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Founder of Unified Martial Arts

9th Degree Taekwon-Do ITF, 7th Degree Judo, 5th Degree Aikido

President of ITF-USA

Over 78 Years in Martial Arts

Grand Master Van Binh's journey in the martial arts began as a child. Born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1936, Grand Master grew up in a family with eight generations of study in the martial arts. His teacher was Cu Ton, a martial arts legend in Southeast Asia.

Grand Master started his study of Judo in 1953 and became national judo champion in 1956. He began his studies in Aikido in 1961 and Taekwon-Do in 1962. In 1964, he participated in the Olympic Games at Tokyo as a member of the Republic of South Vietnam's Judo team.

In 1954, he evacuated from communist North Vietnam to live in Saigon, South Vietnam. There, he established nine martial arts schools and taught more than 60,000 students before the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. During his teaching career in South Vietnam, Grand Master presented the world's largest Taekwon-Do demonstration with over 2,000 students.

In 1975 he evacuated his family from Saigon and settled in Houston, Texas, where he established the Van Binh Self Defense Academy. Starting out teaching a few students in his home, his academy grew rapidly, as local students discovered his distinct approach to teaching the martial arts.

He has taught more than 10,000 students at his Houston-area self-defense academies, including many who have become martial arts masters, black belts and champions of local, state, national and international competitions.

Grand Master's academy, referred to as a "Dojo (Japanese)/Dojang (Korean)," has a distinct family-oriented atmosphere. Many families study together -- parents and children. His classes are not strictly designed for the young adult with exceptional athletic skills, although those who want to excel and compete in local, state and national martial arts contests find ample advanced-level training opportunities. His style of teaching is unique. Due to his training in Taekwon-Do, Judo and Aikido, he was able to take the best of each martial art style and combined them and founded "Unified Martial Arts".

He is proud of the multicultural, multi-ethnic atmosphere in his classes, where persons from around the world and of a wide range of nationalities study. During warm-ups, class members count out exercises in different languages -- English, Spanish, Vietnamese, German, Russian, French, Arabic, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean and others.

"My goal as an instructor is to build the student's self-confidence and discipline. The study of the martial arts offers many benefits -- physical fitness, mental discipline and self-defense skills," he likes to say. "It has been a great honor to teach my many students over the years. I take great pride in the progress of every student -- no matter what age, or to what belt they have advanced."


Where the Passion Begins



Chief Instructor - Over 50 Years experience

Ms. Lan Van Binh is the Chief Instructor at the Van Binh Self Defense Academy. Her training in martial arts began at age of three. By age 14, under Grand Master Van Binh's tutorlage, she assited him in teaching martial arts and eventually became an instructor at 18. In spite of the full time dedication to the martial arts, both as a student and as an instructor, Ms. Lan has managed to attend the University of Houston, and graduated with honor. Her love of martial arts led her to train in Taekwon-Do, Aikido, Judo, Tai Chi, and Yoga.


  • 8th degree Unified Martial Arts

  • 6th degree Taekwon-Do

  • 3

    nd degree Aikido

  • Bachelor of Business Administration

  • Bachelor of Accountancy

  • Local & state Taekwon-Do champion 1978-1995



Lead Instructor - 45 years experience

  • 4th degree Taekwon-Do

  • 1st degree Aikido

  • Local, State, and National Champions

  • Started training at age 8

  • Education:
    Bachelor of Accountancy - 1990
    Bachelor of Health Sciences- 1993
    Masters of Physical Therapy- 1995
    Doctor of Physical Therapy- 2019

  • Current Profession:
    Physical Therapy Doctor
    Executive Account Specialist at Allergan Neurosciences



Lead Instructor - 30 years experience

He started training at VBSDA in 1989. His wife and four children also train along his side. He has turned down many other teaching opportunities, because he prefers VBSDA, which he considers his second home and family.  His love for martial arts is only second to his love for his family. He enjoys training as well as instructing martial arts.

  • 4th degree Taekwon-Do

  • Red belt Aikido

  • Red Belt Judo

  • Local, State, and National Competitions



Assistant Instructor - 47 years experience

Barry grew up in New York City and started studying Taekwon-Do in 1971. After college, he moved to Houston for work and was fortunate to discover Van Binh Self Defense Academy in 1981. Presently, he is a 4th Degree Black belt in Taekwon-Do, a red belt in Aikido and a green belt in Judo. Martial Arts has been incorporated into to his life and has helped him to get through some of life’s most difficult challenges.

  • 4th degree Taekwon-Do

  • Red Belt Aikido

  • Green Belt Judo

combined ITF & VBS.jpg


Assistant Instructor - 18 years experience

Alex is Ms. Lan Van Binh’s only child. He practically grew up in the martial arts school. He watched the classes while his mother trained or taught class. He started training at age 4 under the guidance of GM Van Binh, his grandfather, Ms. Lan Van Binh, and Lee Van Binh, his uncle. He started competing when he was six years old and never failed to place. Despite the busy training schedule, he graduated high school in top six percent. Currently he’s attending Texas A&M, College Station, Texas, majoring in Bio-Medical Engineering and works as a math and science tutor. His martial arts training background gave him a strong foundation in his life.

  • 2nd degree Taekwon-Do



Assistant Instructor - 9 years experience

Frank was exposed to martial arts when he was just learning how to walk as he watched his father, Mr. Francisco Alvarez, trained. He formally started his martial arts training when he was only 4 years old. He was promoted to 1st degree black belt at age 15 and still continues to train regularly while assists in teaching younger children.  He practices all of our martial arts: Taekwon-Do, Aikido and Judo and he's fast --bso watch-out when sparring him.

  • 2nd degree Taekwon-Do

  • Orange belt Aikido




Owner of Houston Self Defense Academy
7th Degree black belt ITF
8th Degree black belt Unified Martial Arts

Master Hanh began his martial arts training in Vietnam under GM Van Binh at a very young age. He was one of the Chief Instructors at Oh Do Kwan, GM Van Binh’s school in South Vietnam. In 1968, he was a National Champion in his weight division in the South VN National Championship. In 1971, he was one of the eight black belts chosen to represent South VN at the Champion of Asia in Malaysia, and again won the title of TKD Champion of Asia. He escaped Vietnam in 1980's and settled in Houston. Pursuing his passion for Taekwon-Do, he joined GM Van Binh and eventually opened nd directed his own school.



8th degree black belt Han Moon Kwan
7th degree black belt ITF Taekwon-Do
Chairman of South VN Technical Committee 1979 – 1991.

Master Lam also began his martial arts training in Vietnam under GM Van Binh when he was 13 years old. He started teaching at age 17 at Oh Do Kwan, GM Van Binh’s school in S. VN. He was a 1969 gold medalist in the National Military Championship as well as team and individual medalistt in numerous tournaments. With over 50 years of teaching experience, he has coached competitors in Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and USA. He currently teaches Taekwon-Do classes at the Houston Vietnamese Community Center.

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