Four weeks ago, I woke up in a dorm room at the University of North Carolina. The excitement began to set in as the sleepiness wore off. I was 2,342 miles from home and my toddler, about to embark on four days of living the martial artist’s dream. I was at training camp; my schedule was cleared, with nothing but Cuong Nhu on the docket for the holiday weekend.
I’ve been to training camp eight times before. I’ve flown across the country, taken red-eye-multi-layover flights, and one time even a greyhound bus. And every time it has been totally worth it. Worth the time, energy, and expense needed to get there. Once at camp, it’s like time stops. Everything in the “real world” fades away and doesn’t matter. It is four days of training hard, learning new things, working out with your counterparts from near and far, developing new friendships, and celebrating the people who make up Cuong Nhu.
This year was the first time I’ve gone since becoming a mom. My daughter is almost two, and while I missed her a great deal, I was also thrilled to immerse myself in the training camp experience once again. I joined some three hundred and fifty people, including Sensei Didi and Sensei Paul from Redwood Dojo, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I re-connected with the Cuong Nhu family that is spread across the country.
From discussing the theory of quantum physics with the head of Unity Martial Arts in Arkansas, to exploring the subtleties of soft-style with instructors from World Headquarters, to debating where to find the supplies needed to make a rope dart with brown belts from Rohai Dojo, the camp experience is always a unique one. This year was especially significant because it included Sensei Didi’s promotion to Shichidan (7th degree master). You may have noticed her new belt when we returned from IATC (International Annual Training Camp).
Training camp sounds great! Can I go to IATC next year?
Yes! All Cuong Nhu students are welcome. There are classes for all ranks, for kids and adults. Redwood Dojo students and instructors make the trip out regularly. It is always on Memorial Day weekend, so you can start planning now!
If you want a taste of training camp but aren’t ready to fly across the country, we bring the camp to you! Each year we have West Cost Training Camp here in the Bay Area. Mark your calendars now – it will be September 28-29, 2018. With so many great instructors and students visiting from all over the country, be sure you don’t miss out!
P.S. A big thank you to those who stayed behind and taught classes while we were away at camp!