The rising popularity of new martial arts forms in Southeast Asia is opening doors for Vietnamese hoping to break from familiar styles and switch to more combative sports, including mixed martial arts (MMA), kickboxing, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Traditional disciplines in Vietnam, such as taekwondo, karate, judo, and vovinam, are often considered intimidating and formal. Special uniforms and ceremonies can sometimes push newcomers away from the sports. MMA, BJJ, and other more ‘informal’ styles are giving Vietnamese the option to try something new without making expensive commitments. No more uniform, no more ceremonial fighting. Just showing up and learning. Nguyen Van Nam, for example, sports sweat pants and a tee on his way to the gym, just like anyone else looking to pump some iron. The 22-year-old athlete, however, is in fact heading to an MMA workout. Nam trained in taekwondo for eight years before beginning MMA about a month ago. “There was something missing with taekwondo. I switched to MMA because I was told it was more interesting and required more skill,” Nam said. Trainer Vinod (L) instructs his student at an MMA center in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre “I agree with that opinion,” He… Read full this story
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