Cuong Nhu – Cypress dojo

This was a very interesting story to cover. I have always found martial arts to be interesting so I though that this would be a good story for my photo-essay. It was also a good time because, from what I was told, things get even more interesting in Cuong Nhu the closer it gets to testing. Testing takes place at the end of the semester when students test for a new rank and receive either a new stripe or belt. I got to talk to a lot of interesting people and learn a lot about what it takes to get to the higher ranks of Cuong Nhu. I found out that even though they train as a group for the most part, each student and sensei is learning a completely different curriculum at any given time. I also found out that there is more to Cuong Nhu than martial arts, there is also a code called philosophies that each student learns in order to live and use their abilities for the right reasons.

Cuong Nhu is similar to the dedication that a student needs to get through college. All of these students go to practice up to four times per week. They also participate in other events like car washes, volunteering and training camp where people from different dojos come together to discuss and practice different techniques.

I learned a lot about photography through this assignment, mostly about how hard it is to get the shot that you want on moving subjects. I took over 200 photos during the 2 hours that I spent at Cypress dojo. I probably only got 20 photos out of that collection that I would have published. Even those needed cropping and color touchups. I also really enjoyed playing with different angles. Different photos look better from above or below, ect. I also tried to use the backgrounds to frame, or compliment, the image. For this collection, I found it useful to use setting and medium shots to capture the entire group and the motions that they were making throughout their practice.


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