Binh Dinh’s martial arts villages have folk cultural values preserved through generations. It’s a pity that there are not any effective measures to develop the traditional cultural features.
The Binh Thai Dao school’s practitioners in An Thai village perform martial arts skills
We felt touching when coming to three well known martial arts villages of Thuan Truyen, An Thai, and An Vinh which are now the shadow of their former self. Only some veteran martial arts masters, such as 72-year-old Ho Sung in Thuan Truyen, 73-year-old Tran Dan in An Vinh, and 75-year-old Lam Ngoc Phu in An Thai, have devoted themselves to martial arts preservation.
What will happen after they pass away? Who will lead the traditional martial arts movement?
The preservation of martial arts villages requires new measures. The People’s Committee of Tay Son district is now focusing on a proposal for the preservation and development of martial arts villages.
When possible, it will be firstly carried out in Thuan Truyen village. At present, the An Thai village is working out “socialization projects”, aiming to restore the Ngu Bang club (club of five martial arts schools) and the ancient house of the ancestor of Binh Thai Dao school.
However, that is not enough.
What must be done to preserve and develop cultural features of martial arts villages? It’s hard to find the answer for the question as there are no financial assistance and ways to explore.
It could be a combination between tourism and martial arts villages. A tour operator in Quy Nhon once hit on an idea of practicing martial arts and visiting famous martial arts villages. However, this couldn’t come true for the villages haven’t prepared for tourism services.
A northern visitor said that he was close to tear when enjoying the martial arts performances in Binh Dinh. Many tourists also shared the same feeling for Binh Dinh’s traditional martial arts. It will be much more if tourists come to see “barefoot” farmers perform martial arts at their villages.
It is a difficult task for linking martial arts villages with tourism, but it will be more feasible if there is a combination between the socialization and the authorities’ support.
The An Thai village is the home of many beautiful landscapes and architectural works, offering many advantages for the tourism development. Alongside the operation of Binh Son club owned by Master Lam Ngoc Phu, the Binh Thai Dao school has come back.
Also, the infrastructure upgrade and the restoration of traditional festivals and lion dancing groups require the financial assistance.
The newly-built An Thai bridge helps tourists easily visit adjacent areas, including An Vinh martial arts village and Duong Long towers. It also offers an advantage for tours in which visitors could stay with villagers to both learn some martial arts skills and explore its cultural features.
The Ho Sung’s martial arts club in Thuan Truyen village also plays a core role in exploring tourism services in martial arts villages.
Developing tourism in relation to martial arts villages is expected to greatly contribute to the preservation of martial arts. This is an important issue affecting the full restoration of martial arts villages in Binh Dinh.