About Qwan Ki Do

  • Definition
  • Founder
  • Ten principles
  • Grading System
  • Tâm Thê
  • Co Vo Dao
QWAN KI DO is not easily defined: A Martial Art is not merely practiced, it is lived...
For some it is physical activity, self- discipline, or a competitive sport. For others, it is a means of better self-knowledge, understanding and mastery: truly a way of living.
The QWAN KI DO is all of that together and none of that separately.
QWAN KI DO is a discipline which requires total dedication to practice, to mental and physical development. It is one of the greatest methods of Vietnamese Martial Arts.
In conclusion, the QWAN KI DO is :
- A Martial Art method
- A martial art personality
- A Martial Art authority for the world, the International Qwan Ki Do Federation.

These three points are inseparable, but the first two are intimately linked. Furthermore, QWAN KI DO emphasizes the two basic elements found in all martial arts:
- The KHI or better known as KI (energy)
- The DAO or better known as DO (path)

The addition of the word QUAN (the whole) to these two words gives us the Vietnamese term:
QUAN KHI DAO (The Way of Body's Energy)
transcribed phonetically as "QWAN KI DO" in order to facilitate Western usage.
Qwan Ki Do
Master PHAM XUAN TONG founder of QWAN KI DO
As a young child, in his homeland of Viêt Nam, young PHAM XUAN TONG had the privilege of becoming a student to a Great Master of Martial Arts - Dai Su CHÂU QUAN KY.
For almost 15 years, at the school called VO DUONG HÔ HAC TRAO, young PHAM XUAN TONG deepened his knowledge and mastered several styles of Hakkas : Thiêu Lâm Nam Phai, Nga Mi Phai, and Châu Gia Duong Lang Phai (the Mantis style of the Châu family). He also increased his knowledge of Vietnamese Martial Arts derived from very ancient Vietnamese methods including Vo Quang Binh, Vo Binh Dinh and Vo Bac Ninh (Quan Khi ..). Young PHAM XUAN TONG trained with his great uncle PHAM TRU who himself learned from his great grand-father PHAN VAN MIÊNG, who was very well known towards the end of the nineteenth century in the city of Dông Hoi (Quang Binh Province).
While living in Viêt Nam, young PHAM XUAN TONG greatly benefited from the experience of several of the country's best experts and perfected his training.
After arriving in France in 1968, Master PHAM Xuân Tong contributed greatly to the promotion of Vietnamese martial arts among other various federations before dedicating himself to the codification of his own method: the QWAN KI DO. The synthesis has been realized after 25 years of practice and researches.
From 1968 on, aware that his distance could jeopardize his progress in his martial arts practice, and with his passion for research, he associated himself with other Masters and Experts in other Vietnamese martial arts in France. These included Master Trân Phuoc Tasteyre, Master Nguyên Dân Phu and Master Trân Minh Long… Together they held regular sessions or exchange seminars on techniques and training.
For his personal improvement Master PHAM Xuân Tong studied the manuscripts and personal documents that had been willed to him by Great Master CHAU Quan Ky.
The physical training that he had received during professional instruction helped to deepen his understanding of martial and sporting culture.
The name QWAN KI DO was first introduced in 1981 by Master PHAM Xuân Tong. It was at that time that one notes a third influence: French culture.
In fact, recent Western discoveries regarding physical activity, physiology of effort and teaching were incorporated into his method.
Since that time, Master PHAM Xuân Tong continuously worked at his personal development. He was able to contact Viet Nam once again and reach his disciples who had sought refuge in various countries. He continued to take every opportunity to progress in the martial arts where Master CHÂU Quan Ky and his great-grandfather PHAN Van Miêng, had directed him.
The 10 fundamental principles of Qwan ki Do :

1) To attain the highest technical level of Qwan ki Do by cultivating the notions of Effort, Perseverance, Self-confidence, and Respect for others, in the ancestral spirit of our Martial Art.

2) To form body and spirit for oneself and to serve others.

3) To practice the moral virtues which are the very basis of Qwan ki Do. They are Rectitude of mind, Honesty, Gratitude, Simplicity, Modesty, and Tolerance.

4) To develop Qwan ki Do according to the noble, thousand-year-old traditions passed down from Master to Master. To never betray this spirit by individual small-mindedness which tends to breed malicious gossip, dissidence and schism..

5) To cultivate respect towards the instructors, the directors, and to promote brotherhood between members.

6) To consider the practice of Martial Arts combat or sparring as a means of personal progress and not as an end in itself.

7) To use Martial Arts only in legitimate defense.

8) To rigorously follow all regulations established by the World Union of Qwan ki Do.

9) To attend training regularly, maintain good personal hygiene and respect the conditions of admission to the Qwan ki Do club.

10) To respect all other Martial Arts.

N.B.: To accept sanctions or resign from Qwan ki Do if any of the “Ten Fundamental Principles” of Qwan ki Do are infringed.

At one time the belt colour system of levels did not exist. A great number of traditional Viêt Nam martial arts only recognized three levels:
1) SO DANG or NHAP MON (Initiation)
2) TRUNG DANG or TRUNG MON (Middle Level)
3) THUONG DANG or DAI MON (High Level)

Other schools used the concept of different colored uniforms (VO PHUC) or the number of pockets found on the uniform, or different colored scarves worn around the neck or again, ties around the belt to determine the level of knowledge and experience of the student.
In QWAN KI DO or QUAN KHI DAO, the traditional grading system follows the traditional system of Dai hoa luu hành handed down by generations of Grand Masters. It was slightly altered to fit in with Western culture.
1 - NHAP MON or Initiation
White belt
This category consists of five levels…During the initiation period, the beginner wears a large white sash with levels named "Câp": red stripes for children and blue stripes for teenagers and adults. The time elapsed between grades is usually 9 to 10 months (approximately the length of a sporting season).
BEGINNER : corresponds to Vô Cuc (symbolizes emptiness, infinity, the beginning of life)
CAP MOT : 1st Blue Stripe, corresponds to Thai Cuc (symbolizes the law of transformation and basic knowledge of the first elements)
CAP HAI : 2nd Blue Stripe or Luong Nghi, symbolizes the emergence and the conflict between the two poles AM and DUONG, and technically represents harmony between the sides of the body and then between the upper and lower parts of the body
CAP BA : 3rd Blue Stripe or Tu Tuong, (symbolizes the four cardinal directions and the four limbs of the body).
CAP BON : 4th Blue Stripe or Ngu Hành, (symbolizes the five elements, the distinct difference between the body as a whole and the amazing agility of the four limbs).
After four years of regular practice and the acquisition of all four “Câp” (Stripes), the student, after evaluation, will be allowed to be tested for the national Black Belt level (or Blue with a red border in France) the TRUNG MON, middle level, requiring a minimum age of 16).
2 - TRUNG MON or Middle Level
White belt
One year after passing the exam to reach middle level, the student is allowed to take the first exam of TRUNG MON. Nhât Dang, Nhi Dang…or Môt Dang, Hai Dang…are terms used to represent the degrees of the HUYEN DAI category (Black Belt with a red border):
KIEN 1st Degree or Nhât Dang or Môt Dang
DOAI 2nd Degree or Nhi Dang or Hai Dang
LY 3rd Degree or Tam Dang or Ba Dang
CHAN 4th Degree or Tu Dang or Bôn Dang
TON 5th Degree or Ngu Dang or Nam Dang

The time spent between each Degree or each Nhât Dang, Nhi Dang…(Môt Dang, Hai Dang…) is prescribed in the technical regulation of the WORLD UNION OF QWAN KI DO. All candidates who are granted an exam, starting with the 1st Dang, must first be approved by The World Commission of Grades and Dang.
3 - DAI MON or High Level
White belt
HONG BACH DAI : White and Red belt with a Yellow border.
KHAM 6th Degree or Luc Dang or Sau Dang
CAN 7th Degree or Thât Dang or Bay Dang
KHON 8th Degree or Bat Dang or Tam Dang

White belt
Siêu Dang (White belt with a Red band in the middle and a Yellow border). This grade is awarded to the Veteran Expert who has dedicated his entire life to the service of his method and to martial art.
DICH 9th Degree or Cuu Dang or Chin Dang
DAO 10th Degree or Thâp Dang or Muoi Dang
White belt
The CHUONG MON DAI belt level handed down from generation to generation, was given in his will by Master CHAU Quan Ky to Master PHAM XUAN Tong. This belt, above all grades of QWAN KI DO guarantees the ethics and the authenticity of this method. According to the principle of Dai Hoa Luu Hành, it is placed in the “Que Khôn” position and symbolizes the theory of "eternal rebirth". It is consists of four bands representing the four colours of traditional virtues. These are:
1) The blue band at the belt edge - The blue colour represents goodness and willpower.
2) The yellow band in second position - The yellow colour represents lucidity and clairvoyance.
3) Red, the main belt color - The red colour represents courage and combativeness.
4) The white band in the center of the Belt - The white colour symbolizes Purity and represents the synthesis of all colours.
Tam The
Gymnastics for Mind and Body:
Tâm or Tâm Linh Mental state orpsychological
Thê The body and its energy
All Asiatic physical techniques refer to energy, to a life force available in oneself and to be exploited in various ways, but few know its secrets.
The western mind is puzzled and cannot understand this concept when it is offered without explanation.
Is there a form of training which can make us aware of this force?
The awareness and discovery of this energy, plus the ability to call upon it and utilize it are components of the collectivity of Asiatic physical disciplines.
From the time of birth, everything is learned through concrete experiences, lived and felt. These experiences can then be transposed to thought in an abstract way. For example, one burns one's finger, which makes one learn the word "burn" and which allows one to then explain an abstract feeling, such as "burning with love".
There is a similar training technique for understanding, perceiving and summoning this force. This method, at the beginning, is concrete, very physical, and based on previous experience. It also relies on mechanical (muscular) energy, which leads to more abstract concepts, more subtle forms of energy, such as mental energy and spiritual healing energy.
TÂM THÊ training proposes to guide the learner with this approach.
Weapons Programme
The weapons that we teach at our school are the BONG (staff), the MOC GUOM (wood sword), the LONG GUOM (sword), the MA DAO (broadsword), the DAI DAO (long handle)….
The major purpose of training with weapons is to teach the difference between life and death. This comes about when a person realizes just how lethal weapons are. There is a drastic difference between fighting with an empty hand and fighting with a weapon. For example, a punch to the chest stuns, while the same technique done with a sword kills. Therefore training with weapons requires greater mental focus than empty hand training, and it helps students gain a greater appreciation for life.
In Co-Vo-Dao the weapon is simply used as an extension of the body. Nearly all basic Qwan Ki Do moves can be duplicated with a weapon in your hand, therefore, the perfection of basic moves is a necessity for weapons training.The most useful weapons for present day training are the bong, or tien bong(two short sticks) usually made from rotten. The same moves learned with these weapons can be applied to a broom, pool cue, umbrella or rolled up newspaper.
Traditional weapons