The technique :

  • Technical specification
  • Terminology

  • Animal technique

  • Forms

Qwan Ki Do, because of its dual origins, offers great technical richness.
Fist techniques, kicks, blocks, throws, holds and blows specific to all martial arts are found in its program. But the uniqueness of Qwan Ki Do can be found in the application of two principles:
The Theory of approach "Thuât Cân Chiên "
The Principle of Polarities: ÂM and DUONG or "Cuong Nhu Tuong Thôi ” the eternal harmony between force and suppleness
The Theory of Approach " Thuât Cân Chiên":
From an old manuscript on the Vietnamese warrior arts from long ago, this theory emphasized mobility, circular movements, movement speed, and strength transfers. It can be expressed as follows:
During the attack, using furtive, often imperceptible moves, accompanied by hand techniques to distract the opponent (ex: Vi Thu Khai Công).
During the counter-attack, by absorbing the attack before using any defense technique.
The practitioner has at his disposal a full array of techniques for using fists, feet, sweeps, throws, locks and grappling moves allowing him to quickly conclude the attack.

208 Basic Terminologies, a cultural structure

In Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Viêtnam) the martial arts have always kept their own technical characteristics so as to spiritually recognize the Grand Masters who contributed to their structure and evolution. The mental phenomenon of these Grand Masters is influenced by the culture of the people, who progressively develop the techniques. In this way, the language and moves blend to form a very original entity that has become a tradition.
All these terms, which designate a martial technique, take form in this ancestral tradition through popular or intellectual languages. Like the history of the people, they underwent transformations. They evolved like this beyond all these events, to arrive at these codes, like poetry of language, through movements to facilitate not only the memorization but also the imagination of the martial technique. It is a real archeological richness that perpetuates itself from the past to today.
All of these processes are culturally symbolized by legends, sayings, beliefs, geniuses, wartime heroes, real or mythical animals…
It is difficult to transcribe, in an occidental way, these Asian terminologies, to create an equivalent, which would result uniquely from the various cultural concepts of these two civilizations. It is certain that one must live the culture to understand all of its subtleties. Translating it is only an interpretation to try to make it possible to understand the Asian culture.
The terminologies may vary from one Method to another. Although we can find some similarities, their application is completely controversial. Aware of this richness, some countries like China for the past 40 years or so, have developed martial terminology so as to simplify and unify it with a view to making it a real institution.
Qwan Ki Do is composed of two martial arts currents and is derived from many methods, possessing a homogeneous terminology. It is very complex to choose because the abundance of terminologies would necessitate a precise sorting that would take care not to alter this richness stemming from plurality.
If today, creating and implementing terminology characteristic of Qwan Ki Do is important, it is not only for its development around the world, but also to respond to a technical structure adaptable to the whole of its program for teaching and to thereby justify its richness and evolution in the world of Vietnamese martial arts today.

The Founder of Qwan Ki Do

Thao Quyên "Codified forms"
The practice of codified forms is very ancient and dates back to the inception of the Martial Arts. Perceived by the uninitiated as a series of jerky movements, incomprehensible gestures or even as a mime, the Thao Quyen is actually an element which is primordial and defines a veritable style or an authentic school.
A coded message, the Thao Quyen embodies some of the principles of the method developed. All of these often obscure forms constitute the archives of a school and their codification thus guaranteeing their technical legacy which, until recently, was only passed on to a select few.
Originally Thao Quyen were taught and memorized with the aid of stories (E.g. Bo Phap Quyen - The Children’s Notebook #1) or with song poetry, making the forms more retainable, improving accessibility to the initiates, thus giving them the key. In effect, the same techniques could be evoked under a different name according to the Thao Quyen…
Since translation of the ballads presents great difficulties, the student from the west has often had to find memory aids to make them easier to learn and remember especially since, unlike the basic Thao Quyen, the ancient Thao Quyen were only instructed as part of personalized courses taught orally with no supporting pictures or written documents, such as a technical notebook or a videotape.
The Thao Quyen is also considered to be a story with a beginning and an ending (these two points are geographically confused). Impenetrable to the isolated student, it can provide a great deal of information with the support of a qualified teacher. Moreover, depending on one’s knowledge, it presents several levels of reading that can enrich the student with new interpretations.
Knowledge stages
In order to optimize the profound knowledge of the Thao Quyen, the student must go through several stages:
1) Nhâp Môn: from beginners to 1st Dang (stage of knowing the elementary gestures that requires an adaptation of reflex action to codified technique).
2) Trung Môn: from 1st to the 4th Dang (stage of discovery the applications through to codification, it is also the stage where the confirmed student tends to homogenize the applications with the codified techniques. Knowledge of the applications must be used as a support to deepen and improve the execution of the Thao Quyen).
3) Dai Môn: from 4th Dang and above (the longest stage of development and research on biorhythms and on adaptation to the coded language or zoomorphic of the Thao Quyen, but also for other elements, which are either therapeutic "adaptations to the 5 elements" or energetic "breathing exercises").
All of these stages could lead astray the uninitiated who imagine that these Thao Quyen have often been subject to variations or quick changes!
In our Qwan Ki Do method, the Thao Quyen are divided up into different domains. Each domain corresponds to a specific progression relating to gesture exercises that, through hard training, promote reflex action.
These domains can now be separated into two categories:
1) Thao Quyen Tiêu Môn (basic codified forms)
2) Thao Quyen Dai Môn (codified forms of perfection).
1) Thao Quyen Tiêu Môn or Basic Thao Quyen

Quan Khi Quyên Phô or The Quyêns Quan Ky

After more than 20 years of laborious practice and constant research...
After the experiences undergone and passed on by the Grand Masters of Viêt Nam…
Upon the creation of the method of Qwan Ki Do in 1981, Master PHAM XUAN Tong wanted to stamp his method with a totally original basic structure. He has thus developed a series of basic "Quyen" by combining the forms of Thât Bô Huyên Công Quyên of the Hakkas with the Vietnamese techniques of Cuu Chân Bao Quyên, which were part of the QUAN KHI method of the Emperor Le Hoan "1009 AD".
This synthesis has been very important, for it resulted in all the originality of this method….
It is thus in the memory of the deceased Grand Master that henceforth this creation was named "Quyên Quan Ky", the basis of the method Qwan Ki Do.
It is also fascinating that 20 years later (1981-2001), thanks to Quyên Quan Ky, thousands of students around the world have discovered through these basic structures an indispensable means of progressing in an optimum manner, at the heart of this Martial Art. They have thus acquired, in addition to the honours of black belt and above, the great value of discipline in life.

We can therefore distinguish the most common Quyêns:

Quan Ky Môt
Cuu  Chân  Huyên  Công   Quyên Môt
Quan Ky Hai
Cuu  Chân  Huyên  Công  Quyên Hai
Quan Ky  Ba
Cuu  Chân  Huyên  Công  Quyên Ba  
Quan Ky Bôn
Cuu  Chân  Huyên  Công  Quyên Bôn

And the least common: Quan Ky Nam  -  Quan Ky Sau - Quan Ky Bay
These Quyen are based on the same principles but their execution requires a full understanding of the techniques used. A new constraint comes with these forms: the notion of rhythm replacing the jerky execution of the basic Dôc Luyên, and emphasizing the different series of codified movements.
After the student has assimilated the Quan Ky Quyens, he/she can, without reservation, attempt the Dai Môn or Dac Di Quyens, for he/she has internalized the movements, the hand techniques, and the kicks properly for Qwan Ki Do.

2) Thao Quyen Dai Môn or ancient Thao Quyens

As presented in the final table, the Thao Quyen studied in Qwan Ki Do originate from two very ancient forms (one of Chinese origin and the other of Vietnamese origin). Each of these Thao Quyens presents a dominant technique: evading, throws,…or forms whose origin (model) is attributed to one or more animals.
Some of them are presented in the following pages but cannot be studied and learned without the counsel of an instructor who can correct unavoidable false interpretations for the beginner. Below, we will outline a few of the most well known Thao Quyên Dai Môn:

Bach Hô Du Son or Hung Quyên Môt

(Journey of the white tiger in the mountains),

Bach Hô Ly Son or Hung Quyên Hai

(White tiger leaves the mountains),

Manh Hô Xuât Dông or Hung Quyên Ba

(The ferocious tiger that exits his cave),

Phong Vân Quyên or Lôi Trân

(Combat between the wind and the clouds),

Long Hô Quyên

(Combat between the Dragon and the Tiger),

Cuu Chân Kim Lân

(Yellow Unicorn ventures into a cave),

Cuu Chân Tu Ma Liên Hoan

(The four wild horses in action),

Thanh Xa Bach Hau Tranh Phong

(Sacred games of the Monkey and the Snake),

Kim Cuong Cân Tru Quyên          

(Forms for muscle conditioning),

Dia Sat Quyên

(The infernal wheel that flattens the ground),

Song Long Nhâp Thuy 

(The meeting of two dragons in the ocean),

Phung Lac Linh Son

(The Phoenix lost in the mountains),

Bach Viên Triêu Nguyêt

(Young white Monkey who contemplates the moon),

Cuu Chi Liên Hoan Diêu Vu         

(Nine arrows in incessant activity),

Thanh Xa Cu Diêu

(Combat between the green snake and the wild bird)

3) Thao Quyen Dac Di or Special Thao Quyen

These Thao Quyens are only instructed with a view to developing very specific qualities.  They are therefore only taught by the Master Founder of the Method who, by avoiding the stumbling blocks, can help the student fulfill the pre-determined objective.

Thach Su Quyên

(The Lion as strong as marble),

Tuy Bat Tiên

(The Eight drunken geniuses who cross the Ocean),

Nhât Bach Linh Bat La Han Quyên

(The 108 Arhat - Buddhist Monks),

Duong Lang Quyên Phô

(The sacred table of the Praying Mantis),

Hô Hac Song Hanh

(The Odyssey of the Tiger and of the White Crane),

Song Hô Xuât Lâm

(Two Tigers leave the mountains),

Ngu Hô Cu Son

(Five Tigers that impose their wishes in the mountains),

Tiêu Son Thu Tuc Dac Dung

(Sacred techniques of the Tiêu Son), etc ...

The Breathing Thao Quyens, for example, make it possible to raise one’s consciousness, and develop and control internal energy (Khi or Ki).  Their practice requires the supervision and advice of an expert:

Hô Tiêu Long Ngâm Quyên

(The Songs of the Tiger and the Dragon),

Thai Âm Luyên Công

(The training of the invisible energy), etc ...


            "For this reason, their instruction can only be given orally and personally"