What is Cuong Nhu?

Cuong Nhu (pronounced “kung new”) means “hard-soft” in Vietnamese. It is an eclectic martial art that blends techniques and principles drawn from seven hard and soft martial arts styles: Shotokan karate, Wing Chun kung fu, Aikido, Judo, Vovinam (native Vietnamese martial arts), Tai Chi and Western-style Boxing.  See our about page for more information.

Who teaches the classes?

Chief 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.  She now holds an M.A. in Education 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.

Founder Didi Goodman, Shichidan (7th 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.

Brown and black belt students assist with the classes.  Click here to see active black belts.

Why are the classes so inexpensive?

Redwood Dojo is fortunate to be able to offer serious, ongoing instruction through Oakland’s Redwood Heights Community Center. This lets us keep our fees very low (to learn more, visit our pricing page).  If you are interested in contributing to our scholarship fund to help students attend special seminars and training camps, please speak to the instructor.

Are there any other costs?

A traditional white karate uniform costs $32 and up, based on size. Students who test for belt ranking in Cuong Nhu are asked to join the Cuong Nhu Martial Arts Association, for $40/year ($65/family). There is also a $5-$10 test fee for each rank test, to help cover costs. Occasionally, a special class or seminar will be offered for an additional fee, and these may take place during regular class times.  For additional details, visit the pricing page or ask the instructor.

How often do students take tests for rank?

Students test for belt ranks when they are ready, and it depends on the individual. We do not make our students test and pay test fees on a set schedule. It all depends on good attendance, good effort, and dedicated practice. A student who misses a lot of classes will take longer than one who attends regularly and practices outside class.

How can I get started?

Select an appropriate class time from the schedule, and plan to try a class free of charge. Come to your first class wearing loose, comfortable workout clothes. Monday and Tuesday are the best options for trying a free kids’ class. You can register online to schedule your visit to adult class or kids’ class.

Do I need a uniform?

You do not need a uniform to get started. However, once you or your child decides to join the class, a traditional white karate gi is strongly recommended. The uniform is required of students who test for belt ranks.

Where and how can I get a uniform?

You may purchase a Cuong Nhu uniform directly from the instructor if you wish. We get our uniforms through Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate, and if you would like to purchase from them directly, you are welcome to do so. They’re located at 1819 San Pablo Avenue, north of University Avenue in Berkeley (between Hearst and Delaware). Business hours are 3:30 to 8:30 Monday-Friday. Phone 510-526-4880 for more info.