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Cuong Nhu Martial Arts

IATC Scholarships

If attending IATC creates a financial hardship, you may qualify for one of several named scholarships that are made available each year. In addition, the CNMAA has some direct scholarship funds to award. Read about the national scholarships currently available by clicking on the titles below. You may apply for any of the available scholarships using the scholarship application form linked below.

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.

Click on the name of the scholarship to read more about it.

GMQ Scholarship

The GMQ Scholarship is awarded to one Cuong Nhu black belt or dan rank instructor attending IATC, in recognition of their qualities of leadership, enthusiasm, work ethic, and connection with students. Nominations should be submitted by fellow black belt and above instructors.

Grandmaster Quynh was Head of Style of Cuong Nhu from 1996 to 2021. His enthusiasm, spirit, and skill were unmatched. He always put the well-being of students first. Grandmaster Quynh consistently went out of his way to get to know his students on a personal level. He was an inspiration to all because of his ability to motivate, uplift, and bring humor into hard work. He passed away unexpectedly in 2021, but the impact he made on the Cuong Nhu community will carry on forever.

To nominate a colleague for the GMQ Scholarship, write a one-page letter of recommendation, describing how the nominee exemplifies the spirit and leadership qualities of Grandmaster Quynh as described above. The nominee must be an active CNMAA member.

The GMQ Scholarship covers a double occupancy room, meals, and classes for one recipient.

Instructors may nominate a fellow black belt or dan rank instructor who exemplifies special leadership qualities.

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 meals, housing and training at IATC. 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.

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

For women of all ages who exemplify extraordinary spirit and dedication.

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.

NOTE: Multiple scholarships will be awarded in 2023!

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 for one recipient. The deadline for application is April 15th.

For green belt and above students recommended by their head of school.

Raymond & Reine-Nicole Reid Scholarship

Too often we wait until a person's death to honor someone who has had a tremendous impact on those around them. I have preferred to avoid that common mistake by honoring my parents while they were still very much alive. That is why I began many years ago sponsoring the Raymond & Reine-Nicole Reid scholarship in their name. Sadly, my mother Reine-Nicole passed away in 2022 after a fierce ten-year battle with cancer.

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 to cover the cost of meals, housing, training, and 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.

Sponsor: Raymond P. Reid, Jr., Esq., is an attorney, martial artist, and long-time friend of Cuong Nhu.

For a student, nominated by their head of school, who would not otherwise be able to attend.

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, including a t-shirt. Up to two awards may be offered per year.

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. The application should include a letter of recommendation from the candidate's instructor, as well as an essay from the candidate documenting their activities.

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.

For students under age 25, recommended by their instructor, showing leadership potential within their dojo.

Kanapaha Scholarship

2023 is the inaugural year for the Kanapaha Scholarship, awarded to a first-time attendee of any rank who would not otherwise be able to attend IATC.

To celebrate the life of O’Sensei, the Ngo Family commissioned an oriental plant garden at the Kanapaha Nature Center in Gainesville, Florida, in appreciation of his love of nature, the outdoors and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. For that special student who has not yet had the training camp experience, this scholarship covers a double occupancy room, meals, classes, and a t-shirt, for one recipient.

To apply for the Kanapaha Scholarship, submit an essay introducing yourself and answering the following questions: What inspired you to study martial arts? Why did you choose Cuong Nhu? Why do you want to attend IATC?

The deadline is April 15, with the recipient notified by May 1st.

Sponsor John W. Salmon began his journey in Cuong Nhu in 1976 while at law school at the University of Florida. Upon receiving his brown belt in 1981, kids, career and life intervened such that John started over at white belt in 2001. He achieved his black belt in 2007 at 53 years of age. John, together with Sensei Mark Brandenburg, have produced the series, Reflections: A Cuong Nhu History, available on the Cuong Nhu website.

For a student, any rank, who has not yet attended IATC and would not otherwise be able to attend.

Scholarship from World Headquarters

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. The award covers meals, housing and training at IATC. 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. Recipient of the award will be notified by May 1st.

Sponsor: Anonymous

For a student of green or brown belt rank, recommended by their instructor.

CNMAA Scholarship Fund

The CNMAA, through the generosity of its members and donors, is able to offer financial assistance to some IATC attendees on the basis of stated need. Applicants should state an amount required to enable them to attend. In addition, the applicant must state their reason for wishing to attend IATC and what they hope to gain. A brief statement of support from their instructor should be uploaded. Scholarships shall be based on need and subject to availability of funds.

Partial to full scholarships based on need, and subject to availability of funds.

Grandmaster Quynh Ngo

Master Mary Davis Cates

Sensei Jim Thrift