Vovinam Grand Master Sang Le
Grand Master Sang Le resided in Thanh Hoa Province, he was born in autumn of 1920 in a house on the banks of Truc Bach lake in Hanoi, the oldest son of Mr. Le Van Hien (known professionally as Duc Quang, 1887 – 1959) and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Mui (1887 – 1993).
In 1939, after suffering a severe illness which left him walking with difficulty, he followed his mother’s advice and began studying martial arts in order to strengthen his legs and improve his physical health. Good fortune steered him to Founding Grand Master Loc Nguyen’s Vovinam class at the Hanoi Pedigogical College (Ecole Normale).
Due to his natural ability, intelligence, and diligent practice, after just a few years he was chosen by Founding Grand Master Loc Nguyen to take part in the work of training others in Hanoi.
From then on, he became as close to Founding Grand Master Loc Nguyen as a younger brother is to an older brother, sharing in his labors and his hardships, following him as he taught the discipline of Vovinam in many places: Thach That (Son Tay Province), Phu Tho, Chu Luu, Dan Ha, Dan Phu (Yen Bai Province), Me Doi (Vinh Yen Province), etc.
In 1954, Grand Master Sang Le accompanied Founding Grand Master Loc Nguyen to Saigon. Here, he was assigned the task of opening a Vovinam class on Thu Khoa Huan street in Saigon as well as in the suburb of Thu Duc. Several years later, when the Founding Grand Master fell ill, Grand Master Sang Le took over the work of training the high-level students.
In 1960, before passing away, the Founding Grand Master named Sang Le as the new Grand Master of Vovinam. Due to the state of affairs in the country at the time, Grand Master Sang Le was forced to travel to Ban Me Thuot at the beginning of the sixties and work there until late 1963, when martial art disciplines were once again allowed to be practiced in Saigon.
He returned to Saigon and immersed himself in the work of reinforcing, building, and developing the discipline of Vovinam. As his closest and most senior disciple with almost 20 years of working at the Founding Grand Master’s side, Grand Master Sang Le had unparalleled knowledge of Vovinam’s philosophy and techniques.
Based on this knowledge and his position as Grand Master, he led Vovinam into a period of robust growth between 1964 and 1975. Although living in constrained circumstances, he not only directed the Vovinam movement but also spent his days training students for hours on end and his nights hunched by a lamp writing books and articles, systemizing the Founding Grand Master’s philosophy of martial arts as well as enriching the training program with his own techniques gleaned from his practical experience. In addition, he was elected to serve as the Director of the South Vietnam General Office of Martial Arts and Treasurer for the South Vietnam Olympic Committee.
From the late 1980′s until the present, Grand Master Sang Le has acted as the spiritual leader of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao. He continues to support and guide Vovinam Viet Vo Dao martial arts activities and rate examinations for high-level students as well as continues his work of studying and systemizing the discipline.
Grand Master Sang Le is a skilled practitioner of the martial arts and a talented leader with many creative ideas and good management abilities, yet Grand Master Sang Le is even more than this; he is also a true renaissance man. With clear, beautiful strokes of the calligraphy brush, he has composed many poems of deep, intimate feeling and chivalrous nature. In his daily life he lives simply, always willing to help a friend and always displaying true sincerity in his encounters with others. To his disciples, he is a whole-hearted teacher, loving and tolerant. When his parents fell ill, he cared for them thoughtfully and carefully, never leaving their sides.
He has never married, thus avoiding the burden of family. He has steeped himself in Eastern philosophy. Through his talent and impeccable morality, he became the star pupil of the Founding Grand Master Loc Nguyen. Grand Master Sang Le has sacrificed nearly his entire life to the work of building up and developing the discipline of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao.You might also like: