By Anurag Barman
In another proud moment for the state at the recently held 5th World Vovinam Championship,New Delhi from August 01-05, 2017, one of the female competitors from Assam Mitali Upadhaya was successful in clinching the gold medal in the tournament which saw the participation of 26 countries. Interestingly, she was the only competitor from India who was able to grab a gold medal from Indian team.
Vovinam was introduced in Assam by Pappu Khan in 2011. Through his sincere efforts and utter dedication, Vovinam gained popularity and has spread over 10 districts in Assam. It is being practised in several schools and clubs spread across the state. The players have been successfully grabbing medals in district, state, national and international levels under the banner of Assam Vovinam Association. Currently, the Assam Vovinam Association has a significant position in the national level and it is being led by Pappu Khan (4th Dan Black belt) as the Chief Technical Director as well as the General Secretary, Parul Baruah as the President, Dr Hirak Das (2nd Dan Black belt) as the Vice-President and Rabijit Rajkumar (2nd Dan black belt) as the Assistant General Secretary.
The Vietnamese ART
An art is a symbolic representation of a particular ethnic community or region. The formation of any art form traces the traditions and customs of the indigenous folks in where it originated. Like all other art forms, martial arts too get their genesis from different countries. Kung-Fu gets its root from China; on the other hand, Taekwondo was formed in Korea. With increasing affinity towards practicing combat games in the modern age, several martial arts have incepted in different countries around the globe. Out of the various martial art forms that have found its place in the present times, Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial art which is gaining popularity in present times.
Originally named Vo Viet Nam, Vovinam is a versatile martial art which is practised using both bare hands and with various weapons. Like all other conventional martial arts, it has a plethora of techniques including punching, kicking, throwing and other additional tactics of the combat world. A wide range of weapons like swords, staffs, axes and folding fans are used during routine practice. The special technique used in this combat art which makes it different from the other disciplines is the use of scissors. It is a dynamic technique where the attacker swings and holds his two legs from either side of the opponent’s body resembling a pair of scissors with the legs and twists to throw him down. It can be applied on legs, hips as well as in necks.
Tracing down the history of this martial art, it was developed by Nguyen Loc in 1938, with the intent of providing practitioners with an efficient method of self-defense. Nguyen believed that martial arts would contribute to freeing Vietnam, which had been ruled by France since 1859. Thus, he introduced Vovinam by amalgamating his own knowledge of traditional Vietnamese martial arts and elements of Japanese and Korean systems, with a vision to promote the sense of national identity of the Vietnamese people. With the passage of time, Vovinam went on to become a full- fledged martial art with a specific dress code and organized ranking system. In other conventional styles like karate and Judo, a black belt is considered as the highest competence level but in case of Vovinam, a practitioner is given a yellow belt who has attained the same level of performance.
Gaining momentum at a fast pace, Vovinam has earned a lot of fame in today’s time and is being widely practiced in several countries across the world. It is affiliated to the Olympic Council of Asia. In India, Vovinam has grown up within a short time and spread across 21 states, especially in the Northeastern region. It has been included in the School Games federation of India and there are reports that it may soon be recognized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Welfare, Govt. of India as a full contact combat sport. If that happens, it won’t take much time for Vovinam to be included in the prestigious National Games. It must be noted that the Vovinam Association of India had recently hosted the 5th World Vovinam Championship in New Delhi in August, 2017.
In the coming times, Vovinam will surely be taken up by the masses and prove worthy of being the one of its kind.