Grand Master Le Sang – the admirable successor of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao.
Master Le Sang was born in Autumn of 1920 at the province of Thanh Hoa, Ha Noi. He was the eldest son to Le Van Hien (1887-1959) and Nguyen Thi Mui (1887-1993). His two younger sisters are Master Le Thi Xuat and Le Thi Huong.
His illness in 1939 has left Master Le Sang’s legs injured with difficulties. Taking his mother’s advice, he agreed to practice martial arts in order to strengthen his legs and to improve his physical health as a whole. In Autumn of 1940, Master Le Sang started his martial arts practice with Vovinam at Ecole Normale College of Education with Grand Master Nguyen Loc. With his natural abilities, intelligence, hard work and an earning for learning, Master Le Sang has well surpassed his physical difficulties and tremendously improved in his martial arts discipline. After only a few years of training, Grand Master Nguyen Loc recommended him to be one of the Vovinam instructors in Ha Noi. From then on, he has respectfully followed Grand Master Nguyen Loc to teach Vovinam all around the country, treating him not only as a teacher but also like his true blood brother.
In 1954, he followed Grand Master Nguyen Loc to Saigon. Under Grand Master Nguyen Loc guidance, Master Le Sang has opened multiple Vovinam schools. When Grand Master Nguyen Loc fell ill in 1957, Master Le Sang continued to teach and opened several more schools. In April of 1960, before his death, Grand Master Nguyen Loc officially pronounced Master Le Sang as the next Grand Master of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao.
Due to the social and political environment of the 1960s in Vietnam, Grand Master Le Sang had no choice but to leave Saigon and sought work at Buon Me Thuot. At the end of 1963 when the Vietnamese government allowed for the re-opening of the martial arts disciplines, Grand Master Le Sang returned to Saigon. He restarted, strengthened and expanded Vovinam with the assistance of his fellow Vovinam friends and disciples.
As a perceptive and intelligent disciple of Grand Master Nguyen Loc for nearly 20 years, Grand Master Le Sang not only has mastered the technical skills, but he fully understood and grasped the Vovinam ideology as well as its philosophy of life. With his determination and full support among the Vovinam disciples, Grand Master Le Sang has widely spread the teachings of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao. He continued to broaden Grand Master Nguyen Loc principles and attitudes towards humanity. These principles include “to live for oneself, to help others live and to live for others.” A Vovinam disciple not only understands how to live a positive lifestyle, but he must have a sense of responsibility to assist and support others who are in need as well as having a willingness to sacrifice for the sake of humanity. Not only did Grand Master Le Sang continued the teachings of Grand Master Nguyen Loc, but he had dedicated his life to further study, researched and advanced the martial arts discipline of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao around the world. Under his guidance, Vovinam has spread and extended beyond Vietnam to France in 1973. With a lifetime of his contributions, Grand Master Le Sang is the foundation of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao movement that has widely spread to more than 40 countries around the world, carrying the traditions and cultures of Vietnam.
Besides his responsibilities with Vovinam, Grand Master Le Sang also participated and held several offices with different organizations. He was a multi-talented and well versed individual. Many of his poems were transformed into music. He was a thoughtful and simple man, who often helped his friends and others around him. He wholeheartedly taught his students with love and forgiveness. He was a dutiful son to his parents.
Although the past year has been physically challenging for Grand Master Le Sang, he was mentally perceptive and optimistic. He continued his duties and responsibilities. He officially passed his leadership to the newly founded organizations consisting of high ranking masters.
Living a single lifestyle with no family responsibilities, akin to reading and understood the Orient philosophy, Grand Master Le Sang is the only true admirable and respectful successor to Grand Master Nguyen Loc. With his talent and ethical principles, Grand Master Le Sang has dedicated his entire life to preserve, continue and develop the martial arts discipline of Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao.
Sadly, after many years of fighting his illness, Grand Master Le Sang has passed away on September 27, 2010. He was 91 years old. His death marks an enormous loss to the martial arts world, especially to all disciples of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao around the globe.