Holiday Schedule

We are coming up on the end of 2017 – our 26th year!  For the end of December and beginning of January the Redwood Heights Recreation Center will be closed.  Our last class of the year will be Saturday, December 23.  Classes will resume at Redwood Dojo on Thursday, January 4 for current students.  New students will begin on Monday, January 8 or Tuesday, January 9.

But don’t worry, you will still have the opportunity to practice over the holidays!

It is a Redwood Dojo tradition for students to visit Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate (Rohai Dojo) over the holidays, to meet new friends and practice Cuong Nhu at our “sister school.”  All students are invited and encouraged to attend make-up classes Wednesday, December 27 through Friday, December 29.  Kid/Peewee classes are from 5 to 6 PM and Teen/Adult classes are from 6 to 7 PM.  See the schedule below for details.

2017 holiday sched2

Rohai Dojo is located at 1819 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, 1.5 blocks north of University Avenue, between Hearst and Delaware.  Whether you go to Berkeley or not, don’t forget to practice!

We look forward to closing out a great year at the dojo, and then…

We’ll launch into 2018 with a 26th Anniversary Celebration!

January 21: Be sure to mark this exciting event on your calendars!  The Redwood Dojo celebration will include a demonstration by students and a potluck party.  We want all students to participate in the demonstration.  Family and friends are invited to watch, and then join the party fun.  Keep an eye out for more details to follow.

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Fall 2017 happenings…

As summer draws to a close all too soon, and kids get ready to return to school, we at Redwood Dojo are looking forward to returning to our full schedule, starting on Monday, August 21st.

If you’ve been away for the summer, we look forward to having you back! Stop by and let us know you’ll be in class, so we can save your space and make our lesson plans. If you’re a former member of “peewees” now ready for “big kids’ class” (age 6-7), plan to attend on Mondays at 5 pm and Thursdays at 4. All new and returning students – check the class schedule here, and let us know if you have any questions about which class to attend.

Sensei Lara is in the house! If you trained in the dojo this summer, you had a chance to take class with Sensei Lara Tribe-Jones, and she’s now going to be a regular instructor at Redwood Dojo. Sensei Lara grew up in the dojo (so to speak)! That is, she began training here when she was a young student at Redwood Heights Elementary, earned her black belt with us, then went away to college after graduating from Oakland Tech.

Demo at Sarah's Science "Ninja Science Week"
Sensei Lara prepares a group of Redwood and Rohai Dojo students for a Cuong Nhu demonstration at Sarah’s Science camp in Roberts Regional Park.

Luckily for Redwood Dojo, she returned to Oakland after college and continued her martial arts training while earning a masters degree and teaching middle school math in OUSD. Now we can all benefit from her considerable talents as an instructor. Just one more good reason to come take class.

West Coast Training Camp is on our calendar; be sure to put it on yours! Every fall, the Bay Area Cuong Nhu community hosts a martial arts training weekend for all ages and levels, featuring Grandmaster Quynh Ngo, Cuong Nhu’s head-of-style, and many of the top instructors in our organization. This year it’s scheduled for October 6th & 7th. Classes are held on Friday evening and all day Saturday (including a catered lunch), at nearby Alameda High School. Children age 6 & up are welcome (we make a point of bringing in instructors who love to teach kids), and of course, there will be a wide range of special classes for adults and teens. Details can be found at Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate’s website, or on the Facebook event page. Don’t miss it!

Welcome, and welcome back! Fall schedule under way.

As promised in the previous post, our full class schedule resumed last Monday, August 22, and Sensei Didi is back in the dojo full time, hoping to see everyone back in class again. All sections are open to new students at this time. Let’s get started!

And West Coast Training Camp is coming up, too! This very special martial arts seminar for all ages and levels takes place every year near the end of September, and we encourage everyone – including kids age 6 & up – to take part. We bring high-ranking Cuong Nhu instructors from across the U.S., including head-of-style Grandmaster Quynh Ngo, to the Bay Area, so all of you will have the chance to meet them and take class. (This is much easier for most of you than attending Cuong Nhu’s annual training camp in North Carolina.)

For more information please CLICK HERE to read about it – and register! – on Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate‘s website. Or visit the Facebook WCTC Event Page.

Spring Tournament: New Event for Parents!

Rohai Dojo’s Spring Tournament (which this year takes place the day before Spring, on Saturday, March 19) has always had a special division for Family Team Kata (parents and kids performing kata together). In the past, though, it has only been open to parents who train in karate. This year, for the first time, we welcome ANY parent who wants to compete alongside their child or children to enter a special division. Come in for a few classes to learn a basic kata from your child’s instructor – or work with your child to create a kata, and come in to get some expert coaching in the lead-up to the event. Families at Rohai Dojo are invited to attend the Wednesday 6 p.m. Family Class to practice together, if they cannot attend together at other times.

At Redwood Dojo, Sensei Didi will be coaching family kata during the Saturday Morning class on March 12, and/or at other times arranged by interested families. Saturday morning class meets outdoors, so dress warmly and wear waterproof shoes! As of today, the weather forecast predicts that it will not rain before noon on Saturday, so all should be well. However, if we do get rained out, family team kata groups should attend anyway, and we’ll find somewhere we can sneak inside and practice quietly.

Try it, parents! This is going to be fun.

If you have not yet registered for the tournament, or did not receive a flyer or hear announcements during class, please visit the Rohai Dojo website for complete information. https://rohaidojo.com/2016/02/22/twentieth-annual-kata-tournament/

You may also click HERE to register online. Note that more than one family member can be signed up with a single transaction; to do this, click the “sign up a friend” button after entering the information for the first registrant.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sensei Didi at redwoodojo[at]earthlink.net.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Saturday Class at Redwood Dojo on March 19, as we will all be at the Tournament. See you there!

Don’t Miss West Coast Training Camp!

WCTC is coming up soon! This year it takes place on Friday evening, October 2nd, and all day Saturday the 3rd, at Alameda High School, just 15 minutes away. As always, we’re bringing in some of the top instructors in Cuong Nhu, including head-of-style Grandmaster Quynh Ngo, to teach students of all ages and ranks. This is your chance to get a taste of international Cuong Nhu, without having to travel to North Carolina for the annual international training camp. Don’t miss it!

It’s a great event for kids, and a great training opportunity for adults of all ranks, including beginners. WCTC2014For full details, please follow this link to Rohai Dojo’s website. If you’d like to go directly to registration, click on this registration link. At the bottom of the registration page, after you send in your information by clicking “submit,” you’ll find a link that will allow you to pay online by credit card if you wish.

Can you help by hosting an out-of-town guest? Every year, people travel from as far away as Florida, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Georgia to take part in our event. Most stay at the official WCTC hotel in Alameda, but some prefer to stay with a local family, to make new friends (and save a little money on travel costs). If you can host an out-of-town guest and help them get to Alameda for the events Friday and Saturday, please let us know by emailing Sensei Didi at redwoodojo[at]earthlink.net.

Thanks, and see you at the event!

Here are some of the folks who came last year. Make sure YOU are in this year's picture!
Here are some of the folks who came last year. Make sure YOU are in this year’s picture!

P.S. Did we mention that WCTC is the only national training event with an official Cookie Break? Register today!

Special Event!

Master Nguyễn văn Nhân, head of Cuong Nhu in Vietnam, will be teaching in Berkeley and Oakland on Monday and Tuesday, June 1-2. MasterNhanThis is a very special visit, creating a bridge of friendship between the Cuong Nhu schools founded by O Sensei Ngo Dong in the U.S., and the Vietnamese “descendants” of his original schools in Vietnam. Master Nhân attended the Cuong Nhu 50th anniversary training camp in Raleigh, North Carolina, over Memorial Day weekend, and since then has been visiting Cuong Nhu schools in Florida, including the National Headquarters. He is now honoring us with a visit, and I hope everyone will be able to attend and take class.

The schedule will be as follows (adults in particular are encouraged to attend on both days):

Monday, June 1st, at Rohai Dojo in Berkeley (aka Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate)

4 to 5 p.m. Kids purple belt & above
5 to 6 p.m. beginning kids
6 to 8 p.m. class for adults and teens (all ranks), and kids green belt & above
Dinner after class (details tba)
Location: 1819 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, 1.5 blocks north of University Avenue
Call 526-4880 for directions

Tuesday, June 2nd, at Redwood Dojo in Oakland

4 to 5 p.m. beginning kids
5 to 6 p.m. kids purple belt & above
6 to 7 p.m. teen class (adults welcome)
7 to 8:30 p.m class for adults and teens (all ranks), and kids green belt & above
Dinner after class (details tba)
Location: Redwood Heights Community Center, 3883 Aliso Avenue, Oakland, just off Highway 13 at Redwood Road.
Call 482-7827 for directions

Note to Redwood Teens: You are strongly encouraged to stay for the adult class.

Note to kids age 6 & 7 who do not normally attend on Tuesday: If you would like to take class from Master Nhân, you may ask Sensei Didi’s permission to take part. You may also attend class just to watch. VietnamStudents-narrow

Train for Berkeley’s Spring Tournament

Rohai Dojo’s annual Kata Tournament is coming up soon – on Saturday, March 15th. In case you didn’t receive a flyer and registration form in class last week, it’s now possible to download them from Rohai’s website at this link:

The Spring Tournament is Coming

They’re also offering an online registration and payment option this year. That should make it easier to get registered before the late fee kicks in on March 5th! Visit their website and follow the links to use this option.

We’ve been practicing “tournament style” in some classes, and hopefully students of all ages and ranks will be inspired to train to a new level. That, after all, is the point: trying to be the best we can be!

Let Sensei Didi know if you have any questions about the tournament, registration and payment… or anything else concerning your or your child’s training.

Upcoming Tournament, Holiday Schedule and More

What a great month November was! Nearly 75 students tested for rank on the 21st, demonstrating their hard work and accomplishments before an overflow crowd.

Way back on the 16th, we had a great group of competitors attend “Spar Wars” at Rohai Dojo in Berkeley, for padded sword sparring, team sparring, and empty-hand sparring. Some won medals, and everyone had a great time.

Next on the agenda is the Hoa Sen Challenge on Sunday, December 8th, a friendly tournament at our other nearby “sister school” in Emeryville. This competition is open to any student who can perform at least one kata (Bac Dau, Taikyoku or higher); green belts and above may compete in sparring. For online registration, please CLICK HERE. Use the second registration link, and be sure to state that you are from Redwood Dojo. Let Sensei Didi know you plan to compete, and we’ll do some extra practice during class this week.

More About Testing for Rank

It’s exhilarating to promote a large group of kids to their next rank, as we did on November 21. These large quarterly tests are relatively new to Redwood Dojo; for most of our (almost) 22 years of operation, we have used a traditional “test when you’re ready and when Sensei schedules a test” approach. After this recent test, we’ve decided to go back to the old way.

While the “mass quarterly test” has some advantages, so, too, does the traditional approach. During the coming year, students will be expected (as always) to attend class, work hard, do their best – and NOT ask the instructor, “When do I get to test?” Tests will be scheduled when a student or group has demonstrated readiness by their performance in class. Parents, if you have any questions about testing, now or in the future, feel free to ask Sensei Didi (as long as the question isn’t “When will my child get to test!?” – The answer to that is always the same: “When he or she is ready!”) You may also download a “Test FAQs” page from this website (look for it in the right-hand column of this page, in the box called “flash widget”).

Holiday Schedule: Thanksgiving Weekend and December

Saturday Outdoor Class WILL meet after Thanksgiving
(Saturday morning, Nov. 30, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.). Thanks in advance to Senseis Paul and Jim for teaching.

In late December, Redwood Dojo will be closed from just before Christmas to just after New Years. During the holiday break, students who wish to do so are welcome to attend available classes at Rohai Dojo in Berkeley, where a limited holiday schedule will be in effect. (More details will be available from Sensei Didi.) Our last 2013 class at Redwood will be on Saturday morning, December 21st, and classes will resume on Saturday, January 4th. All classes, including “peewees,” will be back on schedule as of Monday, January 6th.

Rank Testing and Other Upcoming Events

Thank you to a few parents who pointed out that our Session Test Date was not in the Rec Center program book and posted on the bulletin board as announced. Apologies for that; and here is the information:

Rank testing for all students in the kids’ classes will take place on Thursday, November 21, during regular class times. Please note:

– Students will receive written notice prior to that date, indicating whether they are testing for rank, and for which rank.

– On test day, students should arrive for class early, and in a proper uniform with the patch sewn on. Students not in proper uniform will not test.

– Students not eligible to test for rank will instead complete a fun “challenge test,” and work on their skills.

– Classes sometimes run overtime on test days; please be prepared.

There is a fee for testing – to cover expenses, and, as an old martial arts instructor at UC Berkeley once said, “To keep you honest.” The way in which test fees are collected has changed as of this session, so please read the test fee information carefully when you receive your child’s test notice. Test fees should be paid and recorded prior to the test.

OTHER IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR NOVEMBER

The Redwood Heights facility will be closed on Monday, November 11, for Veteran’s Day. On that day:

Peewee Class will meet outdoors from 4 to 5 p.m. Dress for the weather (if it’s cold, wear a warm shirt under the uniform), and wear light-weight sneakers for class.

Karate A (6- & 7-year-old beginners) is cancelled; students may attend a make-up class on Tuesday, November 12, at 4 p.m.

Our Sister School – Rohai Dojo in Berkeley – is offering a “Parent’s Day Off” Camp on the Friday after Thanksgiving (so-called “Black Friday”). Kids – including siblings who are not martial arts students – will be able to spend the day at the dojo while parents get some shopping done, go to the movies, or just relax. The day includes pizza lunch, a healthful snack, and of course, martial arts-inspired fun and games. Sensei Didi will be helping with the camp. If you’re interested, ask Sensei Didi for a flyer, or contact Rohai Dojo directly at 526-4880.

Also at Rohai Dojo: Spar Wars! The annual sparring tournament is coming up soon, on Saturday the 16th, starting at 1 p.m. Green Belts are eligible to compete in empty-hand sparring; purple belts and above may compete in padded sword sparring. Many students have already received flyers; if you haven’t, please ask Sensei Didi.

Hoa Sen Dojo Tournament: The annual kata and sparring tournament at Hoa Sen Dojo in Emeryville is coming up on Sunday, December 8. Kata competition is open to all ranks and ages, provided they know a kata well enough to perform before a panel of judges. All are encouraged to take part – and especially those who are shy and don’t want to! See Sensei Didi for information, and watch this space for a link to more info.

Important Reminders for 9-26-13

The West Coast Training Camp instructors are arriving today! They’re coming in a day early to give dan-rank tests at Rohai Dojo (Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate) in Berkeley.

All kids classes, as well as Teen/Adult class, WILL meet today. However, Adult Class is cancelled today, as all instructors (and everyone else who’s able) will be in Berkeley to support Sensei Sara Falls, who is taking her shodan test.

There will be no Saturday class at Redwood Dojo this Saturday, since we’ll all be at West Coast Training Camp! Please see our previous post for more details. You may also visit the Rohai Dojo website for information, including a schedule of classes.

More Information on Shodan Testing

For those of you unfamiliar with (or new to) Cuong Nhu, ‘shodan’ means ‘first degree black belt.’ In our style, unlike many others, ‘black belt’ and ‘shodan’ are not the same thing. A Cuong Nhu student who passes a comprehensive test for black belt is not yet a ‘first degree black belt.’ To earn the title ‘shodan’ and the first red stripe on the belt, the student must continue to train and teach for 6 months to a year, at which time they must demonstrate proficiency in soft style. This includes performing the kata “Nhu 1” with applications, as well as demonstrating skill at soft style techniques learned previously.

If you’re not able to attend Sensei Sara’s test this evening, send good thoughts her way!