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.


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!

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]


Flex-Time for Adults and Teens

We’re trying out a new “Flex Schedule” for adults and teens. Here’s how it came about, and how it works:

Teen class runs from 6 to 7 p.m. Adult class runs from 7 to 8:30. Sometimes there are adult class members who have to attend the 6 o’clock class for reasons of work or family responsibilities. They wish they could get their full 1.5-hour workout, but traditionally, the first part of the 7 p.m. class would be warm-ups and introductory activities, and they would feel odd bowing out at the end of warm-ups.
In addition, there are members of Teen Class who could use the extra workout and practice that comes with a 1.5-hour class.
Some of the black belts wondered whether the half hour from 7 to 7:30 could be come “flex time” – with an activity that could serve as warm-up for those arriving for adult class, and additional training for those who just completed the 6 to 7 p.m. class. That’s what we’re implementing right now.

Teens and adults who complete the 6 to 7 p.m. class may stay till 7:30 after bowing out. This is optional, informal and voluntary, in the sense that the student may stay for all or part of the activity, by choice, so long as they inform the instructor when they are leaving. For example, if the activity of the day is sparring or sparring drills, a Teen Class member may stay for a couple of rounds or the whole time, as they wish. Teen students who might want to participate till 7:30 should clear this schedule with their parents or ride-givers.

Adults arriving for the 7 p.m. class will participate in the first half hour without bowing in. Formal bow-in will take place at 7:30; however, the activities beginning at 7 will serve as the warm-up portion of class, and it will not be considered optional.

We’ll be choosing and structuring activities so that students who need a warm-up and those looking for a few more drills will be equally well served. The possibilities are endless, and we know the adult class is going to enjoy it. Now all we need is for a few ambitious Teen Class members to step up their training by staying late from time to time.

See you in class!

Summer News and Do’s

Torfeh Death Valley, CA  2014
Summer is officially here, and many members of kids’ class – as well as teens and adults – are following new schedules and taking off on vacation.

Please DO let Sensei Didi know what your schedule and participation will be for the summer months.

Your martial arts instructors care about your individual progress, and plan your classes accordingly. The “default expectation” in Cuong Nhu Karate is that you will be in class! Please let us know when you will be missing. Many of you have informed Sensei Didi of your summer plans, and she thanks you for your good manners.

Here’s a fun thing to DO:

Adult class members Torfeh and Greg had a great idea. This summer, wherever you go for travel or fun, snap a picture of yourself in one of your favorite martial arts poses, and send it to redwoodojo[at] We’ll post your pics here on the blog – like a postcard from your vacation. They’ve agreed to get things started with the two wonderful pictures from Death Valley you see here. Greg Death Valley, CA 2014

Kudos to Danielle

One of our fine teen students and Leadership Program members, Danielle Pohlson, has been honored with an award for her involvement in community, school and softball. It’s called the Arnold Kelly Scholarship, and it puts away $1000 toward her future college tuition. Danielle is an outstanding softball athlete who makes a point to keep up her Cuong Nhu attendance during softball season, even finding extra time to come help with the kids’ classes. Congratulations, Danielle, on a well-deserved honor!

End-of-Session Testing

Students who attend class today (June 23) or tomorrow, who are eligible for testing based on both attendance and knowledge of required curriculum, will be scheduled for an end-of-session test date. Unfortunately, if you are not in class, you cannot be evaluated for testing and you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Please contact Sensei Didi if you have any questions.

August Class Schedule – Notice of Change

We will be implementing our “Summer Holiday Schdule” this year, for the month of August only. During August, all kids, all ranks, will attend class together on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. Teens and Adults will train together from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The Peewee Class schedule for August is not yet set; keep an eye on this site for updates. Our normal schedule will resume, as always, in September.

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.

Important Upcoming Events, January and February 2012

Monday January 16th: Martin Luther King holiday. Please see the previous post.

Friday & Saturday, January 27-28: We have a special guest instructor coming to town – Soshi Jason Backlund, head of Kobushin Kai Jujutsu. There will be classes for all ages, on Friday at our “sister school,” Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate (Rohai Dojo), and on Saturday at the Emeryville Dojo (Hoa Sen). All students age 6 & up are strongly encouraged to attend. Kids’ classes will focus on matwork basics. Adult classes will include knife defense, takedowns and submissions. Teens are welcome in adult class.

Friday, January 27, at Rohai Dojo
1819 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley 526-4880
4:30 to 6 p.m. Kids (all ranks, age 6 & up)
6 to 8 p.m. Adults – Knife defense
8:30 p.m. dinner at a local restaurant

Saturday, January 28, at Hoa Sen Dojo
4770 San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville
9:30-10:30 a.m. Kids (all ranks, age 6 & up)
10:30 –12:30 pm Adults/teens
(Lunch break)
1:30 – 3:00 pm Adults/teens
3:15 – 5:00 pm Adults/teens
Potluck (location tba)

Monday, February 20, President’s Day: The Center will be closed; no classes will meet. Students age 6 & up should attend a make-up class on February 21 at 4 p.m. (or on a Saturday morning).

*Sunday, February 26 is Redwood Dojo’s 20th Anniversary Demo and Celebration.* We will be having a potluck party and demonstration here at Redwood Heights, starting at 1 p.m. Plan to attend! The kids (as well as adults & teens) will have a chance to show their skills for friends and family, and the brown and black belts are preparing some special demonstrations in advance of upcoming black belt tests. We hope to have some special guests as well. Don’t miss this once-in-twenty-years event!

Parents– Did you notice the mistake on the note sent home on January 12? The dates for the seminar with Soshi Jason Backlund were wrong– it mistakenly said January 20-21. Luckily, you also got a yellow flyer for the seminar with the correct dates. Maybe Sensei Didi was just testing to see whether you read the notices she sends home… Do you??

Another possible reason for the mistake was that there IS an event on the weekend of the 21st. The Beijing Wushu Team is performing at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. A group from Rohai Dojo, along with several Redwood folks, will be attending, and you, too, are invited to see these flashy, top-level performers. Information and tickets are availiable through the Pacific Wushu website.

August has been great; here comes September.

Our reduced class schedule during August sure didn’t mean reduced activity! In addition to jam-packed combined kids’ classes, and the regular schedule for teens and adults, we managed to squeeze in:

> A 1-week, 9-to-5 Summer Camp at Rohai Dojo, with some Redwood brown belt teens acting as assistant instructors;

> Two demonstrations at Sarah Science Camp, one at Tilden Park in Berkeley and one at Roberts Park in Oakland, where we educated and entertained a few hundred kids with kata, weapons and board-breaking;

> Lots of hard training at all levels; but special mention goes to the teens and adults training for 2 black stripes, who’ve been working extra hard knowing that when they achieve 2 black, they will officially be Black Belt Candidates.

The August combined-class schedule runs through Tuesday, August 30th; all kids, all ranks will meet together for the last time (till next August) at 5 p.m. However, there will be a special class at 4 p.m. on the 30th:

New students who will be joining or trying out the kids’ classes in September may attend a Special Introduction and Orientation on Tuesday, August 30th, at 4 p.m. This will be for all ages except “peewee.” Parents and kids will have a chance to meet Sensei Didi, ask questions, and learn the basics a new student should know in order to hit the ground running in the regular kids’ classes. Pass the word!

Now it’s time to flip your calendar over to September and mark a few important dates:

Tuesday, September 13th, is our monthly Free Workout for Adults. Usually on the First Tuesday, this month it’s moved back because of the Labor Day holiday, when quite a few folks will be away.

Thursday, September 29th, Black Belt and Shodan testing at Rohai Dojo. Grandmaster Quynh Ngo, head of Cuong Nhu, and other instructors in town for the West Coast Training Camp will administer the tests. Redwood Teen and Adult class members should plan to attend this, instead of regular class. Let’s organize some carpools.

Friday, September 30 & Saturday, October 1: West Coast Training Camp! This annual event brings the finest instructors in our style to our own neighborhood, to give students of all ages and levels a training opportunity unmatched by anything except the national training camp that happens back East each May. Don’t miss it!

Holiday Schedule 2010

Here are some important notes to jot down and post on your fridge:

All classes will meet as usual through Thursday, December 23. Don’t miss out, because we’ll be working on demo techniques for the New Year’s Party and Demo.

The week of December 27 – 31, Redwood is closed (city policy!), and we’ll be working out at our sister school, Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate.
BCNK is located at 1819 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, 1.5 blocks north of University Avenue, between Hearst and Delaware. We’ll post the exact schedule shortly, but I believe we can expect kids’ classes at 5 p.m. and teen/adult classes at 6 p.m. that week.

Our regular schedule will resume on Monday, January 3, 2011.

We’ll be holding a NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION WORKOUT for adults and teens on Sunday, January 9 at 1 p.m. No experience necessary! Come give it a try, and tell your friends. A full-body martial arts workout is a great way to get in shape, maintain fitness without getting bored, and learn some self-defense while you’re at it. Make the commitment! You can pre-register here by simply filling in your name and email address, along with any questions or comments you may have.

Following the New Year’s Resolution Workout, we’ll celebrate 2011 and nineteen years at Redwood Dojo with an all-ranks, all-ages demonstration and party. Be there! To get an idea how much fun it will be, check out the two wonderful photo galleries from last year’s party by following the links in this post.

UPDATE: Here is the holiday schedule at Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate (Rohai Dojo) for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. “Tiger Team” is for students age 4 & 5.