Belt system, the uniforms and the colors

From 1938-1964, there was no official uniform. 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 "Việt Võ Đạo 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 Việt Võ Đạo outside Vietnam. One of the decisions was that the suit in Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo are now to be blue worldwide.

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 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 Grandmaster 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.

History of Vovinam

The founder of Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo is Nguyễn Lộc.
In his younger years he was training traditional, Vietnamese martial arts. At that time Vietnam had to endure almost 100 years of French colonialization. To his belief a strong nation could only arise if its youth was trained - a strong body, a clear mind, and a "pure" soul. He was determined to make changes.
He began studying various martial arts. He read books about history, arts, health, philosophy and religion. He united all his experiences in a new martial art and philosophy. It was so far patriotically influenced as it was made by a Vietnamese for Vietnamese people.
The variety of the sources is reflected in the variety of the techniques.
In 1938 Nguyễn Lộc introduced Vovinam to the public.
Vovinam spread the world by Vietnamese emigrating from Vietnam mostly over France. After Nguyễn Lộc's death 1960 Le Sang took worldwide responsible for the further development and the worldwide


The form of the yellow Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo logo is composed from a rectangle and a circle, angular at the top, round at the bottom. This form symbolizes the perfection of the hard and soft, the truth, good and the beautiful.
The logo is framed in a marine blue color. The red text "Vovinam" is written above the marine blue "Việt Võ Đạo". Its pointing letters show the way to the destination. Underneath lie the two poles Yin (red) and Yang (marine blue).
In the middle of the two poles the yellow map of Vietnam can be found. The symbol of Yin and Yang is framed by a thick, white circle, symbolizing the being of the Dao, with the mission to mediate in between Yin and Yang, to subdue the two, to enable life of all beings.

Hard and soft

The Yin & Yang-Theory (Vietnamese: "Âm-Dương") states that everything in the universe and on earth is initiated through the interrelation of Yin (negative) and Yang (positive). As to this theory there are martial arts that prefer the hard over the soft and others that prefer the soft over the hard. Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo does not prefer any over the other. Hard and Soft are used equally to adapt to every situation, to every problem.
Based on Võ-Thuật the student aims to develop the ability to combine hard and soft at the right relation, in combat and in daily life. This aiming to develop both physical abilities as well as the student's spirit. Not only the principle of the harmony of hard and soft but also many other things resulting from the training contribute to internalizing the martial art philosophy, e.g. fighting spirit, courage, tenacity, fairness, modesty and tolerance. Above all the training morality and the way of applying the techniques shape the students' character.
The greatest difficulty is to see through ones own ego and then to overcome it.
On success in doing so the Vovinam student will gain generosity and tolerance with other people.
With the awareness that the most important thing in life of a human are other humans the final goal is to be able to not only help oneself but also to help others to live in peace and harmony with ones surrounding.
With the salutation, "Iron Hand over benevolent heart" the student is reminded about the main principle and about the goal of Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo with every training. It is also about using the opponent's force and reaction, hence reach maximum effect with little force/effort.


Vovinam (Vietnamese: Việt Võ Đạo, Martial Arts of Vietnam) is a Vietnamese martial art.
Vovinam is practiced with and without weapons. It is based on the principle of between hard and soft. It includes training of the body as well as the mind. It uses force and reaction of the opponent. Vovinam also includes hand, elbow, kicks, escape- and levering techniques. Both attack and defense techniques are trained, as well as forms, combat and traditional wrestling. The wide range of techniques include punching, kicking etc. as well as forms, wrestling, sword, staff, axe, folding fan and others.
Self defense techniques cover defense against weaponless attacks like choking from behind and defense against attacks with knife or sword. Advanced students learn to combine the techniques and learn to defend themselves against armed opponents. Instructors train traditional weapons like the long stick, short stick, knife, sword and sabre. Thereby the weapons serve as training devices for reaching optimal control of body and mind