et us take a moment to introduce you to Cuong Nhu!  While there are many admirable youth and civic organizations in Phoenixville, including sports and fitness activities, service clubs, and educational programs, Cuong Nhu Oriental Martial Arts is unique among them in that it combines aspects of them all. Originally created in the 1960s to strengthen communities through the healthy development of the minds, bodies, and spirits of its citizens, Cuong Nhu has today grown into a national non-profit organization. The school in Phoenixville was founded in 1994 by Barkley teacher and Phoenixville native Joe Varady, as his way of giving back to the community.  Our program is a thorough promotion of the PASD policy to “prepare, inspire and graduate students to meet the challenges of the future.”  Our successes come not only in the form of students who attain the coveted black belt, but also those who may only attend class for a short while but learn valuable life lessons such as how to overcome their fear of failure and realize that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.


Over the past 17 years, hundreds of students and adults in Phoenixville and the surrounding communities have benefited from our program, not only from the physical activity normally associated with martial arts training, but also from the sense of community we provide for our students, and the tremendous personal growth in such areas as self-control, determination, modesty, and a having a non-defeatist attitude. Beginning with our youngest students (age 5), we teach social skills, such as the importance of being patient, friendly, courteous, and compassionate. We specifically teach how to avoid conflict, and how to verbally de-escalate a potential confrontation, important skills for people of all ages. Our Code of Ethics, modeled by each of our instructors, states that “Cuong Nhu students should strive to improve themselves in order to serve the people, and to spread and develop these beliefs within the younger generation so that they, too, will be morally and physically fit.”

Two of our chief instructors, Joe Varady and Madeline Crouse, each hold advanced degrees in elementary education and ensure that our instructors teach using the latest educational methodologies. These include promoting positive behaviors and developing self-confidence and self-esteem through hard work via engaging, encouraging, and challenging classes. Our nationally established curriculum encompasses not only the physical techniques of personal fitness and self-defense, but also teaches students how to focus their minds and strengthen their spirits. Students learn and are tested on their knowledge of history and philosophy, and are required to write essays examining and evaluating aspects of their personal growth. Our teacher/student ratio is such that we can offer very personal training and feedback to meet the individual needs of all our students. 

Finally, in a country with rapidly escalating obesity rates, Cuong Nhu focuses on healthy living and encourages physical activity. We are one of the few activities in the community that adults and children can participate in together, making it the perfect family activity. In the spirit of community, last year our school sponsored six students who could not otherwise afford lessons with full tuition scholarships. In fact, we normally offers affordable, quality martial arts instruction to everyone in the Phoenixville community, asking monthly dues that are less than half of those of other martial arts schools in the area (including programs offered at the YMCA). In several cases we have completely waived monthly tuition for entire families who found themselves in difficult financial situations. During these hard economic times, our school is proud to bring top-notch martial arts instruction to those members of the community who otherwise could not afford such an opportunity. 

Cuong Nhu is so much more than learning to punch and kick. It is a wonderful example of a community based non-profit organization aimed at serving the needs of the whole person, mentally, physically, and spiritually. We welcome the opportunity to share our program with all members of the local community. 
Come by and check us out!

Joe and Kathy Varady
Head Instructors
Satori Dojo
Phoenixville Area Cuong Nhu