Cuong Nhu Redwood Dojo has offered traditional martial arts training to the Oakland community since 1992. With classes at the Redwood Heights Community Center, we provide serious, ongoing training in a beautiful facility, at a very low cost.


Master Didi Goodman, shichidan (7th degree), founded Redwood Dojo when the “new” Redwood Heights Recreation Center opened its doors in January 1992.  Since then, thousands of students have studied Cuong Nhu Martial Arts at Redwood Dojo.  In January 2018, Lara Tribe-Jones was promoted to head instructor.


Head Instructor Lara Tribe-Jones, Sandan (third degree black belt), began her training at Redwood Dojo more than 25 years ago, while a student at Redwood Heights Elementary.  Sensei Lara holds an M.A. in Education, a B.A. in mathematics, and a California Teaching Credential. A former Oakland middle school teacher, she has taught kids and teens in classroom, camp, dojo, and after-school settings.  She shares her life-long passion for martial arts and education with students of all ages.

Founder Didi Goodman, Shichidan (seventh degree Master), has 40 years’ experience in the martial arts, and regularly teaches at regional and national seminars. Prior to dedicating herself to Cuong Nhu, she spent many years training in Taekwondo and Aikido. She founded Redwood Dojo in 1992.  She is the author of  The Kids’ Karate Workbook: A Take-Home Training Guide for Young Martial Artists, from North Atlantic/Blue Snake Books.

Sensei Lara (left) and Master Didi (right) demonstrate a wrist lock to onlooking black belts.

Cuong Nhu

Redwood Dojo offers ongoing classes for adults, teens and children, in the Vietnamese art of Cuong Nhu (pronounced kung new). “Cuong Nhu” means “hard soft” in Vietnamese. Cuong Nhu is an ethical system that teaches the importance of respect, good character, and the avoidance of conflict. In terms of martial arts techniques, it is an eclectic art; that is, it draws techniques and principles from a variety of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese martial arts. Beginning students concentrate mainly on “hard style” kicks, blocks, strikes, and stances, similar to what you might see at traditional Japanese Karate or Korean Taekwondo schools. This practice builds the solid foundation of strength, stamina, confidence and self-discipline needed to progress to more advanced martial arts studies (not to mention how valuable these qualities are in everyday life!). As students progress through the ranks, they learn more and more “soft style” circular, flowing, and defensive techniques drawn from such arts as Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Vovinam, Aikido and Judo.

Redwood Dojo is affiliated with the Cuong Nhu Martial Arts Association, a federally recognized non-profit educational organization.  Students are asked to join the association (CNMA) before their first rank test at Redwood Dojo.  To learn more, visit the Cuong Nhu website.

Our Programs

We offer classes for children, teens, and adults.  The formal martial arts structure gives students of all ages a chance to learn martial arts skills and so much more.  They have fun while exercising, learning self-defense skills, increasing self-confidence, developing control, and cultivating respect.

Our youngest students learn valuable and age-appropriate skills in the Pre-Karate program (ages 4.5 and 5).  This class develops fine and gross motor skills, cultivates respect, teaches safety, and instills the importance of cooperation.  Kids who are six or older start in the Beginning Kids martial arts classes.  These students learn “hard style” martial arts while developing discipline and respect in a safe and supportive environment.

Our teen and adult students attend two to three rigorous classes a week.  These students tap into their physical potential, sharpen their focus and concentration, and channel stress and aggression into a beautiful form of art.  Our supportive and non-judgmental classes help each student push themselves to improve physical skills and develop mental fortitude.

The Cuong Nhu Redwood Dojo community welcomes students of all ages and skill levels who want to learn martial arts. Check the current schedule of classes and join the waitlist to get started.  You can also check our FAQ or contact us to learn more.