What have you learned and achieved during all of your years in Vovinam?

First place essay from the Yellow Belt Exam in Mississauga – July 1st 2018.

I have studied Vovinam for over six years.  During this time, I have greatly improved my physical and mental health through the practice of Vovinam in addition to learning numerous life lessons from Vovinam philosophy.  I have also learned, developed and further improved important personal skills.

Over the many years of attending Vovinam classes, I have learned various techniques that enable me to defend myself in dangerous scenarios.  For example, I know how to defend myself when someone grabs my hair, tries to choke me, or wields a knife. Aside from self-defence, Vovinam practice has also helped me achieve better physical health.  Through rigorous training, Vovinam has helped me improve my strength, stamina, speed and flexibility. Vovinam training has helped me adopt a healthier lifestyle by ensuring that I have sufficient physical activity.

Vovinam philosophy has taught me many life lessons too.  It has taught me that respect is one of the most essential aspects of discipline.  One must respect their teachers, their peers and the rules of the training hall. A teacher will not teach if they are not respected and a student will not want to learn if they are not respected themselves. The necessity of mutual respect is conductive of a positive learning environment.  I have come to understand that respect is critical for learning and that learning is critical for improving oneself as martial artist and as a person. Vovinam philosophy has also taught me the importance of trust and teamwork. In life, many activities cannot be achieved alone. In order to complete projects, people often work in teams to leverage the various points of view.  The same applies to Vovinam where a student learns from their teacher and trains with their partner. To ensure success when working with someone else, you must first establish trust between the different parties. This aspect is exemplified in “Song Luyện 1” and “Song Luyện Vật” where partners must work together to perform the flips safely. I have also learned the importance of perseverance as one cannot truly succeed if one does not try.  Vovinam has many techniques that are difficult to perform and therefore require a lot of practice, patience, and perseverance to see improvements. The lessons that I have learned in Vovinam over the years have helped me build a better character and improve my mental fortitude.

During several years of training, Vovinam has helped me develop personal skills that are essential to success in Vovinam training and in life.  As a full time student, completing homework and studying while attending Vovinam classes helped me improve my time management. Leading some Vovinam warm-up sessions has helped develop my leadership skills.  Learning difficult techniques has taught me to be more observant and improved my detail orientation. Holding stances has taught me patience. By taking Vovinam tests to reach higher belt levels, my stress management skills have improved.  I have learned and honed several useful personal skills over the years of studying Vovinam. These skills will help me achieve many more things going forward in life.

All the years that I have spent in Vovinam has taught me important life skills and unforgettable lessons which have helped me develop as a person.  Learning and practicing Vovinam techniques have helped me achieve a healthier lifestyle by integrating more physical activity into my lifestyle. Vovinam philosophy taught me how to live a life filled with discipline, perseverance, and dignity.

– Thịnh Nguyễn