Young female Overseas Vietnamese martial artist promotes practice of Vovinam in France

In recent years, the image of Truong Thuy Tien, a young woman wearing a blue martial arts uniform bearing the words "Thang Long Vovinam”, has become popular among the Overseas Vietnamese community in District 13 of Paris, France. Tien is the only Vietnamese-born female Vovinam martial artist in France who has contributed to the promotion of the Vietnamese martial art in the host country.
Truong Thuy Tien observes her students practicing in a Vovinam class. (Photo: Minh Duy)

Like many other children who were born and raised in France, little Truong Thuy Tien has been exposed to Western education, thinking, and culture since childhood. Tien is also proud of her Vietnamese origin.

Growing up, Tien was taught martial arts such as taekwondo and judo by her father, Master Truong Anh Tuan, for self-defence while improving health and mind training.

In the summer of 2000, Tien joined her father to travel back to their homeland in Vietnam. One day, Tien saw young men in blue martial arts uniforms walking and chatting on the road. As blue has been Tien’s favourite colour since childhood, Tien followed the group and found out that they were members of a Viet Vo Dao (Vovinam) martial arts school.

“Holding that Vovinam is a traditional martial art of Vietnam, I took the occasion of my three-month summer vacation in Vietnam to register for a trial practice.”

“At first, I just wanted to give it a try, but it then turned into my career”, Thuy Tien shared.

Thuy Tien and her father Truong Anh Tuan

During that summer vacation, almost every day, Thuy Tien rode a bicycle across the streets to attend martial arts classes. She also convinced her father to join the class, since then the father and daughter became classmates on the practice mat.

After the vacation, they returned to France, but the spirit of Viet Vo Dao still followed their flight to Paris.

Thuy Tien and her father continued to attend Vovinam classes in their next summer vacations in Vietnam. she also recorded martial arts videos during the classes so that she could continue to practice when she returned to France,

Tien explained that although there are still Vovinam classes in France, which are instructed by French masters, the movements and techniques are not exactly the same as in Vietnam. Thus, she wanted to learn martial arts under the instruction of a Vietnamese master to retain the spirit of Vietnamese martial arts.

Late grandmaster Nguyen Loc, the founder of Vovinam, once taught his students that for martial arts practitioners, the journey is important, not the destination, which is just a roadside inn.

The journey of establishing a martial arts school to teach Vietnamese martial arts and owned by Vietnamese people in France is arduous. After many years practicing Vovinam, Truong Anh Tuan nurtured the dream of opening a Vovinam martial art school.

He decided to get a master's certificate from the French Federation for Martial Arts in order to gain recognition as a professional coach.

Having gained many remarkable achievements in national and regional Vovinam competitions, along with her father's support, Thuy Tien also decided to follow her father's footsteps to become a professional coach and teach martial arts. She has won many martial arts competitions in France and in Europe.

Thang Long Vovinam martial arts school was established in 2013. Since then, Truong Thuy Tien remains the only female Vovinam master with Vietnamese origin in France.

The Thang Long Vovinam martial arts school has attracted students of all ages, including both Overseas Vietnamese and French people. At the school, students are taught about movements, techniques, and postures of Vovinam in the French language. They also have opportunities to listen to lessons about the sportsmanship of the Vietnamese people.

Thang Long Vovinam Martial Arts School attracts the participation of many French children as well. (Photo: Minh Duy)

Many students of Thang Long Vovinam martial arts school have gained high achievements in national martial arts competitions in France after a certain time practicing at the school.

Truong Anh Tuan and his daughter Truong Thuy Tien have also been invited to work as referees at many martial arts competitions.

At Thang Long Vovinam martial arts school, strangers become fellow practitioners who share a common interest in Viet Vo Dao. But above all, in addition to strengthen compatriotism among Vietnamese people in France, the school has contributed to promoting Vietnamese spirit among the young Vietnamese generations in the host country while upholding Vietnamese martial arts in the international community.


Thang Long Vovinam martial arts school has contributed to promoting Vietnamese spirit among the young Vietnamese generations in the host country while upholding Vietnamese martial arts in the international community.