Vovinam Việt Võ Đạo was founded by grandmaster Nguyễn Lộc (1912 – 1960) in 1938. Founder Master Nguyễn was born in Northern Vietnam, ThạchThất District, SơnTây Province (now ThạchThất, Hà Nội). Growing up in the French colonial period, as a young man Nguyễn Lộc was hurt to see the younger generation being affected by French authorities with Western games, causing a decline in patriotism and combat power, weakening their minds and making them forget that the country was being ruled by foreigners.
Since being a child, Nguyễn Lộc had practiced martial arts. With a sharp mind and enduring spirit he had achieved a high level in this field. After years of keeping his vision inside, he thought of the way the Vietnamese youth could know about reliance, patriotism, national spirit, a key to open their potential: Vovinam.
Vovinam martial arts make use of traditional Vietnamese martial arts as a base and, added to that, key aspects of other forms of martial arts from around the world. Vovinam uses various techniques created based on the principle of “Cương Nhu phối triển” which means “soft and hard co-development”. In hard there is soft, in soft there is hard. To go hand in hand with martial arts, Founder Master Nguyễn Lộc proposed the doctrine of ���Mind Body Revolution”, according to which disciples must always shine for themselves, live clean and contribute positively to society. They must not be aggressive but rather be assertive, use martial arts to develop the body and mind, cultivating mental alertness and to put community and country ahead of themselves. That is the goal of Vovinam Martial Arts.
Vovinam became known as Vovinam – Việt Võ Đạo. Vovinam is easier for non-Vietnamese practitioners to pronounce, which facilitated its turning into a global practice. The fate of Vovinam has been up in the air, floating along with the ups and downs of the country’s history. Currently thousands of people around the world practice the Vietnamese Vovinam martial arts every day.
In Canada, in February 2001, Canadian Federation of Vovinam – Việt Võ Đạo was established in Vancouver, including three centres: Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. Montreal joined the Canadian Federation later. The Canadian Federation is a member of the Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao World Federation which is located in Paris, France.
The Vovinam Training Centre in Vancouver was established in 1996. In 1999, a second training center in Vancouver was formed called Vovinam Hoa Lư. Vovinam Hoa Lư was closed in 2008.
Calgary Vovinam Training Center was founded in March 1999. Over the course of more than 12 years of being active in Calgary, Vovinam training center held 18 examinations, allowing 14 students to achieve intermediate rank. Some continue to participate as instructors.
Vovinam Training Centre Toronto (Toronto VVN) was formally established in late 1996. Greater Toronto Area Regional Vovinam has two centers: one in Oakdale community and the other one in Square One, Mississauga.
In 2000, the Vovinam club in Montreal was established. This club is known as “IHTUS” and remains active to this day. Also, Montreal has the “Blue Phoenix” Vovinam club, established in 2011.
Every Vovinam training centre in Canada has been around for more than 10 years, bringing a new martial arts movement to this country of the maple leaf. Most of the students are Vietnamese, and there are also students from other parts of the world training in Calgary and Montreal.
In September 2012, Canadian Federation held its first technical training seminar at Vovinam Toronto, with members of each of the Vovinam training centers affiliated with the Federation participating. This signals a new development for the Canadian Federation of Vovinam – Việt Võ Đạo.
In July 2013 the Canadian Federation organized a national examination for intermediate ranks in Calgary. Ten members have successfully advanced to new ranks in the intermediate category varying from Yellow belt to Yellow belt III.
Most recently the annual technical seminar was held in Montreal in August 2014 with the participation of Vovinam training centers from Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary.