The Cultural Heritage
of Traditional Martial Arts Studies





Battlefield Martial Arts Lineages

Bình-Định Tây-Sơn




Đức Lưu Quang
Đức Độ Tỏa Sáng
The Virtue Lights up


        When we talk about the subject of Việt-Nam's Traditional Martial Arts Schools, and above all those of «Battle Fields Martial Arts - Võ Trận» from Bình-Định's Martial Arts Lands, we must absolutely talk about «Martial Arts Lineages of Origin - Dòng Võ Gốc», that means Martial Arts Lineages which could enjoy authentic Vietnamese Martial Arts School System inherited from Father to Son in a true transmission.

Grand Master Nguyễn-Văn-Trá
« Khiển Phạn »
Martial Arts Lineage

Grand Master Phạm-Thi
« Khiển Tường »
Martial Arts Lineage

Grand Master Hà-Hân
« Xả Đàng Hà-Hân »
Martial Arts Lineage

Grand Master Lâm-Đình-Thọ
« Hương Kiểm Lài »
Martial Arts Lineage



      The Martial Art studies in Việt-Nam was forged by Five Great Schools Systems :
          1. The « Võ Lâm », Martial Arts from Forests (understood : Martial Arts from Aventurers) ; ;
          2. The « Võ Kinh », Martial Arts from Imperial Capital
          3. The « Võ Cổ-Truyền », Martial Arts from Warlike Tradition
          4. The « Võ Phật-Gia-Quyền », Martial Arts from Buddhists, developed under LÝ Dynasty (1009 ~ 1225) ;
       5. The « Võ Thiếu-Lâm-Tự », Martial Arts from Shao-Lin Temple, imported under SONG Dynasty (960 ~ 1279) and MING Dynasty (1368 ~ 1644).

          The Ancients called them briefly by : Lâm - Kinh -Truyền - Phật-Gia Quyền - Thiếu-Lâm-Tự.

       Thus obviously, except for the whole difference concerning the Martial Arts concept from School System of Shaolin Temple (Võ Thiếu-Lâm-Tự), the Four School System : 1. Võ Lâm ; 2. Võ Kinh ; 3. Võ Cổ-Truyền ; 4. Võ Phật-Gia Quyền from Việt people present also notable differences concerning the Martial Arts concept.


I - The Historic Reality :

     Since the advance of military campaigns towards the South in Posterior LÊ (called of the Restoration) under the reign of Emperor LÊ-Thánh-Tông - 黎聖宗 (1460-1497), after the conquest of Vijya CItadel (Đò-Bàn), capital of Champa, in the pacified region named Bình-Định, this « Võ Cổ-Truyền » quoted previously, inherent in Martial Arts of millenium Warlike from Việt people was able to forge the exceptional Traditional Martial Arts of Bình-Định (iVõ Thuật Cổ-Truyền Bình-Định), it was precisely the Battlefields Martial Art of Bình-Định (Võ Trận Bình-Định).

      Then in Tây-Sơn Dynasty Period (1778-1802) of Three Heros Brothers Nguyễn-Nhạc, Nguyễn-Lữ and Nguyễn-Huệ, these Võ Trận Bình-Định were studied with meticulous care and resolutely developped for war and has been a resounding reputation throughout valiant and heroic vctories in the history. And since at this time the Võ Trận Bình-Định were calledi with esteem and in admiration « Võ Trận Bình-Định Tây-Sơn ».

      That why, Grand Masters as PHẠM-THI (Martial Arts Lneage from Commander TƯỜNG), Ba-PHONG (Martial Arts Lneage from Commanders PHẠN & THI), LÂM-Ngọc-Phú (Martial Arts Lneage from Notable LÀI), HÀ-Trọng-THẤT (Martial Arts Lneage from Mayor HÀ-Hân), etc. have quoted it praises under the appellation well-deserved : Võ Trận Bình-Định Tây-Sơn.

      When Nguyễn Phúc Ánh 阮 福 暎 came on the Impérial Throne with as Name of Reign Gia-Long (嘉隆) (1802-1820) founding the NGUYễN Dynasty (1802-1945) in replacement of TÂY-SƠN Dynasty, the Military Competitive Entrance Examination was abolished and the Võ Trận Bình-Định Tây-Sơn were prevented and prohibited ; however they were always preserved silently by a certain number of Martial Arts Lineages at Bình-Định under the anonymous name of Bình-Định Martial Arts.

     It will take to wait for untill the Minh-Mạng 明命 Emperor Period (1791-1840) of NGUYễN Dynasty for seeing the opening of the Military Recruitment Office in the Three Regions : Huế, Hà-Nội and Thanh-Hóa, in view to select men of talents throughout the Three Sessions of : « Thi-Hương » Examination (Selection of Martial Arts Practitioners), « Thi-Hội » Examination (Selection of Recruited Men) and « Thi-Đình » Examination (Selection of Doctors in Martial Arts - Tạo-Sĩ = Tiến-Sĩ). The rule was to take :
     - the Years of Tiger, of Snake, of Ape and of Pork for opening the Session of Military Recruitment Examination « Thi Hương Võ-Cử » (Regional Military Examination of Martial Arts) ;
    -  the Years of Mouse, of Cat, of Horse anf of Cock for opening the Session of Military Recruitment Examination « Thi Hội Võ-Cử » (Preliminary Military Examination for the Doctorate).

     Then it was at Tự-Đức 嗣德 Emperor Period (1829-1883), during the 17th Year of Reign (the Year of Cat 1867), that lthe Military Recruitment Office was authorized to open at An-Thành Hamlet (belonging now to Nhơn-LộcVillage, An-Nhơn Town) at Bình-Định ; but that was only for the Examination of Recruitment « Thi-Hương » (Regional Military Examination of Martial Arts), and the Examination of Recruitment « Thi-Hội » (Preliminary Military Examination for the Doctorat). Candidates wanting to participate to the Session of Military Recruitement « Thi-Đình » (Military Examination for the Doctorate in Martial Arts) had to go to the Imperial Capital Huể.

      The 33th Year of 'Emperor Tự Đức 嗣德 Reign (he Year of Dragon 1880) was the last year of « Thi-Hội » Examination and « Thi-Đình » Examination of Martial Arts Studies branch under the Reign of Emperor Tự Đức Nguyễn Phúc Hồng Nhậm ( 阮 福 洪 任) (1829-1883) of NGUYỄN Dynasty (1802-1945). Since then, the traditional Examination of Military Recruitment was abandoned for ever and Martial Arts with specific Martial Tradition of Việt people did not encouraged any more by the nation but they was only preserved and conserved in the silence by a well rare number of Lineages of Battlefields Martial Arts.


II - The Social Reality :

      In nowadays, descendants from illustrious Masters of Generalissimos and Warriors of bygone days, having braved so much troubles for succeeding to hand down the « Battlefields Martial Arts » to the posterity, edifying a Cultural Heritage of Martial Arts Studies infinitely precious from Việt peuple .

      However, in the present social reality, it exists a certain number of persons who blend arbitrarily the Chinese Martial Arts Wushu with the Muay Thái as well as others foreign Martial Arts, then usurpate the name of Tây-Sơn Martial Arts treating with disdain historical facts of Martial Arts Studies and of the History. This fact makes still more arduous the Conservation et la Restoration of the Cultural Heritage of Việt People's Martial Arts Studies.

     Troughout the vicissitudes of History, the few which lives on in nowadays demand us, consequently, a Conscientious Preservation and an Appropriate Restoration with a view to a lucid and lasting development.



       A - Battlefield Martial Arts Lineage from « Commander PHẠM-Tường »

       B - Battlefield Martial Arts Lineage from « Commander PHẠN & Commander THI »

       C - Battlefield Martial Arts Lineage from « Xả ĐÀNG HÀ-Hân »

       D - Battlefield Martial Arts Lineage from « Hương-Kiểm LÀI »





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