That is a daily image in the free martial arts class for disadvantaged children launched by master Thai at Phu Thanh communal house, Ward 4, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.

Every day, regardless of rain or sun, master Thai's class is always lively and filled with laughter and fun of children. Children are taught taekwondo, from simple to complex movements, but the important thing they learn here is to train their mind, nurture their character, and how to behave with martial arts.

Master Pham Duc Thai and his hearing-impaired students

Master Thai recalled that the idea of establishing this free martial arts class came 8 years ago. Once, his second daughter came home from school and said that she felt sorry for orphans and asked him to open a martial arts class for them to have a place to practice and entertain. His daughter’s words made him think a lot and feel like he could do this meaningful deed.

Turning thinking into action, master Thai proposed opening a martial arts class for disadvantaged children and received support from the People's Committee of Ward 4, District 3 and the Management Board of Phu Thanh communal house. The martial arts class was established later, attracting many disadvantaged children in Ward 4, and neighboring areas. There was a time the class had more than 80 students. Master Thai considers students who are orphans, with disabilities, retarded, or hyperactive his family’s members. He loves them all and wholeheartedly instructs them.

Huynh Nguyen Thanh An, born in 2009 and residing in District 3, is a paternal orphan and joined the class in 2018. He said that master Thai not only teaches him and two other siblings for free, but also gives them martial arts inspiration. For An, what he learns is a sport to help improve health, self-defense, protect vulnerable people, train mind and character, endurance, and patience.

To cover all expenses of the class, master Thai has to work as a driver, a shipper, teach extra-hours at centers or even borrow money from his friends. Despite various difficulties, he has never said no to any disadvantaged child keen on his class.

Many people expressed their desire to donate and provide financial support for the class, but master Thai refused, only accepting things to serve the class.

Over the past eight years, hundreds of disadvantaged children have been taught martial arts for free in Phu Thanh communal house’s yard. Many of them have grown up, but their memories are still engraved with the image of the old master teaching martial arts to disadvantaged children in the communal house’s yard.

The class seems to be increasingly more crowded and the benevolent master always opens his compassionate heart to admit any disadvantaged children to his class, teaching them martial arts and giving them love.

Translated by Chung Anh