What is Cuong Nhu?

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Cuong nhu is a Vietnamese martial art that combines various styles, including Shotokan Karate, Judo, Tai Chi Chuan, Aikido, Wing Chun, Vovinam, and boxing. It emphasizes discipline, respect, and self-improvement. Grand Master Ngo Dong created it in 1965 to promote community service and positive character traits. He brought it to the United States in 1971 and established a school in Gainesville. Cuong nhu is still practiced worldwide today.

Cuong nhu is a Vietnamese form of martial arts. Shotokan Karate, Judo, Tai Chi Chuan, Aikido, Wing Chun, Vovinam and boxing have all influenced the cuong nhu style. Cuong nhu translates to “hard soft” in Vietnamese, indicating this fusion of different martial arts styles. Like many martial arts, a cuong nhu practitioner’s level of skill is indicated by the color of his belt, with white worn by beginners and black by experts.

Cuong nhu can be used to protect yourself and develop positive character traits such as discipline, modesty, patience, and respect for yourself and others. This code of ethics is an integral part of this martial art. The physical aspects of cuong nhu training include various fighting stances, blocks, kicks and punches. Practice may also include sparring, breaking boards, and using various weapons.

Cuong nhu was created in 1965 by Grand Master Ngo Dong, in Hue, Vietnam. As a child, Dong had excelled at Vovinam, Wing Chun and Shotokan Karate, eventually earning a black belt. Along with cuong nhu’s physical appearance, Dong emphasized the principles of community service, respect, and self-improvement. Dong hoped to create a philosophy for the youth of his war-torn nation. Dong lived by his philosophy and, in addition to his martial arts studies, earned degrees in biology and chemistry, was a devoted father and civic leader. Lui organized the People’s Self-Defense Forces in 1968, with the goal of protecting Vietnamese citizens from the random acts of violence provoked by the Vietnam War. The People’s Self-Defense Forces helped rebuild the morale and spirit of the Vietnamese people. Dong was an outspoken opponent of communism and was later arrested for his beliefs. He died on May 15, 2000.

Grand Master Ngo Dong brought cuong nhu to the United States in 1971 while studying for his Ph.D. at the University of Florida. Dong started a cuong nhu club at university, where he became very popular. Dong later also established a school dedicated to cuong nhu in Gainesville. From there cuong nhu spread throughout the United States and is still practiced around the world today.

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