Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial art, combining Vietnamese wrestling and various eastern martial arts techniques. Born in wartime out of necessity, it continues these days as a popular pastime. In a courtyard under dim tungsten lights I visited a group of students practising this form of combat. My flash could only mete out a few blows before retreating, bruised and out of breath. I scissor-kicked it aside, and embraced the silhouettes.


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