The Master :

  • Life
  • Guom
  • World renown
  • Images
  • Movies
Part :

One day Master Chau Quan Ky was called to tend to a patient in Go Vap, a small hamlet in South VietNam.  A sudden tropical storm took him by surprise and he tried in vain to protect his medicinal plants.  While doing so, he heard a small child's voice.  It was the 10-year-old Pham Xuan Tong – born on July 17th 1947 in Ninh Binh, south of Vietnam, who offered him hospitality and shelter.

Touched by his kindness, Master Chau Quan Ky asked Pham Xuan Tong his birth date, and, after having drawn his sky chart (Chinese horoscope), asked his parents to entrust him, promising to teach him martial arts. Pham Xuan Tong’s success, however, depended on passing all the tests.

This was a very difficult period for young Pham Xuan Tong to live through.  For the first two years, training was focused only on positions and basic technique. By 14 years of age, he trained four hours, twice a day, 1:30 in the morning and 2:30 in the afternoon. He studied simultaneously martial arts, traditional medicine, physiotherapy, acupuncture and massage. At this age he successfully passed the So Cap Belt Test (Black Belt 1st Dang), being the youngest student to pass the test.
During this time, he was initiated in the Vietnamese Martial Arts by his uncle Master Pham Tru and by the Masters Long Ho Hoi and Phan Tranh Su, friends of his uncle.
By 19, Pham Xuan Tong had won several competitions at the national level. Advised by his Master he gave up competing and devoted himself solely to teaching and research.

In 1966 Pham Xuan Tong became a Martial Art Instructor at the Institute of Technology Don Bosco in Go Vap and later on at the Chan Phuoc Liem High School.

Master Long Ho Hoi proposed him to be part of the National Coach Committee.

At 20 years of age, after no longer participating in competitions, Pham Xuan Tong is selected in the National Coach Team, part of the Vietnamese Federation of Martial Art.

In 1968 he passed the Trung Cap Belt Test, being the equivalent of 5th Dang.
Shortly thereafter, he informed his Master of his desire to move to Europe to pursue higher learning.
Young Pham Xuan Tong reached France (in 1968) and completed his studies.

Master Pham Xuan Tong's competence, perseverance, and his teaching skills eventually made him one of the greatest Vietnamese martial arts experts in the West.

After his Master passed away, Master Pham Xuan Tong was pointed by testament, to lead his Master’s school. Due to the fact the he was far away from Vietnam and because of his modesty, he asked his Martial Art colleague Master Pham Minh Kinh to fulfil this honour duty on his place.

Master Pham Xuan Tong with his school and Masters Quach Van Ke, Nguyen Tan Dang, Le Dai Hoan and Bao Truyen were registered at the "Tong Hoi Vo Hoc Viet Nam", the Vietnamese Federation of Martial Art.

In 1973, together with the Comity of the Vietnamese Arts Masters, he founded, in Europe, the Viet Vo Dao Martial Art Association. The association included four big Vietnamese schools: Han Bai, Vo Vi Nam, Thanh Long and Quan Ky (Master’s Tong school, him being the only representative of that school).

He was pointed as the International Technical Director for the Master’s Comity. For around eight years he did very well in this function. During this period he received the International Belt Level of 8th Dang.

In 1981 he decided to resign and to dedicate his life to develop his school, by this fulfilling his Master’s testamentary request. The steady climb in quality, the support of his students and the encouragement of his friends, culminated in 1981 when the method was officially recognized, founding the World Union of Qwan Ki Do. 

Master Pham Xuan Tong is a living legend in the history of Vietnamese Martial Arts. In a specific way, he was able to combine the origin and his cultural heritage. He had the privilege to learn from Master Chau Quan Ky the Chinese styles, and from his uncle Pham Tru, the traditional styles of the Vietnamese Martial Arts. In 1968 he arrived in France to complete his studies in anatomy, physiology, and so on, thus taking contact with European civilization, able to adapt to the mentality here. Thus, by bringing together the three cultures (Chinese, Vietnamese and European) he created a method of international recognition that brings together the experience and the lessons he has accumulated over time, both as a student and as a teacher. This method is called Qwan Ki Do - Quan Khi Dao (Vietnamese name).

Everywhere in the world, Master Pham Xuan Tong’s martial arts demonstrations were received enthusiastically by the audience, making him world famous. But despite the fame acquired, he remained faithful to the ideals of friendship, generosity and modesty and to the Vietnamese culture. This allowed him to be surrounded by people who loved him, supported him and helped him in his work of creation the Qwan Ki Do style and the organization. His Excellency Le Kinh Tai, Ambassador of Vietnam delegated to UNESCO, signed an open letter praised the extraordinary work and achievements of Master Pham Xuan Tong. Western Martial Arts publications along with publications in the field in his native country (Lao Dong, The Thao, Dai Doan Ket, Phu Do, etc.) have recognized the value of Qwan Ki Do method and its merits.
Currently, Master Pham Xuan Tong continues to work for promoting the Vietnamese culture and art and the Qwan Ki Do method. This is done through the World Union of Qwan Ki Do - Quan Khi Dao that is represented in over 20 countries. These include Vietnam, which was included in the great family of Qwan Ki Do by reopening the Master Chau Quan Ky school in this country.

Viet Long Guom:

In the late 19th Century, the Vietnamese Art Sword was still known only to a few Great Masters including Bat Le from Ha Noi and Cai Mieng from Quang Binh province, whose fame spread to all regions of Annam.

Executions are described in great detail by Vietnamese writer Nguyen Tuan in his book Vang Bong Mot Thoi (Cao Thom edition 1962, Saigon). Bat Le was said to have built a great reputation as an executioner for the colonial government. His renowned technique was named Chem Treo Nghanh meaning to cut the victim’s head without making it fall, leaving it to hang off a thin piece of skin. From a Western perspective, this cut seemed barbaric.  

Cai Mieng, whose birth name was Pham Van Mieng is none other than the paternal grandfather of Master Pham Xuan Tong. This is how the Art of Guom was passed on to Master Tong, through his uncle, Master Pham Tru

The transmission of knowledge from generation to generation built Master Pham Xuan Tong’s great skills in art of Guom. Through years of practice Master Tong acquired an understanding of the movement of the sword, the dexterity and the efficiency shown in his speed and accuracy. One of the fundamental skills of Vietnamese Guom sword is the ability to be handled with the left, right, or both hands to place the opponent at a disadvantage.

Viet Long Guom characteristics:

Passed through many generations, the art of Viet Long Guom was formed in the current Tieu Son of the 17th Century. The name Viet Long Guom contains the elements that define the art:

 Viet: Overcoming self. It is also the abbreviation of Viet Nam;

 Long: Dragon, symbol honoring the skill;

 Guom: Sword.

 The art of sword leads to skill and overachivement on the path of honor.

From a practical standpoint, the Viet Long Guom Sword is composed of: 

 Blade or Long Thiet (Dragon tong): Symbol of justice and judgment.

 Guard or Long Khau (Dragon mouth): Symbol struggle and courage.

 Handle or Long Sun (Dragon's head): Symbol of honor.

 Sheath or Ham Long (Dragon jaw): Symbol of emptiness and fairness.

The red tassel tied to the sword has a special role. The warrior made the nodes on wires to mark their opponents defeated in battle or to mark a debt of honor.

Studied by Masters, Guom’s curvature (sword with one sharp side) was noted to optimize resistance and increase the speed of impact. The sharp side of the blade (or Long Thiet, Dragon tongue) is used to block another blade as a last case resort and the blunt side is used to blocking attacks. 

The majority of the great Masters and legendary Vietnamese heroes used the Guom as oppose to the sword with two sharp sides (Kiem) that has a Chinese origin.

Guom is mentioned in the stories and Vietnamese writings. For example:

    May Guom Phuc Quoc (using the sword for the revenge day)

    Duong Nguyen Hue Guom (sword technique of the famous Emperor Quang Trung.

Making traditional homemade sword:

Usually no Vietnamese sword is made in series because it has to meet certain measurements. Manufacturing a Vietnamese sword depends on the practitioner morphology. Blade length must be equal to the length of the arm that wields plus the length of the fist. The handle must be the length of the practitioner palm.

There are two types of blades: Dai Long Thiet or Thanh Quat (large blade) and Tieu Long Thiet (small blade or fine blade).

Guard sword is different depending on the blade. The current Viet Long Guom from Thieu Son style is a short blade (Tieu Long Thiet) and the guard is crescent-shaped (Tan Nguyet Chan). 

The infamous blacksmiths from Cao Thang were able to reproduce the first colonial guns in Vietnam. 
Cai Tong Vang was popular (Nguyn Van Thinh, 1862) in Quang Yen and Hai Duong region (northern Viet Nam's).
Lo Kim Luyen is the place where the iron is made into swords. The iron is melted in a furnace that is dug within a stone.
Than Da was the bellow used for fire maintenance. It was made from a soft dried pork belly and the funnel made from an attached bamboo.
The metal fabrication and the working temperature were known only by the craftsman and kept in great secrecy.
In general, when manufacturing the blade, they used a mild steel core and covered the blade with a thin sheet of hardened steel to form the sword blade. The thin sheet was melted onto the blade and surround by fine steel wires also fixed by melting it in the furnace.

     After manufacturing the blade, the blade was hardenet in oil and animal blood and then sharpened on a wet stone. Wetting the stone with water was important to avoid losing the quality due to the temperature rise and friction. 
After the blade was completed, the owner would organize a celebration for testing the quality of the Sword (Thu Guom). The test consisted in decapitating a goat in one attack or cutting three bamboos bundled together and buried in the ground. These techniques of tailored crafted swords are now forgotten. The colonization introduced firearms and the tradition was lost with the mass production of cutting weapons. Blacksmithing, influenced by Western technology, began to manufacture guards like the pirates swords, with the handle made from the same piece of metal like the sword.
The Master Tru Pham, Master Pham Xuan Tong uncle, devoted 10 years to transmit the Viet Long Guom traditional techniques, and other weapons techniques such as But Chi, Bua Cao Danh Bay, etc.
The sword training:

The initial training with Guom is done with a wooden sword made from Manao wood. The diameter of the Guom is ~3.5 cm and a guard made of bamboo heated and curved in a crescent. This type of sword allows practicing conventional techniques (Song Luyen), Quyen- forms and handling techniques. Guom students do not use real sword until at least three years of training with the wooden sword.

Striking techniques with the sword:
The techniques for attacking with the sword are diverse and accompanied by concentration techniques and breathing techniques:
 Chem Bo: Shot with two hands vertical to the ground.
 Chem Xeo: shot with one hand on a diagonally.
 Chem Nguoc: shot with one hand up.
 Chem Ngang: side shot.
 Chem Vong: circular shot.


Training is based on slow progress over time, and puts great emphasis on breathing. The training techniques include special exercises for concentration, to control trembling hands. There are some specific training like Thuy Ha Cong, which consists of cutting a bamboo planted at one meter under water, or Da Ma Cong that is training blindfolded,  developing habits to fight in the darkness. Viet Long Guom was studied by Master Pham Xuan Tong and he has specific training in Da Ma Cong.

Master Pham Xuân Tong is a world-renowned expert due to his great proficiency in Vietnamese martial arts.

He has received much public support at international festivals due to the technical quality of his demonstrations.

His technical, human and teaching expertise have been widely recognized by various organizations as follows:

Member of the Academy of Sciences in Rome (Italy), 1981.

Silver medal of the Order of the National Civic Star, (France), 1982.

Elected Personality of the Year in martial arts, (Italy), 1983, by the following Italian publications:   Banzai, Samourai and Sportivo .

The Federation of the Martial Art Methods of Hà Nôi (ViêtNam) « Liên Doàn Vo Thuât Thành Phô Hà Nôi » has recognized the W.U.Q.K.D. and added it to their membership.

The permanent delegation of the Vietnamese Embassy at UNESCO acclaimed QWAN KI DO in Paris in 1981.

Master PHAM Xuân Tong has been recognized worldwide through television broadcasts, by the press and through surveys conducted by specialized publications.

He was recently awarded the " OSCARS Samouraï 2000" out of 20 outstanding personalities in martial arts in Italy, a nomination which takes place only every 25 years.

His method and his name appear in the Dictionary of Martial Arts (Louis Frédéric ed. Félin) and in the Encyclopedia of Martial Arts (Gabrielle and Roland Habersetzer ed., Amphora).

Today's specialty publications in martial arts, worldwide, regularly refer to QWAN KI DO and its Founder