Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Flourishing in Algeria

Introduced to Algeria in the 1970s, Vovinam has become popular and is now practised by over 20,000 people across the country.

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Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Promoted in Algeria
At the fifth Viet Vo Dao Vovinam Ambassador Championship. Photo: VNA

The fifth Viet Vo Dao Vovinam Ambassador Championship concluded in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria on October 22, with the first prize for a team coming to the Association sportive de la Surete Nationale Club, VNA reported.

This is a traditional championship held by the Vietnamese Embassy in Algeria and the Vovinam Federation of Algeria every two years, aiming to encourage the practice of Vietnamese martial art in the north African country and strengthen cultural exchange between the two countries.

This year’s tournament is part of activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations (October 28, 1962 – 2022).

The event was launched on October 21 with the competition of more than 200 martial artists across Algeria.

Vovinam is the most popular style of martial art in Vietnam, as well as around the world. The Vietnam Vovinam Federation confirmed there were more than 2.5 million practicing the martial art in 70 countries and territories. The strong growth of the art form can be seen through the establishment of the world federation, as well as continental federations in Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Promoted in Algeria
Vovinam is practiced with and without weapons. It is based on the principle of combining ‘hard’ and ‘soft’. It is not only about the training the body, but also the mind. Photo: VNA
Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Promoted in Algeria
Hundreds of trainees and fans came to cheer on their favorites. Photo: VNA

In his remarks, Vietnamese Ambassador to Algeria Nguyen Thanh Vinh highlighted the history of bilateral relations which was established even before Algeria gained independence.

Vinh expected that with strong political ties and the determination of the two countries’ leaders, their multifaceted cooperation will thrive further in the coming time. He also said he hopes via the event, visitors will have a better understanding of the culture, history, and people of Vietnam.

For his part, President of the Algeria Vo Viet Nam Federation Djouadj Mohamed said he is ready to work closely with the Vietnamese Embassy to strengthen the cultural exchange activities between the two countries in the future.

He said that about 30,000 people in Algeria are currently practicing Vovinam and most provinces and cities have at least one club. This show the growth of Vovinam in the country.

After hours of thrilling competition, the Association sportive de la Surete nationale Club took first place with nine gold medals.

Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Promoted in Algeria
The awarding ceremony. Photo: VNA

On the occasion, the Vietnamese Embassy also held a photo exhibition on the history of Vietnam – Algeria relations, Vietnamese culture, cuisine, and tourism, as well as introducing traditional dishes to the guests.

Vietnam recognized the provisional government of the Algerian Republic on September 26, 1958, one week after its establishment announcement. The bilateral diplomatic relations, which were established in 1962, have been expanded to economic, technical, and financial cooperation.

Two-way trade reached USD 265.54 million last year, with Algeria’s imports hitting USD 231.57 million.

Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Promoted in Algeria
A visitor at the photo exhibition on Vietnam and the history of Vietnam – Algeria relations. Photo: VNA

Vovinam (Viet Vo Dao) involves the use of different body parts such as hands, elbows, legs, and knees. Trainers also learn to use weapons, including swords, knives, and fans. They also practice attacking and defensive skills.

Vovinam began to spread in 1970 and has developed in many countries with hundreds of schools in Poland, Belgium, Russia, France, and ASEAN members.

The first world championship was organized in 2009, marking a turning point in its history.

Son Long Quyen Thuat, together with many other Vietnamese martial arts, was introduced in Algeria in 1973, and now there are around 15,000 people training at some 200 clubs across the nation. Vovinam is also a popular martial art among Algerians and is followed by over 20,000 people across the country.

Hannah Nguyen