An international festival highlighting Vietnamese traditional martial arts opened on August 1 in the central province of Binh Dinh, the birthplace of the practice.

The opening ceremony in Quy Nhon city's central square featured performances by Vietnamese and international martial artists. A certificate was presented to provincial authorities recognising Binh Dinh traditional martial arts as a form of national tangible cultural heritage.

The arts form dates back to the Tay Son-Binh Dinh martial arts school in the 18th century. On August 1, hundreds of martial artists, martial arts trainers and local authorities attended an incense- and flower-offering ceremony dedicated to Emperor Quang Trung, a native of Binh Dinh who is regarded as the founder of the tradition.

A solemn ceremony was also held in Tay Son district, where Emperor Quang Trung led the Tay Son Uprising Movement.

"It's an honour for me to visit the cradle of Vietnamese traditional martial arts. I learned more about the lifestyle and spirit of a martial artist," said Helen van Deer Lest, a martial artist from Belgium whose husband and four children also practice the art.

"I'm so impressed to see Vietnamese children practising martial arts. Vietnamese traditional martial arts help me strengthen my mind and body," she added.

This is the fifth time the province has organised the festival, which will run until August 4.

It includes martial arts performances as well as folk games, a tuong (classical opera) competition, a photo exhibition and a seminar on preserving traditional martial arts.

Participants include 30 domestic martial arts delegations as well as 60 from foreign countries.-VNA