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Cuong Nhu Martial Arts

IATC Scholarships

If attending IATC creates a financial hardship, you may qualify for one of several scholarships that are made available each year. New this year: the CNMAA has some direct scholarship funds to award. Stay tuned for more information, and also watch for an online scholarship application form coming soon. Meanwhile, read about the national scholarships currently available. Note also that many dojos provide financial support to their own students who need help attending IATC. Ask your instructor whether your dojo has funds or is able to do an IATC fundraiser.

Jim Thrift Spirit Award

The Jim Thrift Spirit Award is an annual IATC scholarship, awarded to one Cuong Nhu student attending training camp. It is open to all Cuong Nhu members, and is based on the recommendation of the applicant’s Head of School.

Sensei Jim Thrift was the head of The Center/Tallest Tree Dojo in the late 1990s to early 2000s. His enthusiasm and energy were contagious, and he listened to and uplifted all the members of the dojo and others in the style. Sadly, he passed away in 2003, but his spirit remains as an inspiration to us and the winners of this scholarship exemplify that spirit today.

Applicants must 1) be  an active CNMAA member, green belt rank or above; 2) have attended a “Mini” or Regional Training Camp; and 3) exhibit the qualities of Jim Thrift:

  • Commitment to the style over time;
  • The qualities of the Three O's;
  • Enthusiasm and a positive attitude that brings the spirit and energy of their dojo to a higher level.

The Jim Thrift Spirit Award covers a double-occupancy room, meals, and classes registration for one recipient. To apply or get more information, please contact Sensei Deanna Bonnell ( with the subject: Jim Thrift Spirit Award Application.

The deadline for application is April 15th.

Mary Davis-Cates Scholarship

In memory and in honor of Master Mary Davis-Cates, each year up to three  scholarships are awarded to cover the cost of registration to IATC (this award does not include a t-shirt). These awards are offered to women of all ages actively training in Cuong Nhu that exemplify the spirit and dedication of Master Mary. At the time of her passing in May 2006, Master Mary was the highest ranking woman in Cuong Nhu.

Award candidates must submit a written essay of not more than two pages, discussing how training in Cuong Nhu has impacted their life. Previous winners are not eligible as the goal is to provide opportunities for as many women as possible.

Please submit papers by April 15th to Master Allyson Appen (, Master Allen Hoss (, and Sensei Gordon Eilen ( with the subject: IATC Mary Davis-Cates Scholarship Application.

The deadline for applications is April 15th. Recipients of the awards will be notified by May 1st.

Raymond & Reine-Nicole Reid Scholarship

Sadly, too often we wait until a person's death to honor someone who has had a tremendous impact on those around them. I prefer to avoid that common mistake and honor my parents, who are both still very much alive, by sponsoring the Raymond & Reine-Nicole Reid scholarship in their name.

My parents are originally from Haiti, the poorest island nation in the Western Hemisphere. Through hard work, dedication and sacrifice, they provided us, along with many others, a better tomorrow. They always find a way to quietly help and put others, even strangers, ahead of their own interests. They taught us early on that education is the greatest equalizer and that it is important to help others along the way.

The annual Cuong Nhu Training Camp is a unique and great experience that must be shared. The Raymond & Reine-Nicole scholarship exists to help a deserving student who may be financially poor yet rich in the spirit of a martial artist – an open mind, open heart and open arms. This small gesture allows that deserving student the ability to experience Training Camp by paying their entry fee (this award does not include a t-shirt). A criterion is for the recipient to continually but quietly give of themselves in their own way over the year, and without any expectation in return. Nominations are typically from the student's head of school. From among the nominees, one student will be selected as that year’s scholarship recipient.

Nominations need to be submitted by April 15th, to Recipient of the award will be notified by May 1st.

Sponsor Raymond P. Reid, Jr., is an attorney in Jacksonville, FL and also a First Degree Black Belt who is always with us in spirit.

John Somerville Scholarship

This scholarship is offered to students under the age of 25 who are otherwise financially not able to attend training camp. The scholarship is open to any rank that meets the specified requirements; it will cover the tuition and housing costs for training camp (this award does not include a t-shirt).

Although students that have natural physical abilities are nice, this scholarship's acceptance criterion is more focused on candidates who show they contribute to their Dojo, have a passion to help other people, and are determined to persevere and stay with Cuong Nhu. Candidates who are Brown Belt and up will need to demonstrate leadership attributes and include their assistant teaching experience on their application. Black belt and higher candidates need to show more advanced teaching experience and leadership qualities, including having developed a class on their own.

Nominations need to be submitted by April 15th, to Recipient of the award will be notified by May 1st.

Sponsor John Somerville (aka Sensei Big John) has been in Cuong Nhu since 1993, starting at the age of 40. John has a proven record of working well with kids and young people, and also enjoys teaching advanced self-defense and kata for all ages. John has an electrical engineering career at Boeing in Seattle, Washington, teaches classes on aircraft navigation, and also mentors students at the famous Raisbeck Aviation High School in Seattle.

His passion to help young people is the reason this scholarship is offered.

Scholarship from WHQ

This scholarship is offered to students that have attained a rank between green and brown belt, who are in financial need to attend training camp (this award does not include a t-shirt). The candidate should demonstrate great spirit, enthusiasm for learning, as well as contribute to their dojo with leadership-like attributes. This nomination should be made by a head of school with a short write-up explaining the candidate’s efforts.

Nominations must be submitted by April 15th to Recipient of the award will be notified by May 1st.

Sponsor: Anonymous