I started Cuong Nhu in 1973 at the University of Florida in the fifth beginner’s class taught by the founder, Ngo Dong. I received by shodan in 1978, and shortly thereafter opened a dojo in suburban Washington, D.C. I collaborated with my sempai, Tak Fung, and others in creating a system of dojos that at its peak numbered 11 dojos and over 300 students. During the same period, I was a member of the Cuong Nhu board of directors and served 5 years as national president. I now hold the rank of yondan.
While in DC I began my study of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), starting in 1982 with the Yang style followed by then the Chen style. I began teaching Taiji at the Cuong Nhu national training camp in 1986 and have done so ever since. Taiji remains part of my standard practice, although I do mostly Yang style now.
Following my sandan test in Cuong Nhu in 1985, O’Sensei Dong asked me to pursue an in depth study of aikido and share my knowledge with the rest of our style. I had no idea at the time that this small request would turn into a second avocation. I started in Ki Society in DC in 1986, then transferred to Aikikai after relocating to Raleigh, NC. In 2011, I was promoted to yondan, and I teach and practice aikido several times per week.
During the late 1990s I spent several years in regular practice of Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido. This sword art gave me important insights into motions that are fundamental to aikido, and I still enjoy practicing, even though it’s been impossible logistically for me to pursue a ranking.