Thuy Phap abroad

At the end of the XXth century, nobody in the world had heard about Thuy Phap. In 2002 the International Water Method Council opened its first class, out of Vietnam, in Brussels. Today (2007), on average, there are about one hundred permanent students. Some-time the Belgian school receives applications from France, Germany and even Australia. It’s an encouraging success although pessimists speak of a drop in the ocean.

Thuy Phap is a unique Vietnamese martial art taught in some Brussels secondary schools. In Belgium, Thuy Phap is the only “boxing” system which attracts almost everybody : children, teenagers, adults and elderly people (in general youngsters prefer rough fighting techniques while seniors have fondness for meekest ones).Why does it spread relatively slowly in spite of its great impact on the fans ?

The idea to build up Thuy Phap abroad comes from a private initiative. Neither government authorities nor corporate organisations support the I.W.M.C. (stand for International Water Method Council). Vietnam is still an emergent country and can’t afford such cultural development as Japan and China did for the karatedo, the Judo, the Aikido,the Wushu and so on. Samsung and Daewoo have done the same for Korean Taekwondo.

Thuy Phap demands a quite long learning period. Since its founding in Belgium, the teaching board has been trying hopelessly to train European native instructors. Currently, there is a shortage of coaches to face a foreseeable applicants boom.

To avoid the spread of charlatans as it happens to Taiji quan, Bagua quan, and several Chinese qigong schools (which aren’t controlled by anybody), the I.W.M.C. imposes a severe training scheme and strict examinations on instructors. Subsequently, Thuy Phap becomes less attractive to weird people who just want to be gurus for fun and money.

A large number of Western sports amateurs are reluctant to efforts and hard work. They are used to fast food and vending machine standards of living. Whatever they do, they have to get results without delay while Thuy Phap study could be compared to a musician’s curriculum. It needs time to fully comprehend the method before having the pleasure to play master pieces. Taiji proponents have solved this problem. “In 1956, a simplified set of Taiji quan based on most popular sequences of Yang school was issued. This simplified Taiji quan has proved to be a great stimulus to the popularization of the sport. This series of 24 forms progress (1) logically from the easy to the difficult, and take 5 minutes to complete.” (2)
Only five minutes to complete ! Less than a morning fitness show on television.
The Thuy Phap masters just don’t know what to think. Adjust Thuy Phap teaching to the desirata of the masses, or keep the traditions safe and only focus on open minded and classy people? “To be fashionable or not ?” that is the modern Shakespeare’s question without answer.

China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam share the same cultural foundations mastered by... China. Their martial arts look alike. They use the same fundamental techniques but each country adjusts its “vo thuat” to the development of its own superstructure and to its national sensibility. By the way Thuy Phap and Taiji belong to Asian soft martial arts category. Neither Taiji is the trademark of this kind of martial arts, nor Thuy Phap is a subdivision of Taiji. If one considers European classical music, there are only seven basic notes, and the chords used by Richard Wagner sound differently from Ludwig Van Beethoven’s ones.

This Asian world has its particular corporate behaviour. Before talking busisness, Asian people expose their cultural way of life. Tokyo had introduced Karatedo and Judo into Europe as sales reprentatives before Toyota cars and Sony hifi devices arrived. Seoul supports all Taekwondo schools over the world with Samsung or Kia ads sticked on the back of the boxers. Beijing is launching Wu shu everywhere to promote the brand “Made in People Republic of China”. Vietnam has to follow the example. Vietnamese government is trying to impose Vovinam-Vietvodao (the external hard branch of martial arts) as an Olympic discipline at the next S.E.A Games meeting (S.E.A. stand for South East Asia) in two years.

Luckily, martial arts schools from the internal category are, at the moment, to be out of reach of such infernal commercial rules. Unfortunately, without financial and political supports,they have to find their own way to be in the limelight. As Thuy Phap is a latecomer, it has to face a big challenge. The I.W.M.C. is determined to go ahead, but nobody can predict the future.

made by chris..