III - The Ranks and Degrees


A - Hierarchy and Meaning of Colours





The Hierarchy of Colours  

       The Traditionnal Belts in the School System of Bình-Định Sa-Long-Cương include four colors : Black, Green, Red and Yellow, dividing into four Ranks, established according to four traditional colors of Đại-Việt military dress belts in the bygone days :

       1 - "Black color" Belt reserved to Satellites

       2 - "Green color" Belt reserved to Soldiers

       3 - "Red color" Belt reserved to Officers

       4 - "Yellow color" Belt reserved to Generals and to Chief General.



Traditional Belts



The Meaning of Colours  

       Since always, Martial students from Sa-Long-Cương School System have worn Green Belt, « the colour of green snake from viperidaes », according to the own words of Martial-Rector Master Trương Bá-Ðương.

       We venture to remind you that, on the historical point of view, the colors of court dresses for distinguishing the various hierarchical Ranks in the monarchical governments of Việt, from the lowest grade into the highest, were :

       "The Blue" : from 9th Degree to 6th Degree Mandarins

       "The Green " : from 5th Degree to 4th Degree Mandarins

       "The Red" : from 3rd Degree to 1st Degree Mandarins

       "The Yellow" : from Dignities of Prince to Dignity of Emperor.

       So, the "Blue" color is hierarchically inferior to the ones of "Green" and the "Yellow" color is for the highest hierarchical Ranks.

       In addition, might we be allowed to remind you that the colours for regulating various Grades and Degrees in the Traditional Martial Arts of Việt-Nam, as those of court dresses for distinguishing the various digities in dynastic courts of the Far East, are not established according to the Five Colours of Five Elements.

       They are two reasons easy to understand :

       1). The first reason, it's that among the Five Colours of Five Elements, the White belonging to the Metal Element refers to the dead and the bereavement. Consequently, the White is a colour which is never used in the regulations of Belts colours about various Ranks and Degrees in the Far East. The colours of Belts currently used by Japaneses in their various Martial Arts are invented in these last times ; in bygone days, they did'nt call for this system of Belt colours.

       2). The second reason, it's that the Five Colours of Five Elements were used only for War Flags, representing the Five Armies - those of Eastern, Western, Southern, Northern and Central Armies (still called Vanguard Army, Rearguard Army, Left Wing Army, Right Wing Army and Centre Army) - in order to allow Generallissimo to order Footsoldiers and Cavalrymen according to the battle plan.

       In conclusion, the Five Colours of Five Elements are inherent in the distinction between Five Armies and not in those between various Dignities or Ranks and Degrees.
       So, to want applying the Five Colours of Five Elements to Belts in order to regulate Ranks and Degrees in the Traditional Martial Arts of Việt-Nam in nowadays, is completely illogical and don't correspond to the asian philosophy and the history of Việt people.

        In addition to that, the Five Elements include four Laws :
        1) Law of Proceation (Tương-Sanh) ;  
        2) Law of Destruction (Tương-Khắc) ;
        3) Law of Encroachment (Tương-Thừa) ;
        4) Law of Rebellion (Tương-Vũ).
        If someone called in an only Law of Procreation (Tương-Sanh) from Five Elements (Ngũ-Hành) for explaining the Five Couleurs of Belts, he would fall down still more in the internal contradiction.
        The obvious proove is that on July 8th of the year 2008, the President of the Võ-Thuật Cổ-Truyền Việt-Nam Federation was in obligation to sign the Decree N° 12/QĐ-LĐVTCTVN concerning the modification of Belts Coulours System in force, according to Five Colours of Five Elements. The colours from low level into high level : Black, Green, Yellow, Red, White (not corresponding to the Law of Procreation), changed in Black, Green, Red, Yellow, White.
        And we don't still enter in deepness of the internal contradiction details when someone reasons according to the Five Colours of Five Elements.

       Việt-Nam is already unified and booming of integration and developpment in all estates ; it don't needs of sophism, negativism, jealousy, sabotage, outdated thinks, but it very needs truthly all sincere, positive, constructive, effective, civilized contributions.


Committee of

Martial Arts Masters






- « Notes of Various Facts from Almanach of the Court » - Publication 1395, TRẦN Dynastie.

- “Ancient Historiography of State in Việt-Nam - Text and Commentary of the Complete Mirror of Việt History established by Impérial Order (Khâm-Ðịnh Việt-Sử Thông-Giám Cương-Mục)” Institut of the Nation History (Quốc-Sử Quán) Publication, 1856-1884. (Cf. Translation and Explanatories Notes by Philippe LANGLET ; Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient).

- « The Complete Book of Việt History » from Phạm Văn Sơn - Sudasie Publcation.




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