Tu Than

Tu Than (Vietnamese for “to improve oneself”) is a Vietnamese martial art developed in the 1970’s by Nguyen Ngoc-Thach. Tu-Than teaches self-defense and fosters physical and mental awareness. It does not have competitions nor does it have a belt system.

Historians of Vietnamese Martial Arts usually trace the roots to Vietnam’s origin (first settlement on this territory date back to 2879 B.C.), during Hung Vuong dinasty. A more realistic date seems to be about the X-XI centuries A.D. At this time a state was founded in the area of today’s northern Vietnam.

Its name changed – Nam Viet, Dai Co Viet, or simply Dai Viet (“Great Viet”). Great Viet State grew and got stronger during continuous wars against mountain tribes, Khmers, Chams (their state, in the South of today’s Vietnam, was finally conquered at 1471), and China. There were a lot of wars between China and Vietnam. Sometimes the Vietnamese won, sometimes the Chinese
conquered Vietnam.

Many martial arts were created during XVI-XVIII centuries, when Vietnam was separated in several states. It was a good situation for the developing of martial arts. Many martial arts surfaced during the Tay Son Rebellion (1771- Master Nguyen Loc Master Phan Hoang 1788), the first serious attempt for unifying the country.

The rebel’s base was in Binh Dinh Province which still is a place with many martial arts. The country was finally united at the beginning of XIX century. But during the period of 1858-1884 Vietnam was conquered by France and became its colony. During the colonisation martial arts had to be kept underground and were transferred in family schools only, from father to son. Studying was kept secret, students assured to never use their martial art without serious reason and to not divulge its secrets.