguyen
Van Sen (Can Tho), Tran Van My (Hau Giang), Duong Minh Nhon (Kien Giang),
Nguyen Ton Khoa (An Giang), Nguyen Van Vang (Vinh Long), Nguyen Van ?t (Ut) (My
Soon later, the Eastern Instruction Commission was established in the province
of Long Khanh under Master Tran Duc Hop and Central Instruction Commission was
established in the province of Khanh Hoa under Master Trinh Ngoc Minh. In 1969,
the Western Instruction Commission was established in the province of Long
Xuyen (then moved to Can Tho) under Master Nguyen Van Nhan. In 1970, the
Northwestern Instruction Commission was established in the province of Binh
Duonng under Master Ngo Kim Tuyen.
Every year, on the occasion of the Commemorating Day of the late Founder, many
Masters everywhere returned to Saigon to attend the Commemorating Ceremony as
well as attended the special training sessions and promotion examinations. This
created a good tradition within Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao. The Grand Master and many
high-level masters frequently visited many provinces, cities, and towns to
support and examine the progress of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao nationwide. Beside
martial arts training and character building, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao also
encouraged its disciples to participate in many community and social services.
early 1970, Master Tran Huy Phong established the Community Village of Viet Vo
Dao in Tan Tao village, Binh Chanh district, Gia Dinh province with 3 kilometer
square area. The project created more than 1000 residence unit to be sold to
the disciples and friends. Besides, he and some friends formed the Viet Vo Dao
Agricultural Plant to harvest the agricultural produce for the village. After
April 30, 1975, the Vietnamese Communist regime tich thu (took over illegally)
this property and changed it into the New Economic Zone of Duong Minh Xuan.
late 1970, Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao and many cultural, religious, and political
organizations as well as many celebrities to found the Steering Committee for
the Establishing of King Hung's Altar, and finally the altar was placed in the
Hoa Lu Center. Every year, the National Founder's Ceremony, attended by the
President, legislators, government officials as well as many organizations and
citizens lasted for many days.
1973, the Vovinamization of National Officials was initiated with many training
sessions in Chi Linh Center, Vung Tau.
1974, a group of Vietnamese masters in France requested permission to join
Vovinam because they liked the ideals of Vovinam. As a result, the Grand Master
and the Council of Vovinam approved their request and entrusted them to form
Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao Federation of France. The first Executive Committee
included Prof. Phan Hoang (President), Pham Xuan Tong, Nguyen Dan, Phu, Hoang
Nam, Nguyen Trung Hoa, Bui Van Thinh, Tran Phuoc Tastayre. The Vovinam-Viet Vo
Dao Federation of France was also responsible for promoting Vovinam in Europe.
Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao also followed many exchange students such as Tran Nguyen
Dao, Nguyen Thi Hue, Tran Dai Chieu, Duong Quan Viet, Ha Chi Thanh... to
France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland...
July 1974, the Grand Master appointed Master Tran Huy Phong as head of the
Chief Instruction Commission and Master Nguyen Van Thong as the new head of the
Viet Vo Dao Youth Association.