Vovinam Belt System

The Vovinam | Vovinam Belt System | Vovinam Description | Vovinam Grand Master | Vovinam Grand Master Sang Le | Vovinam History | Vovinam Overview | Vovinam Philosophy | Vovinam Ten Principles

Uniforms: From 1938-1964, there was no official uniforms. In 1964, the first Council of Masters was gathered to codify Vovinam. The color Blue was adopted as the official color for Vovinam uniforms. A separate development of the “Viet Vo Dao Federation” in 1973 until 1990 the uniforms’ color was black.

Summer 1990 the Vovinam Masters met. This meeting had the goal to create a structured organization for Vovinam Viet Vo Dao outside Vietnam. One of the decisions was that the suit in Vovinam Viet Vo Dao are now to be blue worldwide.

Belts: The adult begins with a light blue belt – the same color as his/her suit. He then is a “Võ Sinh”, a student aspirant. The old school Vovinam had two navy blue stripes before getting the Navy Blue Belt. But recently, some Vovinam schools have changed under the direction of Le Sang and do not have a Light Blue Belt 1 stripe, or two.

Following the light blue is the dark blue belt. Then he/she is a “Mon Sinh”, a student.

Blue stands for the factor of the sea, and the hope – the hope in being successful in learning Vovinam.

With the following 3 exams yellow stripes are added to the blue belt. The 3rd yellow stripe is followed by the yellow belt. The student has reached the instructor’s level.

Yellow is the Asians’ skin color. It symbolically stands for the skin color of all people. It symbolizes the “skin deep” internalization of the martial art and the philosophy.

In other martial arts this belt is black. Therefore a Vovinam student who carries a yellow belt is allowed to carry a black belt. This makes a comparison to other martial arts easier, eg. in public performances. A person who wears a yellow belt with one or more stripes is considered an instructor.

Following in a longer period of time, respectively 3 red stripes are added to the yellow belt. This corresponds to the 1st, 2nd, respectively 3rd Dang (Dan). The exam following the 3rd red stripe is the master’s exam. Passing the exam successfully assigns the right to wear a red belt with a circulating yellow border.

Red stands for the blood and the intensive flame. The student has internalized Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao even further. The 5th to 10th Dang are shown as a completed red belt with 1 to 6 white stripes.

White stands for the infiniteness, the bones; is the symbol of the depth of the spirit. The white belt assigns the master the absolute mastery of Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao.

On the white belt thin, lengthwise stripes in blue, yellow and red symbolize the whole of Vovinam Viêt Võ Dao again. This belt is reserved for the “Patriarch”. 2005 this is Granmaster Le Sang.

Name Plates: With every change of belt color the name plate color changes. Blue belt students start off with yellow text on blue name plates. With the yellow belt the name plate changes to red text on yellow ground. The red belt comes along with white text on a red name plate. The patriarch carries red text on a white name plate. Thin, colored lines in blue, yellow and red are shown on the upper and lower borders of this white name plate.

Specialties: Vovinam has some specialised techniques:

  • “Don Chan”: A group of leg grappling techniques that are designed to grab the opponent by the feet or legs and take them down using twisting motions usable as a surprise attack in a fight.
  • “Dam Lao”: A fist swung eg. to the temple.
  • “Da Canh”: A diagonally applied kick.

SEA Games: On September of 2006, Vietnam hosted the eye opening event of the 5th World Vovinam Tournament at an international level. It became one of the sports that will be in SEA Games (Southeast Asia Games).