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vo thuat (võ thuật)

Vietnamese collective term for ‘martial arts’. In Vietnam, drawings and sketches that date from around the 29th century BC suggest that some forms of combat using swords, sticks, bows and spears, may already have developed back then, perhaps as a forerunner of the modern martial arts as are still widely practiced in Vietnam today, both in public parks and temple courtyards, as well as in the câu lạc bộ võ thuật, i.e. ‘martial arts club’. Vietnamese martial arts can be loosely divided into two groups, i.e. the Sino-Vietnamese style (fig.) and the form that descends from the Cham People. Whereas the former variety is closely related to that of the Han-Chinese from China, the latter is more similar to the silat fighting styles found in Southeast Asia. Within each group there are many different forms and styles, both with and without the use of weapons (fig.).