Vietnamese martial arts seek UNESCO title

The People’s Committee of Binh Dinh Province is currently working on submitting a request for UNESCO recognition of its traditional martial arts as an intangible part of humanity’s cultural heritage.

Vietnamese martial arts seek UNESCO title
Binh Dinh martial arts seek UNESCO title as an intangible part of humanity’s cultural heritage.

As part of its efforts to achieve recognition, the province has requested the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to send a dossier to the Government in order to consider and submit the proposal to UNESCO.

Binh Dinh represents one of the cradles of traditional Vietnamese martial arts, with this type of combat reaching its most glorious period during the era of the Tay Son dynasty.

During this period, tests were held and a training system was developed for both soldiers and generals. Indeed, they were thoroughly researched and applied to combat situations, with many martial arts schools opening in the province.

The martial arts developed as a fusion of different kinds of local sects, leading to the creation of a more powerful form.

Most notably, peasant leader Nguyen Hue, who later became King Quang Trung in 1788, led the Tay Son insurgents in the fight against the corrupt feudal government and foreign invaders.

Legend has it that the Tay Son army never lost a battle thanks to the martial arts they practiced helping them to become invincible.

Following the death of King Quang Trung, the throne subsequently passed to King Nguyen Anh who pursued a policy of demolishing all the vestiges of the predecessor, including the practice of martial arts.

This marked the darkest period for the combat form as it gradually began to fade from importance.

 

Despite this decline, it remained a vital part of daily life for some and was still secretly taught and practiced by local people, and handed down to the future generations.

In the modern era, Binh Dinh now holds a special festival in honour of the famous battle fought by King Quang Trung, known as Ngoc Hoi-Dong Da, an event which occurred when he led his army to fight the invading Chinese Yuan troops in 1789.

Victory for the Vietnamese forces came on the fifth day of the first lunar month.

To mark that day, Binh Dinh Province holds an annual festival during which traditional martial arts and games are performed, attracting thousands of visitors.

In 2012 the Vietnamese Government recognised Binh Dinh traditional martial arts as part of national heritage.

VOV

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