Tony Kay of Fairwood Martial Arts says the main goal of his Cuong Nhu Karate dojo is to help build character and build community. With a 2023 Best of Renton award, this goal is undoubtedly being achieved.
Originally founded by his parents in 1995, Kay took over Fairwood Martial Arts in 2015 and the studio has only grown since then, even in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 17, Cuong Nhu Karate was awarded Best Martial Arts Facility, voted by community members.
“We dropped down to 60 students,” said Kay. “COVID hurt but we rallied through Zoom, and we now have 245 students. Parents get to give it a try, too, and as we grow we do more community events like Trunk or Treat. We make it a safe space where teens have a safe place.”
Cuong Nhu Karate is a Vietnamese style of martial arts that was founded in 1965 and brought to Florida in the 1970s, where the Kay family lived. The Kays learned Cuong Nhu Karate and brought the martial art to Washington state, making Fairwood Martial Arts the only dojo of its kind in Washington state. “It’s a modern-day martial arts school, we don’t believe in setting students up to fail,” Kay said.
Karate students at Fairwood Martial Arts range from 3 to 70 years old and the school even offers a summer camp where kids get to learn martial arts, but also regular camp activities like arts and crafts, sports and educational games. “We wanted to affect the community on a larger scale,” Kay said.
Fairwood Martial Arts is located at 17138 116th Avenue Southeast in Renton and the school is open Monday to Wednesday from 4:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday 9:45 a.m. to noon and the school is closed Friday and Sunday.