Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial art that was founded in 1936 by Nguyễn Lộc. He consistently practiced and researched many Vietnamese traditional martial arts and many foreign martial arts from this period until 1938, when it became public.
With the intent of providing its practitioners an efficient method of self-defense, Nguyễn Lộc began to teach Vovinam to several family members and friends. During this time, he continued his research with the hope to improve the Vovinam's techniques.
During his research, NguyỄn saw reasons to believe martial arts would be a major influence to freeing Vietnam, which had been ruled by France since 1859, from outside domination. Vovinam martial arts, which nguyỄn synthesized from Chinese styles of kung fu, his own knowledge of traditional Vietnamese martial arts, and elements of Japanese and Korean systems, was thus created partially as a response to the French occupation, as a means to promote a sense of national identity for the Vietnamese people.
In 1940, he and his disciples had the opportunity to demonstrate publicly for the first time in the Great Theater of Hanoi. The demonstration was very successful, hence attracting many spectators.
The demonstration also gained him an invite by Doctor Dang Vu Hy, President of the Sports Friendship Association to teach Vovinam. This lead to the very first Vovinam lessons which began in the spring of 1940 in the Hanoi University of Education (E'cole Normal). At this point, Vovinam started gaining popularity.
Some years later, political unrest increased throughout Vietnam and due to the system’s nationalist political orientation, the art came under suppression. By 1954, NguyỄn had moved to South Vietnam, where he was able to continue to teach and establish Vovinam schools. He soon died in 1960 and his legacy was passed on through grandmaster Le Sang who continued the development and international promotion of Vovinam until his own death on September 27, 2010.
After the fall of Saigon, by 2000, Vovinam schools started gaining more acceptance across the globe with facilities being established in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.
This legacy has passed on ever since and has led to the opening of the first Vovinam Viet vo dao martial arts school in Austin Texas launched on October 15, 2015. It was founded by Master Hicham (Thai Binh) Ramli at 8863 Anderson mill road, suite 120, Austin, Texas 78729.