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[Video] Meet Ta Anh Dung, Tao Dan Park's One-Legged Martial Arts Master

As one of Saigon’s few remaining green spaces, Tao Dan Park is a choice location for athletic city dwellers to hone fitness skills, catch some fresh air or relish the coolness of the park’s extensive canopy.

If you’re a frequent visitor of Tao Dan, you might have crossed paths with a martial artist who can usually be spotted doing pushups, engaging in graceful sword dances or coaching students — all on one leg and his trusty crutch.

The man is 60-year-old Ta Anh Dung, one of Saigon’s most prominent masters of the Kim Ke Tay Son Nhan discipline, a traditional Vietnamese martial art. Dung became an amputee when he was 21 while working on a fishing boat. He had an accident, and a delay in medical treatment led to necrosis and eventually amputation of his left leg from the knee down.

At first, the injury shocked him, he tells Saigoneer. But eventually, he made peace with it and started picking his life up: “The lost leg couldn’t grow back, but I have to continue my life.”

Dung’s father is martial arts master Ta Anh Dang, so the traditional form of physical art has been part of his life since he was young. In 1988, he came across a martial art class of the Kim Ke Tay Son Nhan school held by Master Dang Van Anh, and the childhood connection with his father and the passion for the art form compelled Dung to sign up.

Flash forward a few decades, and Dung got his martial arts qualification when he was 39 and has been teaching since. His students come from a diverse range of backgrounds: from local to foreign, from young children to adults, from soldiers to lawyers.

Apart from martial arts, Dung is also a multi-disciplinary sports fan who participates in swimming, cycling, marathons and more. He is a six-time competitor in Saigon’s annual marathon run.

Hear Dung’s life story in a video feature produced by Saigoneer below: