Level 1 - Philosophical Knowledge for Self-Defense Viet Vo Dao

Required for Promotion to Blue Belt

I. The Ten Pledges:

As a Viet Vo Dao Disciple, I shall:

  • Strive to reach the height of martial arts in order to serve mankind.

  • Faithfully build up my martial arts discipline and develop a new generation of Vovinam youth.

  • Live in harmony with others, respect my seniors and love my fellow disciples.

  • Absolutely obey Vovinam's rules and regulations, and uphold the honor of a martial artist.

  • Respect other disciples of martial arts, and only use force for self-defense and defense of justice.

  • Work hard for personal and ethical enrichment.

  • Live an honest, modest, and noble life.

  • Develop the firm will to overcome all obstacles in life.

  • Develop sound judgment and stamina, and act with wisdom

  • Be self-confident, self-controlled, and benevolent; and constantly review myself to strive for improvements.

II. The Meaning of the Ten Pledges:

  • The first pledge is about the ideal and purpose of practicing martial arts.

  • The second pledge is about the disciple's obligations toward Vovinam and the people.

  • The third pledge is about the unity among Vovinam disciples.

  • The fourth pledge is about the discipline and the honor of the martial artist.

  • The fifth pledge is about the awareness of using martial arts.

  • The sixth pledge is about the direction of learning and the ethical thinking of a disciple.

  • The seventh pledge is about the goals of living

  • The eighth pledge is about will power through training.

  • The ninth pledge is about how one must think, make decision and act correctly and practically.

  • The tenth pledge is about the positive traits a Vovinam disciple must have.

The Philosophical Questions:

1. What is Vovinam?

Vovinam is the internationalized word of the combined phrase "Martial Arts of Vietnam".
- Vo: stand for "Võ", which means "Martial Arts".
- Vinam: stands for "Vietnam", the country in which Vovinam originated from.

2. Why is Vovinam still known as "Viet Vo Dao"?

Vovinam has two divisions:

  • "Viet Vo Thuat" means techniques of Vietnamese martial arts.
  • "Viet Vo Dao" means philosophy/ethics of Vietnamese martial arts.

Therefore, Vovinam is the root, the origin while Viet Vo Dao is the fruit, the result after years of development. Vovinam or Viet Vo Dao are both correct. However, the correct way to say it is "Vovinam-Viet Vo Dao"

3. Why does a Vovinam disciple put the right hand on the heart during the saluting routine?

The right hand is interpreted as the steel hand, and the heart is interpreted as the benevolent heart. The whole routine means that a Vovinam disciple must combine courage, benevolence, technique and philosophy. Vovinam disciples can only use martial arts to warn, or convert any individuals, not to punish or seek reveng.

4. What is the basic rules regarding entering the training hall?

A Vovinam disciple must know these three basic rules:

  1. Be on time. When being late, one must inform the Master or the Instructor. A disciple missing class must have an excuse.
  2. During the training, one must practice hard and be friendly/helpful to one's peers.
  3. When approaching a senior (a Master, an Instructor, or a senior disciple), one must salute to show respect to that person. Upon arriving and before leaving the training hall, one must salute to the portrait of the Founder.


translated by Linh Thai - copy edited by Uy Tran.
(Required for Promotion to Blue Belt) - vovinamus.com