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]

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!


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.

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!

Fall Testing Day – Thursday, November 15

Fall Testing Day is upon us; test lists for the children’s classes have been posted, and the instructors are looking forward to seeing how much progress everyone has made in recent months.

Parents: If you missed seeing the test lists due to the Veteran’s Day holiday, please message Sensei Didi (email redwoodojo[at] for a copy of the list – or simply to ask which test your child is scheduled for. In cases where a student has not yet met the attendance or skills requirements for their next rank, the student is assigned to the Fitness and Skills Challenge.

What is the “Fitness and Skills Challenge”? For students not yet qualified to test for their next belt rank, we have devised a fun and diabolical Challenge exam that tests fitness, agility, and the essential martial arts skill areas of stances, striking, kicking, and blocking. Even the very newest students are going to have fun on this exam. Students will earn scores in each area, and set goals to raise their performance on future tests. This is not a competition – except in the traditional martial arts sense of “competition with oneself.” Constant self-improvement is one of our most important values.

This is the first time we have given this exam, and we can’t wait to see how everyone does!

Test day reminders:

Arrive on time, if not early!

Be in uniform – a compete, clean uniform and belt. (No uniform = no test for rank!)

Take care of fees (if any are due) prior to class.

Parents & family members: Please keep the viewing area quiet at all times!

The Redwood Dojo instructors and assistants look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

Autumn Events, Recent and Future

West Coast Training Camp 2011 was the biggest yet, and if sweat and blisters are any indication, it was a success. Instructors and students came from as far away as Jacksonville, Florida and Morristown, Tennessee, as well as Seattle, Washington and our southern neighbor, San Diego. Special thanks to Sensei Darius Jones, who flew out a day early from Clemson, South Carolina, and made a surprise visit to the Redwood Dojo kids’ classes.
If you attended WCTC, please share some of what you learned with your classmates who weren’t able to attend, and encourage them to attend next year: same time, same place.

Tests and belts aren’t important… As much as we remind people that rank is not important – the important thing is to train hard and persevere – it’s still gratifying to see one’s progress recognized with a belt promotion. And it’s gratifying to an instructor to see large groups of students mastering the material and progressing through the ranks together. With all the recent testing, it’s clear Redwood Dojo is going strong. Of special note: we now have eight adults and teens at two black stripe level, training together for black belt. This is no small achievement; it takes many years of hard work to achieve that rank in Cuong Nhu. There’s more hard work ahead – but it’s made easier by the teamwork and camaraderie of the group, and the support of every member of the dojo.

The November Open Workout for adults coming up. November 1st is the first Tuesday; start off the month with a great workout. Come and bring a friend (age 18 and up) to train with us from 7 to 8 p.m. Wear loose, comfortable workout clothes (we train in bare feet). No experience is necessary, but if you have some previous training, that’s fine, too. You can pre-register here for the Open Workout, and please let us know if you have any questions.

December Spar Wars. Rohai Dojo’s annual sparring tournament, Spar Wars, will be here soon – Saturday, December 10th. It’s an excellent opportunity for green belts and above to test their free-sparring skills in friendly competition. In addition, purple belts and above, all ages, are eligible to take part in padded sword sparring. Mark your calendar, and stay tuned for more details and registration info.

Free Workout for Adults, Tuesday August 2 at 7 pm

Our monthly Free Workout is coming up. Friends, neighbors, parents – join us Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 for an introductory training session that will get your heart pumping and give you a taste of what we practice here at Redwood Dojo. You can pre-register here (but if you’re reading this at the last minute, just come on by). Wear loose, comfortable workout clothing, and try to arrive a few minutes early.

Also coming up: Our August “summer holiday schedule.” Current students: don’t forget about our temporary changes of schedule for the month of August. The changes only affect kids classes for age 6 & up, and the instructors who assist with those classes. See the previous post, or the note at the bottom of the schedule page, for complete details.

Important Schedule Information for August 2011

In keeping with our long-standing annual tradition, we’ll be combining all the kids’ classes into a single section for the month of August, due to traditionally low attendance as people take their last vacations of the summer. For those who remain in town, it’s a great chance for the younger and newer students to train with the more advanced kids, and an opportunity for those senior-rank children to fulfill their position as role models, and help out the younger students.

This notice was just posted over on the Schedule page:

FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST ONLY: All kids’ classes (age 6 & up) are combined into a single section, TUESDAY AND THURSDAY, 5 TO 6 P.M. That means NO Monday 5pm class; NO Tuesday/Thursday 4pm classes; ONLY Tuesday/Thursday 5pm for kids of all ages and ranks. The regular schedule resumes Thursday, September 1st.
Pre-Karate for ages 4.5 – 5 continues to meet on Monday at 4 p.m.
There will be no classes on Labor Day, September 5, 2011.

Info Available Here

Did you know you can download a printed copy of Bac Dau kata from this page? Bac Dau is the first kata learned in the kids’ classes at Redwood Dojo, and it’s a great way for new students (of all ages) to practice their basics.
Other downloads include the general information sheet about Redwood Dojo, which includes a class schedule; and a Frequently-Asked Questions sheet for kids and parents about belt/rank testing. From time to time, we make other documents available as needed – for example, flyers and registration forms for seminars, training camps and tournaments.
To locate these downloads, look in the right-hand column of this page, and scroll down till you see a blue box called “FREE INFO.” Then click on the name of the document you’d like to download.
Redwood Dojo students and parents: please subscribe to this blog so you can stay up to date on information and events. It’s easy; just click on the link under “Subscribe by email” – also in the right-hand column, just above the blue box.

Martial Arts for Adults

Years ago, we used to have a flyer with the headline “Martial Arts Isn’t Just for Kids.” It’s easy for people to think karate schools with large children’s programs are just for children – there are so many kids running around in uniforms playing at kicking and punching. And when a program is located at a community recreation center with children’s after-school programs and camps, it’s easy to assume the martial arts class is for kids, too.

Martial arts training is a serious, challenging activity, and it’s definitely not just for kids. Some of it is not for kids at all.

Redwood Dojo’s adult class has been ongoing since January 1992. We’re now taking registrations for a new group of adults who would like to begin their training with others like themselves. Our target start date is Tuesday, June 7, but this may be adjusted according to response.

If you’d like to be part of a new adult beginner’s group, please use the pre-registration link (it will take you to a page on our old website), or email an inquiry to info[at]

Here’s a copy of our flyer: Martial Arts For Adults
Feel free to print it out and use it as a pre-registration form if you prefer. And share it with your friends – the more the better. Training with a group of friends can be motivating and help get everyone off to a strong start.

Countdown to the International Training Camp

The Cuong Nhu international training camp, or IATC, is coming up in less than two weeks! We’ll have a contingent of about a dozen students and instructors attending this year, flying to Atlanta for the Memorial Day weekend event. This year’s camp will be held on the campus of Emory University.

IATC offers two-and-a-half days of training for students of all ages, ranks and abilities. Participants get to choose from a wide variety of classes, often getting a taste of special topics or advanced techniques they might not get as a regular part of the curriculum. They also get to see black belt testing, dan rank testing (for higher degrees of black belt), and demonstrations, and take class with top instructors from across the U.S. and the world.

IATC is also a “family reunion” of sorts for Cuong Nhu members, who enjoy getting together with old friends – and making new ones – within the Cuong Nhu extended family. We’re expecting over 400 participants this year.

If you weren’t able to make the trip this year, mark your calendar for next year! IATC always takes place on Memorial Day Weekend, and traditionally goes to the same city two years in a row – so you can plan ahead to be in Atlanta bright and early on Friday, May 25, 2012.