November News!

  • Test November 10th
  • Addressing Gender at Naga
  • Keep Warm!
  • Auction is almost here!








Gold, Blue, and Green Sash Tests, Saturday, Nov. 10th!
Starting at 9am – Everyone come and participate and support those testing – wear whites! Testers, talk with your mentor and have everything ready!  Test will start at 9, and run until it is over. Feel free to come late or leave when you need to. Tests are a celebration of commitment for all of us – be there!
A few of us are now reading an academic history of martial arts in Indonesia, which is complicated, curious, fascinating and mysterious. One of the chapters is about the “Ilmu of Rice” – and about ego. Just as the rice stalks bend further to the earth with maturity, so the student becomes more humble the more knowledge they possess. Many teachers I met in Indonesia denied knowing much at all about pencak silat (the Indo name for martial arts) until they knew more about my motives. The balance of humility and knowledge is interesting as we approach testing!
Youth Hoodies are coming this month – just five in every size! First come, first served: $36 plus tax. We will also have nylon Naga back-bags for $21! Adult jackets – with awesome embroidery! – will available for order as well. Remember, we don’t have heat here and winter may eventually come!

Special Training: Responding to the Times

For the last few months, Pendekkars Dee, Brett and Nick have been heading up “Special Trainings” which use the art to address issues of gender and power both in the Studio and elsewhere.

The women and girls group, pictured above, has used sparring to work on taking up space and building confidence. During the classes, they fight and also talk about challenges and successes in the Studio and in life.

The boys and young men are working on practicing healthy boundaries, both for themselves and as allies. They are also learning to be strong role models for their peers by embodying ‘responsibility’: the ability to respond skillfully to any situation. “This comes from knowing yourself and respecting others,” said Pendekkar Nick.

“Being an ally comes from empathy, recognizing privilege, and using that ability to respond,” said Pendekkar Brett.

We hope to keep the monthly Special Trainings going for a bit – talk to the Pendekkars and join in!

It’s been great to practice hitting hard without saying ‘I’m sorry.’ ” – Bantoe Spyke

We’re learning how to not apologize for our power, on the floor, and in our lives. – Mas Kellie

I feel encouraged to put myself out there more and bounce back when things are challenging. – Mas Esmee

The women’s group has made me more conscious about who I work with and why. The whole team is there to ask me to do more and hold me to being better. – Mas Abby

The group has helped me see that no matter how big you are, you can easily take up yourspace if you have the right attitude. – Mas Cally

Get your auction tickets now!

December 2nd fast approaches – this is our one big event for the year, so please, please get involved. We are asking each family to donate one item – talk to Camden for ideas or leads – and please bring friends and family. The auction itself is free, dinner is $20 pre-paid and less for kids. All proceeds fund the non-profit Tulen Foundation who sponsors in-school scholarships and $1000 College Awards for teen black belts. There’ll be an Indonesian cooking party and many opportunities to help. Sign-ups on the back counter – and ask if you have questions!

The fabulous crew at Boys Fight Night!
Mas Olivia celebrating her birthday at the Women and Girls Fight Night!

Summer Camps dates are on the store page!

Someone you’d like to see featured here? Or something about training? Let us know!


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October News!

October (Already)!

• Congrads all around!
• Spooky Night Out
• Testing coming up!
• Auction help?
• Annual Calendar!



Spooky Kids Night Out!

Our annual haunted house & creepy fun party! Oct. 26th, 6:30-10pm, includes training, games, a spooky snack, movie and navigating a haunted maze! All kids from all schools welcome – and your friends. Make sure to reg. at the Naga Store under events, this usually sells out: $30 or sibling pairs for $50. Costumes welcome!
Naga Wedding!
Between them, Nick and Emily have 8 degrees of black belt – and lots of love! Having met training Poekoelan in Portland, the two reconnected when Emily, an Oakland teacher, moved here in 2013. Nick, a family therapist, had moved here in 2004. When their friendship morphed into something deeper, we couldn’t have been happier! The wedding was magical – and a riot. Surprises: Mas Spencer leading Nick’s mom in ballroom dance and a Set 1 flashmob! Much happiness to these beloved students and leaders!
Get out your calendars! Auction & Community Dinner December 2nd;  Black Belt testing Weekend January 18-20; Grlquake May 3-5; Tilden Camp Courage June 24-28! Studio

Camp July 8-12! Take note!

Tournament team
worked hard!

This year’s Berkeley tournament brought out new competitors – for us and ‘them’! We made new friends, including some very experienced competitors from Campos Kenpo Karate in Vacaville who will be visiting the Studio soon! Our kids worked hard, showed bravery, and most importantly challenged themselves. Everyone learned something, had fun, and made me proud! – MGAL

Color Sash Testing is November 10th, Saturday, 9 a.m. Get ready NOW by attending FREE test prep classes: Sundays October 14 & 28, 10-11am. This class is open to ALL who think they have their standards for testing. Bantoe Rob will teach! This historical photo? An early testing day at Naga, maybe 2002 or so. Can you spot  a tiny Mas Spencer, and a few others stil in our ranks?!
Come party at Naga – we do it well!
Our annual auction is coming up Sunday, December 2nd, 4-8 pm. Indonesian dinner, a fun demo, and a huge community party! We’ll be asking for some help with this soon – all funds go to scholarships and the $1000 annual College Awards given to black belts! We asking that each family find one donation to the auction – talk to Camden, invite your friends, and get your tickets early! And join a crew – cooking, set-up, door… we are super fun to work with!

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Fall Nagazette!

• Re-meet Mas Haley

• Summer travels

• Welcome after-schoolers!

• Naga’s mission
• Grlquake self-defense!



Congrads – Mas Haley!
Haley started training at Chabot elementary in the 1st grade and just graduated from UCSC with a degree in business management economics! As a Tulen Foundation College Award recipient, she received scholarship money during college and is now back at Naga inspiring others. She will be assisting in the after-school program at Chabot – a return to her roots! Introduce yourself to this outstanding young person!


Welcome to our new after-school students at Chabot, Hillcrest, Glenview and Thornhill. Please join us for a FREE class anytime for family and friends and read below for an explanation of Naga’s values!


In August, MGA Louise, Pendekkar Dee and Bantoe Cid traveled to Paris to for the Gay Games X. (MGAL participated in both 1990 and 1994!) Competition was both fierce and congenial – with 200 participants from all over the world. Medals were won and friendships were made!


“Gay Games provided the space for me to challenge my fear of being different, being judged, or being a disappointment to that of celebrating all of me in front of a bunch of soon-to-be friends.
Mind blowing.” – Bantoe Cid

“My dream has been to travel to Europe and participate in the games. Check check! My heart, regardless of all my paths and destinations in life, has always been about the journey – a win, win!” – Pendekkar Dee



Follow the Dragon where ever it goes!

Some of us had an adventurous summer! Mas Ben is shown here in Alaska, Mas Arman is ankle deep in the waters of Pamukkale (an amazing place in Turkey that literally means “Cotton Castle”). In August, Mas Zoe and MGAL met up in Lyon, France. (Mas Taj was in Cuba, but we lack evidence!) Next time take your Dragon T on vacation and send us a shot!











Who are we and what do we do?

At Studio Naga we teach compassionate martial arts within a community-oriented environment. For those of you who are new – and for a refresher for old- timers, here’s some of our philosophy:

Dignity/Respect: We foster kindness and friendliness by expecting kids to greet others, thank their instructors, and treat others respectfully. This develops self-confidence and independence, perhaps the most beneficial results of martial arts training.

Individual/Team: Martial arts is both an individual and team practice. We expect kids to honor what their instructors ask of them with an attitude of cooperation. Kids will be asked to help tidy their training spaces, at the Studio or at outside schools as a demonstration of community responsibility.

Internal/External Rewards: Students test when instructors feel they are ready – and it is exciting! However, we also encourage our students to enjoy training and their teammates outside of external rewards and develop an internal barometer for achievement. In our experience, training improves self-esteem, school and work performance, and family relationships. When talking to kids, we like to focus on their experiences – friendships, and what they are learning – rather than outcomes, like testing or getting to the next level. Students progress at very different rates and we work with each person individually. In our outside programs, testing may happen – or not – but learning, confidence and connection are emphasized.

Welcome aboard to our new students and families, and please ask questions as we get to know each other. And for those of you who have been with us longer (up to 25 years for some) keep up the good work!


Watch for our annual Girls Empowerment Weekend in May, 2019. Also, GRLQUAKE self-defense class September 23rd Sunday 4-5:30 for tweens and teens! Sign-up here. Got a posse? We’re happy to schedule a class that works for your group!


Save the Date!
Our annual auction is coming up Sunday, December 2nd, 4-8 pm. Indonesian dinner, a fun demo, and a huge community party! We’ll be asking for some help with this soon – all funds go to scholarships and the $1000 College Awards given to black belts annually! 

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June Nagazette

Hot News!

• Temescal Street Fair!
• Pendekkar – what?
• Jungle Changes
• Special Class 6/11!



Temescal Street Fair, Sunday, June 10th!
Join the fun demo (everyone can do it!) and a fun afternoon. Meet at 12, hang out and demo a few “shows” and spend time with pals and the community.
Sign-up! Talk with Bantoe Dee or Mas James M for more info.


Pendekkar Paige will teach Monday June 11th, 6:30 pm. A long time student, her class will be on using Poekoelan in your life – all teens and adults welcome!




Jungle Gym New time: Saturday class will be 10-10:30 starting June. (One class only.) These young students are working hard for the next demo!





Pendekkar testing at Tilden camp!

Pendekkar – 4th degree – is a title that indicates a great deal of knowledge, leadership skills and a particular kind of relationship to the community. Here are the three people who are up for testing at Tilden camp (a three day test) and a little about what they think about the rank.
Come and support them in their journey that week!


Bantoe Nick

Training 17 years, Bantoe NIck says he trains “because when I’m at the school around our rich community, my best self comes out — I feel confident, compassionate, brave, and can set aside my personal issues to show up for other people.
To me being a Pendekkar means serving the community with a focus on the greater good rather than your own personal needs. This requires a deep self-knowing, humility, and being a strong leader who can inspire/support others to be their best selves.”


Bantoe Dee

Bantoe Dee started training 18 years ago (and started the Jungle Gym program 16years ago). “At the studio everyone teaches as part of training, but not everyone is a teacher. A teacher has mastered the ability to guide, shape and provide vision for training future warriors, warriors that in all likelihood will surpass the teacher. Being the teacher is a mastery of the physical that embraces the internal process that allows a sharing of knowledge without fear of losing face, status, or power.”



Bantoe Brett

Thirteen years in, Bantoe Brett says there are many interpretations of the title Pendekkar but he has a favorite:  “Pendekkar can mean many things: teacher, leader, warrior, leader of the village.  The one I like best is champion of a cause.  I have many causes.In the studio it may be getting you to kick you hand rather than slap your foot, or not using your hands when you roll.  In my family it’s being a good partner and raising a compassionate son.  In the world I’m promoting sexual health and equality (ask me about that sometime).  Somehow it’s all the same.At this point in my life, I doubt I’ll ever get in a real fight.  Maybe that’s the point.  I have bigger things to fight for, but I’ll never stop training.”


Still space in Summer Camps – join in!


Someone you’d like to see featured here? Or something about training? Let us know!


We’re gearing up for the Auction again – talk to Camden if you have ideas or want to help!

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May Nagazette

May It All Happen!

• MGJeff Visit!
• Naga’s Family Campout
• Gold Sash Test!
• GRLQuake Joy!


MGJeff Visits!

Friday, May. 4th, 7-8:30pm – Workout with Mas Goeroe Jeff Denson, who co-runs Naga, our Portland sister school. This workout is for adults and teens (or by permission) and is sure to be a fun time. Please sign up at the back counter. MGJeff is an amazing teacher and Poekoelan practitioner who has been training for decades!

We met Naga kids from Portland last year at Tilden camp and we’re hoping they will return with MG’s Jeff and Silvia this year. They are VERY inspiring students. Click on the link to see Naga’s website and visit them whenever you are in Portland.

Come to the Naga Campout!

Friday, May 18th to Saturday afternoon May 19th at Tilden’s Wildcat Group Campsite. Hosted by Mas Abby Paske and Mas Cat and MG Judy, ALL Naga families are welcome. A group workout on Saturday morn

ing by MG Judy if anyone wants! Dinner and breakfast for all by Abby and Cat!
The suggested donation is $50 for two and $100/family. ALL proceeds go to the Tulen Foundation’s Scholarship fund. Sign up on the back counter or talk to one of the three hosts!


Testing May 5th!

Gold Sash Testing starts at 9am and continues through morning class. Who is this tiny white belt? Who is the brown sash attacking for his test? (A Studio Naga history quiz!) Remember, testing is a way for all of us to see how we are doing – as individuals, as teachers, and as a community – and to celebrate our ongoing commitment to being willing to both succeed AND struggle. Wear white even if you are not testing to participate in the test and give your all as a supporter!

* Summer Camps are filling – sign up here online!



Wow! These young women and girls were absolutely amazing! The weekend exceeded our expectations in every way. Friendships were made, skills were gained, discussions ranged freely about many interesting topics. The best part was how much fun was had by all of us! The night hike was gorgeous and the scavenger hunt was EPIC. To more Quakes ahead: fun, friendship and future leaders! And watch for A summer reunion: we’re calling it AFTERSHOCK!





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April Nagazette

• Self-defense day April 21st!
• Gold sash test May 5th
• Visitor + special class May 4th!
• What are the values here?


Self-Defense Day!APRIL 21st 10-11:30 am 
This Saturday class will be totally devoted to self-defense for all ages. We will also include the 33 girls and young women who are our first GRLQUAKE cohort so please attend if you want! It’s going to be a special class (but no standards!). Verbal, physical, and a whole lot of awareness, assessment, and ACTION!

Mas Goeroe Jeff Denson will be visiting from Portland next month. Plan for a free class Friday, May 4th, for third phase older kids and adults: 6:30 – 8pm!


GOLD SASH test May 5th! 9am start!
Also save the date: June 10th, Sunday, Temescal Street Fair!


Preparing for the Quake!
Over the weekend of April 20-22nd, we’ll be hosting 33 girls for Grlquake, a weekend of empowerment and friendship. The participants range from 8-17 and hail from more than 12 schools and cities from Richmond to San Leandro.

The female staff here at Naga are psyched! And we’re also humbled.

Like with any quake, we don’t know exactly what is going to happen. And in addition to that huge exciting unknown, we are deep in the work of clarifying what we deem is “empowerment.”

In framing the values to share with our campers, we’ve been looking hard at ourselves. It might seem easy to tell a middle school girl to make a new friend when a friendship sours, but her fears and insecurities about making friends are the same as ours.
When is the last time we, as adults, ventured to make a new friend – and  how?

It can seem straightforward to tell a young girl she is beautiful and smart and to ignore a mean boy (or girl) who says otherwise, but do we admit that we sometimes tell ourselves the kind of negative messages she might be hearing?

What do we tell ourselves that we would never say out loud to a young person or child?

We can all agree that being an ally is the right thing to do and that standing up for others is heroic, but when do we ourselves overlook injustice or the racist, sexist, and inappropriate words of others?

Is what we ignore, what we stand for?

And how do any of us deal with the stress of competition (about grades, boys, friends, looks) that becomes so stressful to girls at puberty? How do we impart the value of “when all boats rise” we all benefit?

When is healthy competitive spirit a good thing and when do we use that same competitiveness to put others down?
Our teaching team of 14 has been exploring these questions. We have vast experience: in the classroom, at the Studio and in many other venues, the hospital, the boardroom, the kitchen, and elsewhere. But this work as role models and mentors to our cohort demands a huge leap into self-understanding and vulnerability: a deep look at how we want young women and girls to do things we’re not entirely successful at ourselves.

We hope for more Grlquakes in the future (and perhaps even a Womenquake!) but in the meantime we are certainly living our slogan, “Shake It Up!”


Summer Camp –  Tilden Camp will have many surprises – visitors from other schools, advanced testing, many hours outdoors in nature!  Both weeks are packed weeks of fun, friendship, and training – check out Facebook for photos of years past, or talk to your mentor about going!

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March Nagazette

Sash and Belt Bags by Mas Miriam and Mas Julia!
These beautiful bags are handmade by these wonderful sisters and are on sale in the store! Support their creativity, or get inspired to make your own bag to keep your sash or belt safe and clean. Having a nice bag will make it less likely that you will misplace or lose it. You work so HARD for these important representations of your training – treat them well!
Here’s the IMPORTANT thought for the month: Fall down 7, get up 8! I hear so often that kids are afraid to fail. At Studio Naga about 80% of what we do here we fail at, at least for the first 10-1000 times we try it! Please try to fail at at least 3 things this month—and brag about your failures! If you aren’t failing—or at least being challenged—you aren’t setting the bar high enough. Parents, show your kids that you, too, aren’t born “knowing what to do” at all times. This picture is of our fabulous annual Tilden Camp, but if you want to hear a good story about trying, falling and getting back up, talk to Mas Goeroe Judy or Bantoes Cid and Dee, or myself about our crazy FIRST Camp Courage. Was it perfect? Oh, NO! Did we learn anything? Yes! Did we have fun anyway? Absolutely!
Everything worth doing isat firstworth doing badly.
Monday Night! Remember 6:30-7:30 class is open to all levels, kids 8 and up, and adults. This class has very few participants so you’ll get lots of attention!
April 20-22nd Spring Empowerment Weekend for girls 8-18 is nearly full! We have a diverse group and some on a waiting list for scholarships. If you can sponsor a girl, email us. Some local realtors are sponsoring a few! Call with any questions!
Summer Camp Early Registration by April! Tilden Camp is June 25th-29th!
Overnight or day camp
two options! (Or a mix of both!) Also Studio Camp July 9-13tha great time to get LOTS of training! Save and sign up now!
Community lunch was superfun. The next one is March 24th, we’ll have a brown bag or potluck after class at nearby Hollis Park (61st & Hollis). Get to know your community! And make Naga yours! if you see something that needs attention – stocking bathrooms, straightening shelves, folding gis. Jump in! 

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