FREE Class for Parents at WCTC 2015

We’re excited to offer something new at West Coast Training Camp this year, namely, a special session open to all parents, free of charge.

Bullying and Self Defense: Toward a Better Understanding will be offered by Sensei Didi Goodman during the first session on Saturday morning, October 3. Drop your kids off and stay for the session, to take part in this presentation and interactive discussion on the timely topic of bullying, what martial arts has to offer on the subject, and what we all need to do toward making our kids (and ourselves) “bully-proof.”

If your kids are not attending WCTC, YOU are still welcome to attend this session – and feel free to bring a friend.

The session will run roughly from 9:10 to 10:30 a.m. on October 3rd, at Alameda High School Gymnasium, 2000 Central Avenue, Alameda, CA.

We’ve created an RSVP website, so we can get an idea how many people might attend. While you are welcome to attend without registering, it would be a great help to us if you would let us know you are coming by visiting this link and signing up:–bcPPM

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you there!

P.S. If you or your child is not yet registered for WCTC, it’s not too late – but don’t delay, because Friday the 25th is the deadline for avoiding the late registration fee. Please visit this link for full details:

West Coast Training Camp 2015 Registration is on!

Or go directly to the registration page:


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!

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!

Get Signed Up for the Best Seminar of the Year!

West Coast Training Camp is just over a week away! Once again we’ll be hosting seven of Cuong Nhu’s top instructors, including Head of Style Grandmanster Quynh Ngo, for a fantastic weekend of training for kids and adults. These instructors will be traveling from as far away as Florida and Tennessee just to give us this opportunity – so don’t miss out. If you didn’t get a flyer and registration form at the dojo – or if you misplaced yours – please download a copy here.

WCTC 2013 Flyer

WCTC Reg Form – Adult

WCTC Reg Form – Minor

We have some scholarship funds available; please speak to Sensei Didi if finances are the reason you haven’t signed up.

West Coast Training Camp FAQs

When and where is WCTC? Friday, September 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Alameda High School, in Alameda – just a short drive from Redwood Dojo.

All day? Isn’t that too much for the kids? Kids have a great time at WCTC. Our instructors know how to work with children, and the schedule includes breaks and supervised “down time.” The day goes by very fast.

Do parents have to be present? Parents are welcome to watch, but it’s also okay to drop off your child, and pick up at closing. Please be on time for pickup.

What about lunch on Saturday? We have a catered lunch on site, so there is no need to leave the facility. The registration form lets you make your choice for lunch. There’s also a cookie break.

What will be taught? Both adults and children will have the chance to take a variety of classes covering such martial arts topics as self defense, weapons training (bo, spear, and tonfa), basic and advanced kata, animal techniques, mat work and grappling, and more. We’ll post a schedule of classes here shortly.

Should beginners participate, or just watch? WCTC is for all levels, including beginners; and for all ages, 6 & up.

Are there different classes for different ages? Yes. Each session offers a choice of several classes for adults – with different options based on rank; and two classes for kids, based on rank (belt level). Teens, and children green belt & up, may attend adult classes. Older kids who are not quite teens may be able to attend some adult classes; they should seek permission from their own instructor AND the instructor of the class they would like to take.

Will there be chances to socialize with the out-of-town guests and other participants? Yes! Friday and Saturday dinners give WCTC participants two chances to spend time with each other and meet the instructors. (In addition to Florida and Tennessee, we have groups coming from Atlanta, Little Rock, and Seattle.) There’s a Friday night dinner at a restaurant right down the street from the gym, and all are welcome. Please let us know in advance that you plan to come! The restaurant needs to know how many to expect. Mark it on your registration form. On Saturday evening, we hold a potluck at the hotel where the instructors are staying, and again, all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Friends and family welcome, too! You should also note your plans on your (or your child’s) registration form.

Is there anything we can do to help? Yes, there might be! A few out-of-towners are arriving early, and/or did not get reservations at the training camp hotel. If you can host someone in your guest bedroom on Thursday night, or even for the weekend, please let us know. Also, guests at the hotel will need rides to and from the gym on Friday and Saturday. If you’d be available to give rides, please let us know. Contact Sensei Didi with any questions.

Don’t Miss West Coast Training Camp 2012

West Coast Training Camp is here again! This coming Friday and Saturday, September 28-29, you’ll have the chance to meet and train with some of the top instructors in our style of Cuong Nhu, including Head-of-Style Grandmaster Quynh Ngo.

We’ve been announcing it and handing out flyers for several weeks now, and many of you have already signed up. If you haven’t… it’s still possible, but we’re getting down to the wire! Please go to the Rohai Dojo website to download flyers and registration forms. The schedule of classes is posted there, too. As you’ll see, WCTC welcomes students of all ages and levels. We’re expecting participants from up and down the West Coast (from Seattle to San Diego), as well as from Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina.

In addition to training, there will be opportunities to socialize with the visiting instructors, out-of-town guests and students from other dojos. Friday evening after classes, we go as a group to have Mexican food a few blocks from the gym. The Saturday catered lunch at the gym gives everyone a chance to rest and socialize between classes. And Saturday evening, there’s a potluck party at the hotel where our visitors are staying – the Hampton Inn and Suites Oakland Airport/Alameda. All participants, friends, and family are welcome.

If all this hasn’t convinced you to come – there’s also a cookie break on Saturday afternoon. (If you don’t sign up soon, though, you won’t get to choose what kind of cookie you want.)

This is a once-a-year event – worth rearranging your schedule to attend. If you have any questions, please contact Sensei Didi, get your answers, and get yourself signed up!

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.

West Coast Training Camp, Black Belt Tests, & More…

It’s almost here: West Coast Training Camp begins this coming Friday, September 30, at 6 p.m., and runs all day Saturday, October 1st. More details are provided below, but I want to call attention to a couple of other things first:

Black belt testing at Rohai Dojo in Berkeley, 6 p.m. Thursday, September 29. Grandmaster Quynh Ngo will be testing candidates for black belt and shodan. All members of Redwood Dojo, and especially those who are starting to prepare for their own black belt tests, should plan to observe the test.

Teen and Adult classes at Redwood Dojo are cancelled on Thursday, September 29. Everyone should make arrangements to attend the testing at Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate/Rohai Dojo, 1819 San Pablo Avenue, 1.5 blocks north of University Avenue in Berkeley.

Surprise guest instructor at Redwood Kids’ classes. Thursday Kids’ Classes will meet as usual on September 29, with a surprise guest instructor. Members of Teen class may attend the 5 p.m. advanced kids’ class, since your regular class is cancelled.

Next Tuesday is our Open Workout for Adults. Our monthly Open Workout is turning out to be a lot of fun. If you’re thinking about trying martial arts, looking to start a new workout, or looking for a new challenge, come give it a try. You can pre-register here.

More about West Coast Training Camp: This annual seminar brings an impressive roster of instructors to the Bay Area, to give local students a taste of the national training camp, and a chance to meet the top practitioners of Cuong Nhu. Don’t waste this opportunity! If you haven’t signed up yet… you’re really late… but it can still be done. Call Linda at Rohai Dojo right away: 510-526-4880. She can help you get signed up at the last minute. Flyers, registration forms, and other info can be found on the Events Page of the Rohai Dojo website (scroll down).

West Coast Training Camp is held at Alameda High School Gymnasium, 2200 Central Avenue, Alameda, from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with a catered lunch on site (and an afternoon Cookie Break). All ranks, all ages (6 & up) are welcome, and registered kids may be dropped off for the day (they will be well supervised). When the training is all over on Saturday, participants will gather at the official hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites on Harbor Bay Island, for potluck socializing.

Training Camp, Testing, and Free Workout for Adults

There’s a lot going on at Redwood Dojo.

First, let’s congratulate the six students who tested for 2 Black Stripes (and passed) on Friday, September 9th: Jim, Pam, Daniel, Cris, Mark and Dominic. They are now officially “black belt candidates.” It’s going to be great for the dojo to see them working toward that black belt test.

West Coast Training Camp is coming up soon! We just received this email from Master John Burns at Rohai Dojo:

Dear Students and Parents,

National Training Camp in Atlanta last May was a great success. Promotions went well and everyone returned with good memories and new things to practice.

We hold the Annual West Coast Training camp so those who cannot go the the National Training Camp will have a similar experience without the travel. The West Coast Training Camp will be at the Alameda High School gym on Friday September 30th and Saturday, October 1st. Plan to join us again for the wonderful classes taught by instructors from around the country, plus good food and lots of fun. As always, it’s a good chance to meet new people from other dojos–and see your old friends again.

Register now. A flyer is going home with students this week.

John Burns

If you haven’t received a flyer and registration form, please ask Sensei Didi for one ASAP – or visit the Rohai Dojo website, where you can download flyers and forms.

Free Workout for Adults takes place this coming Tuesday, September 13th, at 7 p.m. If you’ve been meaning to try out the class, delay no longer; this is the perfect time. And if you have a friend who might be interested, bring them along. Click here to pre-register for the workout – or, if you can’t plan ahead, just show up a few minutes before 7 wearing loose clothing, ready to sweat.

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!

Important Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 14, beginning at 6 pm: Testing for 1 and 2 black stripes (2nd kyu & 1st kyu), with candidates from Redwood, Rohai and Hoa Sen dojos. Test will begin with board-breaking and stamina. Test candidates should arrive early to warm up and set up for their breaking techniques. Spectators are welcome.

West Coast Training Camp, Friday & Saturday, September 24-25: All Redwood Dojo students, all ages (6 & up) should plan to attend this event! It’s a once-a-year opportunity to train with the Head of Cuong Nhu, Grandmaster Quynh Ngo, and many of the highest-ranking instructors in our style. Classes take place in the Alameda High School gymnasium on Friday evening and all day Saturday, with catered lunch provided on Saturday. Kids have a great time at WCTC; the instructors are great, there are sufficient breaks between classes, and there’s even a mid-afternoon cookie break.

Please click on the WCTC-2010 flyer for further details. You may download the flyer and registration forms from the blue box called ‘FREEINFO’ in the right-hand column.

West Coast Training Camp is on Facebook. Visit us there!