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.

Who teaches the classes?
Chief Instructor Didi Goodman, Rokudan (6th 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.

Sensei Lara Tribe-Jones, Nidan (second degree black belt) began her training at Redwood Dojo more than 20 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.

Brown and black belt students assist with the classes.

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: $55 a month for adults & teens, $52 for kids, $30 a month for Peewees. If paying a higher fee would make you feel the service is more valuable, please feel free to do so!

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 Oriental 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.

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. (When you click the link, you will be taken to Redwood Dojo’s old website.)

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.

Is there any information I can download?

Yes! You may download our general information sheet, which includes schedule and fee information; a FAQs page that answers many questions about when and how kids’ test for belts and ranks; and Bac Dau Kata, the first “form” or “kata” that students in the children’s program learn. Click on the links below.

Redwood Dojo Info Sheet

Test FAQ for Kids

Bac Dau kata


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