Hello, 2017!

• Keep the Fight, Ladies!
• Test Essays??
• Kids Night Out
• Who is Camden?


Save the Date: May 6th! Celebrate Naga’s 15th Anniversary!
Want to help with the Quinceaneras party? Talk to Mas Simon!


Kids Night Out – With a Panda?

Friday, Feb. 17th, 6:30-10pm – headed by Mas James M. and his fab crew.  Games, a fun workout, snack and a Kung-Fu Panda movie! You must reserve to attend – sign up and pay at the Studio or online at the store. $30 per child; siblings 2/$50.

WELCOME to kids in our new school programs. Glenview, Chabot, Hillcrest, Crocker, Cragmont, Emerson and Thornhill kids, come try a FREE class at the Studio anytime!



Ladies Fight Night is Thursday, February 9th, 6:30-8ish. This fun, empowering class for women/teen girls includes street safety, verbal and physical skills.  Plus, treats because taking care of yourself deserves a reward: $30 or pairs for $50. Graduates of Ladies Fight Night can take “Keep the Fight” a three-class series that builds on LFN skills.  Call for more info or to sign-up!


Meet Camden!

Canden recently joined Naga to help in the office! Please drop by and say hello if you haven’t met him already. He lives in the neighborhood and in addition to working at Whole Foods, has a passion for working out, nature, and playing guitar.



* Summer Camps are open for registration! We expect to fill up this year, so get on the list – two camp possibilties!

Special training with a visiting instructor!
Friday February 24th and Saturday 25th 3-5. Check the back counter for more details: adults, teens and third phase kids!


Keep Asking Questions….

The unassuming notebook on the back table is one of my most treasured belongings at Naga. The photo on the front must be over ten years old. About twenty of us in black gi’s are making silly faces and If you look closely, you will recognize most of us – minus a little weathering.

It’s a great photo, but what’s inside is even more fun.  Stuffed in that tattered notebook are “testing” essays: some funny, some sad, some surprising.

Each chronicles a moment, gives an insight into that student at that rank. And each answers a question: why do I train? What does training mean to me? There are essays by “Mas” Abby and “Mas” Dee, now seasoned Bantoes, and a scribbled eloquent response to “What have I learned in training?” by a very young Mas Karen. “It is OK to mess up,” was her answer.

Since beginning training in 1984, I have never stopped asking myself these same questions – and still, my answers are constantly changing! I began training to get exercise, to meet some people. These reasons still stick, and I see them echoed by others. And more answers have come to me: to find out who I am, to battle my fears, to become a better version of me.

Take a look at the notebook. It might prompt you to ask, why do I do what I do? Life is precious and asking why we do what we do is the beauty of being alive.

Here are a few highlights from the book – but there are so many:

It makes you cry when your back is so sore you cannot bend over to take off your knee pads and your training partner drops and rolls your pant legs up and pulls your knee pads off and says to you “I’m here for you brother.”  – Mas Simon

Once when I was climbing on a high concrete planter and fell off but I caught myself in a slap-off. Also now I know when Mas Julia is about to try to scare me.  – Mas Miriam.

I train because I had an amazing teacher who taught me what is was to shine, and that to shine you must help others do so as well. – Pendekkar Emily

I have used Poekoelan twice to save my life; neither time involved physical conflict. – Bantoe Nick

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January 20, 2017 · 6:07 pm

December Nagazette

Holiday Gratitude

Tulen Foundation Auction

Color Sash Test

Studio Holidays



Join us December 4th for our annual community celebration, Indonesian Dinner, Auction and Party!

Dinner from 4-8, Demo at 6:30 pm!

Everything raised at this event goes directly to scholarships and our college-bound teen black belts. Studio Naga is a supportive community where we all who wish to can train and grow. Your help in fulfilling our mission is SO appreciated.
Dinner tickets on sale NOW, but the auction-only event is free. We’d love to have help that busy night—jump in or sign-up for a shift on the back counter!
The Tulen Foundation is a non-profit; donations of all sizes are tax-deductible.
Does your workplace match donations? Talk to Pendekkar Emily!
(Please RSVP at Naga or by email to reserve dinner tickets!)

Dear Naga Community and Friends,

It’s been a bumpy year on this planet we share, and so many things seem a little topsy turvy right now. Still, what I know in the eye of the storm is that the Studio brings me great joy and gives me so much to be grateful for!

The generosity of our teachers here is inspiring.  Each of them – you! – from black belts to brand new white sashes — has given of yourself this year demonstrating deep compassion and great humility. (Teaching may well be the hardest part of our rank requirements!)

I am grateful to families who continue to place trust in our community and our collective wisdom. Our aim is to build leaders; we are fierce fighters but what we truly revere is compassion and heart. If we did not, it would be irresponsible to share this beautiful – but very effective – art.

As we continue to grow we deepen our understanding of our mission. More of our black belt college students will be graduating this spring – making us proud. And our younger teen black belts who tested in September are getting comfortable in their inky new wraps.

This year, the Jungle Gym exploded! The diverse and spirited upstairs group continues to capture our imagination and our hearts; peek in some Saturday morning and catch site of the riot that is that wonderful gang of chimps.  As usual, they will perform at the upcoming party and are sure to bring misty eyes with their innocence and joy… or that’s what I call it!

Thanks to each and every one of you, together we make the Naga community and yes, we are stronger together.  And plus, it’s so much fun!


67b61314-eebe-4f26-b1bb-9bd8f8e5c85eWonderfully Inspiring New Green Sashes – It was a great test for all!

If you shop online with Amazon, please sign up with Amazon Smile and choose the Tulen Foundation as your charitable organization. If you bookmark the page, every time you shop a small percentage – .5% – of your purchases will go to our scholarship fund! An easy way to contribute!

Holiday break: We’ll be closed from Dec. 22 to the 30th.
See you December 31st for ONE “end-the-year-right” workout at 10am!

Important Policy Changes: In January, we’ll celebrate 15 years at this location – and the signing of a new 10-year lease! However, as imagined, the increase in our rent for this agreement was substantial. As a result, after many many years, we are raising dues as of January 2017 when child and adult tuition will increase by $6 per month. The Jungle Gym rate will change from $88/mo. to $99/mo. If this is a hardship for you or your family please let us know. We’re excited to be ensuring the next chapter of Naga and thankful for your support!

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November News

Ethan in Indo!

Auction action

Camps 2017!


The Kids of Java: A Trip to the “Homeland”
by Pendekkar Ethan

During my recent trip to Indonesia, I had the opportunity to train four different styles of martial arts, each one amazing in its own way. There were many similarities between Poekoelan and the styles I saw, everything from tiger movements to stances and types of strikes and blocks. I’ve been training for 14 years so experiencing these arts and Indonesian culture felt like a pilgrimage.

“Tjimindie” in Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen means “beautiful flowing water” and is the name of a river in Java where our founder once studied so I made a point to train in a village now called “Cimande” near the same river. I trained with both kids and adults, and the kids’ talent and focus truly blew my mind. I watched them do forms, and prepare choreographed fights for an upcoming festival – the intent and ferocity with which they attacked each other during these “fights” was only matched by their control. Seeing the impressive display made me think about what their training must be like to get them so far so young. I thought about this a lot after my visit to Cimande and in short, I think the answer is the kids and the families’ attitudes towards their training.

Cimande is a small village in which the martial arts school and teacher play an important role in the community. The teacher works with other community members, they pray together at the mosque, and for many, training together in the past. I believe that because of this culture, the parents have respect for the art and an understanding of it’s positive influence on their kids’ lives. The parents’ attitude and respect for the art and teacher extends to their kids’ training. I could see it in the dedication and and reverence the kids had in their training.

At Studio Naga, we strive to create a community that fosters growth for both kids and adults. I began training when I was 11 and coming up through the ranks, I was blessed to have a mother who supported my training and did her best to give me every opportunity to be involved in the Studio Naga community.

It’s my hope that the wonderful parents of Studio Naga’s kids realize that their home environment and the support they provide for their kids has a direct effect on their child’s success in Poekoelan. In Indonesia, martial arts are viewed not as another after school activity, but as an important way to teach young people compassion, control, confidence, how to defend themselves, how to work with others, how to be in a community, and so many other things.

On this trip I visited Java and Sumatra – that leaves a few thousand other islands for future travels!

 2017 Summer Camp Dates!
Camp Courage in Tilden Park: June 19th-23rd
Studio Camp: July 10th-14th


Auction Action!

Save the date: Sunday, December 4th is our annual auction, demonstration, Indonesian dinner and holiday party!  All funds raised go to the non-profit Tulen Foundation which assists families in need to participate in our programs. We also award black belts attending college $500 annually. Help us build a better future! YOU can help by …
Attending the event! Soliciting auction items! Selling dinner tickets to family and friends! Please speak with MGALouise or Bantoe Cid to get involved. (Tickets are on sale now!)




New Jungle Gym Times: TWO classes Saturdays, 9:30-10am OR 10:10-10:40!

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October Nagazette

• Zombie Kids Night Out
• Tournament Kudos!
• Mas Skylar on Leadership
• Important policy change!



Halloween Kids Night Out

October 28th, Friday, 6:30-10pm

Zombie Fight-Night!

A creative workout, movie, creepy snack, & fun!
Sign-up online at the Naga store or email to reserve – this event always fills up!
$30 per child/siblings $50.


Mas Skylar’s Black Belt Essay

When people find out I practice martial arts, their reaction is always “Can you punch through a wall?” or “Hit me, let’s see what you got!”
I answer honestly (without demonstrating), but inside I hear a slogan from my training that rings true: “Throughout history, those who loved to fight were destroyed, but those who did not know how to fight were also destroyed. Strength and virtue — only those together can lead others.”
When I emerged from my brown sash test, I was exhausted and euphoric, having gone through the greatest physical ordeal of my life. I assumed my training for black belt would continue to focus on forms and self-defense techniques. In part, I was correct — there were new things to learn and old ones improve upon — but much of my time at the Studio stopped revolving around me. The color of my rank – brown – was a representation of the roots of Poekoelan, a commitment to fully understanding the art and teaching students who are following in my footsteps.
So I began to assume a greater leadership role in the Studio. It wasn’t always smooth; I often received “gentle” guidance on becoming a better teacher. While frustrating at times, assuming more responsibility was the way for me to forget my ego and devote myself to the Poekoelan community. It was the essence of “gotong royong”: by giving back to others, I was rewarded with self-confidence, communication skills, and leadership experience.
With the experience of four years as a brown sash, I entered my black belt test with a confident (slightly nervous) mindset. As with all other enormous tasks, I cleared my mind and focused on the present. I let go of all my stress, let go of the challenges before me, and breathed. Once I bowed in, I was locked in, and didn’t let go until 48 grueling hours later.
I now possess an unassuming piece of black cloth with white electrical tape around the ends. The actual belt cost less than $5 dollars, but it represents so much: my ability to break bricks, run ten miles, and exhibit stamina rivaling the best triathletes. However, that’s not why I tested. I did not put myself through the most physically demanding weekend of my life so I can brag. I did it to become an official figure of leadership in the Studio community.
In many martial arts, black belt is more or less the end of training. In Poekoelan it is a new beginning. I have proved my ability to perform scores of techniques, but now that I have to teach these standards, I am learning them again. While teaching, I am forced to clarify the steps in my brain. Every time I teach, I re-learn and the experience is immensely gratifying.
Now when I line up with the other black belts, I look across the room at the students before me, and remember how far I have come. Rather than feeling boastful of my accomplishment, however, I am humbled. I looking back, I see what I must do to go forward, as a role model and mentor for those aspiring to do what I have done.
Mas Skylar, Mas Ryan, Mas Jake and Mas Ben recently passed their black belt tests with flying colors! Mas Jake, the youngest at 12, has been training since he was four years old.  The others on average have put in over ten years of training. It was huge accomplishment and each is an exciting addition to our wonderful black-belt cohort! Congrads to all!

Free Test Prep Class with Mas Rob: October 16th, 4-5!
Color sash test November 5th, 9am!

tournamentWe rocked the City of Berkeley Tournament with spirit and HEART! Congrads to all! Missing from these photos of our tournament team: Mas Jake, Mas Emiko, Mas Dogan, and Mas Theo – amazing job by EVERYONE! Next one in March!

Important Policy Changes: In January, we’ll celebrate 15 years at this location – and the signing of a new 10-year lease! However, as imagined, the increase in our rent for this agreement was substantial. As a result, after many many years, we are raising dues as of January 2017 when child and adult tuition will increase by $6 per month. The Jungle Gym rate will change from $88/mo. to $99/mo. If this is a hardship for you or you family please let us know. We are excited to be ensuring the next chapter of Naga and thankful for your support!

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September Nagazette – Join in the Fun!

Teen/Women Fight Night!

Testing/Stroll Weekend

Try a free class any Saturday!

Olympic Spirit


Thornhill, Chabot, Crocker, Hillcrest, Emerson, Beach and Cragmont!


Join us this Friday for a special Olympic Spirit Kids Night Out!  Games, crazy teams, and the animated “Hercules” film. 6:30-10 pm; the $30 donation to the Tulen Foundation goes towards black-belt college scholarships. Call or email to reserve your place! This is a great way for those in our after-school programs to meet the gang here at Studio Naga!  We promise fun!

Black-belt testing begins Friday Sept. 9th 5:30 Solano Stroll demo that same weekend – all welcome!
Sign up for demo on the back counter!


fight nightTeen/Girls/Women’s Self-defense this Thursday! 

This group of empowered women are smiling because they are “Ladies Fight Night” graduates! This short course offers practical and proven self-defense skills in a positive, peer-supported atmosphere.  Our upcoming class is open to girls and women, tweens and up. Just a few spaces are left so call now if you’re onboard: Thursday, August 25th, 6:30-8pm.  Includes a celebratory cupcake! $30/$50 family pairs.  Be a Superhero in your own life!

TEST PREP with Mas Rob: September 18th, 4-5! ALL welcome!
(Next color sash test early November)

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August at Naga!

Test Prep Class 8/14

Life Skills!

Save the dates!

Teen/Tween Girls Self-Defense

Back to School Kids Night Out

Adult & Teen Cun Tao welcome to attend 3rd phase in August!
Test prep class 8/14 4-5 pm. Open to all – review your standards with Bantoe Rob!

full camp

Pendekkar Amber’s Life Skills
It was a treat to have Pendekkar Amber for Camp Courage. Pendekkar has always been extraordinarily motivated. In high school, she developed her famous “Life Skills” to share her philosophy with her peers. Now as the Corporate and Diversity Coordinator at MFS Investment Management in Boston, she recently updated her list to show how these skills help her now:

Alignment started because I wanted the kids to learn good form but also understand how our principles work in life – like sitting up straight leads to focus while slouching hinders it.  Now at work, I tend to slouch when I’m tired and then I’m not fully able to focus. Good alignment is especially important in meetings because my colleagues won’t take me seriously if they think I’m disengaged.

Communication came from observing kids during class; they like to tell each other what to do without listening to the one another (like when taking out and putting away mats.) I told them that if they could not only talk but also listen they would learn more and there would be fewer misunderstandings. Working in a collaborative team with stakeholders in my company and the community, it’s crucial for me to listen to everyone’s needs and be thoughtful in my response.

Looking sharp came from being told that if we wanted to be black belts we had to look like black belts. Black belts look presentable. This then transferred to, if you ever want something from mom and dad, looking presentable and good communication would up the chance of success. Now at work, I have talked about what I wear with my boss. Being young, it’s really easy for people to dismiss me or think that I’m “someone’s assistant.” The dress code at my office is business casual but I personally dress more formally to counter any perception of inexperience.

There is no try came from all of the kids saying that they would try to do a form or try to pay attention. MGABarbara told us there is no try: you just do or not do. In college and at my job, I either complete something or not. I’ve learned to fully commit to my tasks, or be clear when I can’t. Saying I can “try to get it done” means I won’t be happy with the work I produce and likely others won’t be happy either.

Awareness came last, watching kids run during warm ups. They would all bunch up together and crash into each other. I told them that if the were aware of who was in the room, running would be safer, and that we would all be able to get more things done. Today I am aware of the needs of my team which allows me to have a greater impact in my job.

xoxoxo Pendekkar Amber


Pendekkar is a great example of someone who believes in herself. In high school, she played several sports, earned top grades, and consistently taught the Naga kids. Amusing to many of us, back then she signed her emails “You know you love me 😉 Awesome Amber who is Fab!”

Our Last Solano Stroll?!
And a full weekend of testing 9/9 – 9/11- Test starts Friday at 5:30pm.  The Stroll is Sunday from 11:30 am.
What to expect? Click this video of last year’s Stroll – made by Mas James Wiley!

Teen and ‘tween girls self-defense class 8/25 – register here!
And keep watch for an end-o-summer *special* Kids Night Out!

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Summer Growth!

Test Prep Class 7/24

Berkeley Library 7/13

Great Camp Photos!

*** We’re closed July 4th -Train independently?! ***
Test prep class 7/24 4-5 pm. Open to all – review your standards with Bantoe Rob!

campt 2016

Fun times, wild moves, kooky antics (the unicorn!), great training, amazing community, inspiring tests, stupendous scavenger hunt, promotions, amazingly clean tents, s’more pancakes … and a beautiful Bantoe Ceremony!
Talent show You Tube video coming soon!


Did you know MGALouise wrote a kid’s book about the history of martial arts? On July 13th, Wednesday, at 3:30 kids from the Studio and Mas Cathie will read from The Tiger’s Eye, the Bird’s Fist and demonstrate our art at the North Berkeley Public Library during story hour. Join us? Talk to Mas Cat or MGALouise if you’d like to come along – it will be fun and educational!

love our neighborhood

We Loved “Love Our Neighborhood” Day!

Appreciation to everyone who helped make it a success.

Our next demo is September 10th – Solono Stroll & testing weekend – save the date!

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