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Cuong Nhu Martial Arts

cuong Nhu IATC

Since 1978, Cuong Nhu students of all ranks have gathered in late May for an extended weekend of training and camaraderie. In addition to the great martial arts classes, students have a chance to build lasting friendships, learn from instructors from around the world, and watch advanced tests and demonstrations. "Cuong Nhu Campout," as it was called in the old days,  is now known as Cuong Nhu's International Annual Training Camp, or IATC. It is hosted each year on Memorial Day Weekend on a university campus - most often in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Browse these pages for more details about this year's training camp; and when you're ready, register here.

A Welcome Letter from Grandmaster John Burns

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing all of you at IATC 2023 in Raleigh. It’s long overdue. It was something like 45 years ago I attended my first Cuong Nhu “campout.” The past three years – as much as we’re all grateful to Zoom for keeping us together in tough times – it just hasn’t been the same.

It’s high time for an in-person family reunion, and I hope all of you will come.

This year’s theme: Forging a Single Blade.

What does it mean? The IATC theme is important, and I thought about many things that are important to us right now. Looking ahead while remembering the past. Moving forward through difficulty. Coming together, finding strength after a period of separation. I still like the theme we used for V-IATC 2022: “Remembering what brings us together.” For a minute I thought, why can’t we just use that one again, in person?

But remembering isn’t enough. We need to move forward, forge ahead. Coming together isn’t enough; we need to make ourselves stronger together – forge ourselves into a whole that’s greater than the parts. Many things bring us together as human beings, but this is essential: We are coming together as martial artists. Cuong Nhu is what brings us together – a singular martial art created by O’Sensei Dong and carried on by Grandmaster Quynh; forged out of seven sources, as a swordsmith repeatedly folds and hammers steel into a single blade that is strengthened by the process. Cuong Nhu is the seven-times-folded sword; but we are Cuong Nhu, so we are the sword, too, each contributing our talents, expertise, and humanity to strengthen the single blade.

It’s important that it is a single blade. Cuong Nhu isn’t seven swords jammed into one scabbard, or a toy sword made out of seven different legos stuck together. O’Sensei created something singular. But even in his time, people sometimes found it hard to grasp how seven times one equals one instead of seven – how Cuong Nhu is not “a little of this, a little of that.” I know Grandmaster Quynh was concerned about that; we talked about it many times. Let’s go forward now to forge a better understanding of what’s unique about the art O’Sensei created, and that we now embody and carry on. I will have more to say on the topic as we go along, and I’m open to hear what all of you have to say.

So, come to Raleigh, to train hard and forge ourselves into the best martial artists we can be – which also means, the best human beings we can be; forge a community that is strong, mutually supportive, and single-minded in our pursuit of excellence;  and forge all our spirit, talent, and knowledge into this singular art of Cuong Nhu.