December 2015 Class Schedule

Happy Holidays to all, as 2015 winds down, and we prepare to begin our 24th year at Redwood Heights!

As has become our tradition, we will hold classes on a reduced schedule right before Christmas, and between the 25th and the New Year, we will travel to our sister school in Berkeley to work out with our fellow Cuong Nhu members.

Here are the specifics of the Redwood Dojo Holiday Schedule:

Monday, December 21: All classes meet as usual.
Tuesday, December 22: All kids, all ranks, all ages 8 & up, meet at 5 p.m. (no class at 4 p.m.); Teens and Adults meet together from 6 to 7:30 (no 7 to 8:30 class).
No classes at Redwood Dojo from December 23 through January 3 – visit Rohai Dojo between the big holidays!
Classes resume Monday, January 4.

Redwood students are welcome and encouraged to visit Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate (Rohai Dojo) to take class on Monday, Jan. 28th through Wednesday the 30th, as appropriate. Their schedule is shown below; please read carefully to see which classes you may attend. NOTE: “Tigers” are Peewees age 4-5.

Holiday Schedule


Important Dates for Fall Session 2015

With school starting on August 24th (if not sooner), our summer schedule running through the 31st, and Labor Day falling a week into September – there’s bound to be some confusion, for both new and returning students, about when to come to class over the next couple weeks. Here are some reminders:

Our regular schedule (posted here) resumes on Tuesday, September 1st. That means during the last week of August, all kids, all ages (6 & up) are still meeting together on Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m. Our regular 4 p.m. classes won’t meet, and there will be no classes on Monday, August 31st.

Fall Session officially begins for age 8 & up beginner/intermediate students on Tuesday, September 1st, at 4 p.m.

For age 6 & 7, Fall Session begins on Thursday, September 3rd, at 4 p.m.

The first Fall Session Pre-Karate (aka “Peewee”) class for ages 4.5 to 5 will meet on Monday, September 14th (late because of the Labor Day holiday on the 7th).

Note to Pre-Karate Parents:  If your 4.5- to 5-year-old would like to try a free class before signing up, you are welcome to attend an introductory lesson on Tuesday, August 25th, at 4 p.m.  (Note that this will not be your regular class day; class will meet on Mondays starting in September.)

All other kids: If you’d like to try a free class before the Fall Session officially starts, Sensei Didi will offer an introductory class on Thursday, August 27, at 4 p.m.

Adults are always welcome during the Tuesday/Thursday 6 p.m. teen/adult mixed class. Adult training from 7 to 8:30 p.m. will resume in September.

Please feel free to contact Sensei Didi directly with any questions or concerns. Email didi[at]


2014 Holiday Schedule

Happy Holidays to all, as the year draws rapidly to a close!

As has become our tradition, we will hold classes on a reduced schedule in the days right before Christmas, and between the 25th and the New Year, we will travel to our sister school in Berkeley to work out with our fellow Cuong Nhu members.

Here are the specifics of the Redwood Dojo Holiday Schedule:

Monday, December 22: All classes meet as usual.
Tuesday, December 23: All kids, all ranks, all ages 8 & up, meet at 5 p.m. (no class at 4 p.m.).
Teens and Adults meet together from 6 to 7:30 (no 7 to 8:30 class).

No classes at Redwood Dojo from December 24 through January 2. Redwood Dojo students are welcome and encouraged to visit Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate (Rohai Dojo) to take class on Saturday, December 27, Monday the 29th, and Tuesday the 30th. Please click on the image to view the schedule. NOTE: “Tigers” are kids age 4-5.

Rohai Dojo Holiday Schedule

Classes resume at Redwood Dojo on Saturday, January 3.

Reminder: Summer Holiday Schedule

During the month of August, we operate on a “Summer Holiday Schedule,” combining most of the kids’ classes into one section, and temporarily moving the “peewee class” to Tuesdays from its regular Monday slot.

We hope this will work for those of you who are not away on vacation. Dedicated, ongoing training is what martial arts is all about—so plan to attend class, and if you have problems with the schedule, please let Sensei Didi know.


Pre-Karate (ages 4 ½ – 5) will meet on TUESDAY (instead of Monday) at 4 pm.
All kids age 6 and up, all ranks, will meet Tuesday and Thursday, 5 to 6 pm.
*Adults and teens will train together: Tuesday and Thursday, 6 to 7:30 pm.*
Saturday morning class meets as usual, 9:30 to 10:30 am outdoors (ages 6 through adult).

*There will be some open training time available for adults and advanced students who wish to stay later. Teens accustomed to bowing out at 7 p.m. are encouraged to train for the full 1.5 hours, to get a taste of adult-level training.

There will be no classes on Labor Day Weekend (August 30 – September 1). Our normal schedule resumes Tuesday, September 2. The first Fall class for ages 6 and 7 will be on Thursday, September 4.

Thanks for your participation at Redwood Dojo!


As we mentioned in our last post, Torfeh and Greg (adult class members) had a great idea: Send a photo of yourself in a martial arts pose, from wherever you are visiting on vacation. We’d love to see more – and, with your permission, post them here! Email your photos to didi[at]

Food Banks in Trouble; We Can Help!

For over a week, I’ve been peering into that bin in the Redwood Heights lobby and finding it empty. It’s a collection bin from the Alameda County Food Bank, and it appeared one day – right around the time there was some media coverage of how the drought is affecting food pantries and the poor who depend on them.

I’ve been meaning to bring some canned goods – but like you, I’m very busy, and I forget. And I tell myself there are bins in the nearby Safeway that are easier to notice and fill. Still, it bothers me to see our bin empty – as though our community isn’t doing as much as we could.

So – here’s my idea: Let’s work together on this.

I’m calling on you, the Redwood Dojo community, to make it our project to fill that bin up. If every student and/or parent brings one or two non-perishable items over the next few days, we can start filling it up – and maybe inspire others to do the same by our example. If you need some ideas, click here for the food bank shopping list.

Thanks, everyone! Let’s get it done.

Didi Goodman

Yes there’s class today! …and other news

From Sensei Didi:

There will be a special Martin Luther King Day workout in the park for the Monday classes: Peewees at 4 p.m., age 6 & 7 at 5 p.m. Please wear shoes (no flip-flops), and if it’s cold out, dress warmly! The 5 p.m. class might end early (instructor’s discretion) since it gets dark by 6.

In other news… The year is off to a great start, with kids’ classes bigger than ever. We love the high level of participation, and are also alert to the problem of keeping things focused and orderly in large groups. The instructors and I have many tricks up our sleeves, and we’ll pull them out as needed! Feedback from parents is always welcome.

Martial arts isn’t just for kids; in fact, this is a great time for parents and other adults to get involved. Karate is such a popular activity for children these days, I think people sometimes forget that its origins are very serious and “grown up,” and traditional martial arts continues to be an excellent, long-term activity for adults interested in mental and physical fitness. Come check out our Adult Class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., or Teen/Adult Class, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.

Class Schedule for Christmas/New Year’s Break

cookiesWith Christmas and New Year falling mid-week this year, there will be fewer classes than we usually offer over the holiday break. Students are encouraged (as always!) to attend as many classes as you can, and practice on your own when you can’t come to class.

Redwood Dojo’s last class of 2013 will be on Saturday morning, December 21, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the park. (If the weather is bad, we’ll practice indoors, so come by even if it’s cold or rainy.)

Our first class of 2014 will be on Saturday morning, January 4, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the park. Again, the indoor option may be available in case of bad weather.

Saturday morning class is open to all students age 6 through adult.

While Redwood Dojo is on hiatus, Redwood students are invited to attend holiday classes at Rohai Dojo in Berkeley. Rohai, aka Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate, is located at 1819 San Pablo Avenue (1.5 blocks north of University Avenue). Phone 510-526-4880 for more info, or if you get lost on the way. It’s a big, white building on the east side of San Pablo. Off-street parking is available.

Holiday Break classes at Rohai Dojo in Berkeley:

Monday, December 23:
5 to 6 p.m. Kids age 6 & up, all ranks
6 to 7 p.m. Teens and adults all ranks

Saturday, December 28:
9:15 to 10 a.m. “Tiger Team” (Kids age 4-5)
10 to 11 a.m. Kids 6 & up AND Parents’ class (adults)
11 to 12: Kata class (teen & adult, kids with permission)
12 to 1: Sparring class (green belts and above)

Monday, December 30:
5 to 6 p.m. Kids age 6 & up, all ranks
6 to 7 p.m. Teens and adults all ranks

Friday, January 3:
4 to 5 p.m. Kids/Teens Green belt and above
5 to 6 p.m. Kids age 6 & up, white & yellow belts

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.


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.

Start of the Summer Session

From Sensei Didi:

I’ve been looking forward to Monday, July 1st, because we’re clearing the waiting lists for age 7 & younger, and I’ve been planning to welcome new students for the Summer Session. It’s a short week due to the July 4th holiday, but no matter – we can get kids started on the path, and give them a few basics to work on. It’s also exciting because a group of kids in the Monday class just passed a test, meaning they’re ready to move to the next level and learn some new skills.

City-Wide Strike

Unfortunately, a labor strike is going to intervene by closing down the center on the 1st. I support the union, even though I don’t like it when either politics or bureaucracy interferes with the dojo. The discipline of martial arts means showing up to train no matter what. Our Cuong Nhu Code of Ethics says, “Only through dedicated daily practice do we maintain honor in Cuong Nhu.” I expect my students to learn discipline and demonstrate that kind of honor by showing up regularly for class, and in turn, I see to it that I’m always there to teach the class. If I can’t make it for some unavoidable reason (knee surgery, for example ;-)), I don’t cancel; I get subs! On some occasions I hold class in the park if the building won’t be accessible.

As you can see, I don’t like cancelling class any more than I like it when students don’t show up for class.

Make-Up Classes Scheduled or TBA

This time, though, we’ll have to schedule make-up classes for the Monday students. Kids age 6 & 7 who would normally attend the Monday 5 p.m. class may attend on Tuesday, July 2, at 4 p.m. for a make-up. We’ll schedule a make-up at a later date for members of the “Peewee Class” (Monday 4 p.m.). Parents of students who were planning to attend for the first time tomorrow should feel free to contact me by email (see top of the right-hand column) with questions about class or about obtaining a uniform.

I encourage students who are able to do so -with adult supervision- to do your “dedicated daily practice;” that is, practice your skills on your own, either in your yard or in the park, during your regular class time tomorrow.

Thanks for your support!

Thank you for all the well-wishes for my recovery from knee surgery – and thank you for bearing with me as I work my way back to teaching class on my own two feet. I’m grateful to the black belts for covering classes and helping me out the past few weeks. I’m back in there teaching now, but I will be on crutches for another week or so, and must continue to rely on my able assistant instructors during this period.

On the positive side, with hard work I’ll be able to come back stronger than ever and without knee pain! I can’t wait to get off crutches and start training again.