Vietnam's Sacred Beasts at CrossFit Thao Dien
Updated: Jan 16
When we set up our gym, we wanted to incorporate local culture and identify. Partly for fun, in the interest of learning, and to teach others. We chose the four sacred beasts of Vietnamese mythology. We incorporated the Ky Lan into our logo, and dragon, turtle and phoenix into the names of our speciality classes. But what do they represent?
The Ky Lan (“Vietnamese unicorn”)
The Ky Lan is an imaginary beast that features many different animals’ characteristics. At various times and in various places, it has taken on features of a lion, tiger, deer, dragon, giraffe, wreathes of flames and smoke, an ox-tail and carp whiskers, even though it is most likely compared to as a unicorn. Seen as symbol of luck, prestige and intelligence by local people, it appears on extremely special occasions. The Ky Lan is said to herald the arrival or passing of a great ruler or sage, so we thought it would be a good omen to include it on the logo of our business.
The Phoenix (Phuong)
This elegant mythical bird represents grace, nobility, virtue and pride. According to myths around the world the phoenix burnt its nest, and days later rose again from the ashes, and it therefore symbolises rebirth, regeneration and survival. The phoenix is often represented opposite the dragon, and, together they represent the perfect marriage of strength and elegance, similar to the yin and the yang.
Our phoenix mobility class is designed to help you rise from the ashes and achieve grace and virtue in your body and your movements! A mobility, stability and stretching session.
The Vietnamese Dragon (Long)
To the Vietnamese, the dragon symbolises power, nobility and immortality. Many famous features of Vietnam are names after the dragon – including Ha Long bay and the Mekong river (“Cuu long”) – and in fact in Vietnamese mythology, the Vietnamese are descendants of the dragon. Legend has it that Lạc Long Quân, king of the dragons fell in love with Âu Cơ, a fairy from the bird kingdom. She gave birth to 100 sons and the first-born son became King Hùng Vương of Lạc Việt, the first dynasty of Vietnam. As a result there is a proverb saying the Vietnamese are “con rồng cháu tiên” or “children of the dragon and grandchildren of the fairy”.
Our dragon endurance class reflects the role of the dragon in the birth of Vietnam, as endurance is a foundation for physical fitness. Also because dragons breathe fire, and you will be HOT after these workouts!
The turtle / black tortoise (Rua / Quy)
Thu turtle symbolises longevity, strength and intelligence. It’s legend is closely related to the independence of Vietnam in the 15th century - Lê Lời, who led the Vietnamese to fight against the Chinese invaders in the 15th century, borrowed a sword from the dragon king. After he defeated the Chinese, he returned the sacred sword to the king via the king’s disciple, a turtle, which lived in a jade water lake. This lake is Hoan Kiem lake in the centre of Hanoi. The turtle has also signified the importance of education in society – best demonstrated by the presence of stone turtles at the Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu), also in Hanoi.
Our turtle strength class prepares intermediate and experienced athletes for battle in the gym, teaching you to be strong in a slower but HEAVY class focussing on weightlifting, powerlifting, and gymnastic strength.
As of 2020 only the Phoenix mobility is a separate class.
Turtle and Dragon are fully incorporated into long-term session planning of CrossFit
By CrossFit Thao Dien Team