April Nagazette

Spotlight on James M!

MGJudy to Africa?

Cat box success

Camp early reg – now!

Party with us May 6th!

A thought for April: “May your reach exceed your grasp!”


Quinceanera Party, Sat. May 6th!

There will be dancing! There will be cake! There will be costumes! There will even be a NACHO bar!?! Our Studio’s 15th birthday party will be celebrated 5/6/17 from 7pm to 10pm. This FREE, open to all event is a community effort and we’d love to have you onboard. Talk to Mas Simon to join the help crew. And for sure, plan to attend! There might even be…. LIMBO!

Help MGJudy teach in Tanzania!

Mas Goeroe Judy will soon be off to Africa to teach self-defense at Nyarugusu Refugee Camp where over 150,000 people live, and where sexual violence is a serious problem. We’re holding a raffle to send targets and other materials with her (and to pay ongoing teachers there). Please support the raffle or make a tax-deductible contribution to the project!

Spotlight on Mas James Martinez!

Mas James Martinez has brought our art to 100s of kids at over a dozen elementary schools, from Albany to East Oakland. This is not an easy job! (Imagine wound-up kids at the end of a long day without the structure of the Studio!) But he is VERY good at it. This year he’s been at Emerson, Cragmont, Glenview and Crocker.  Here he reflects on this journey…

When I first started training I had never been around kids much and even would have said I didn’t like them! Mas Goeroe Judy took me under her wing.

I started by volunteering for Kids Night Out. It felt strange to be the one in charge of these little people – I didn’t even know what to say to them. But eventually I connected with kids through the thing I love the most… FUN! Kids are fun! They’re also imaginative, creative, honest and brilliant!

Over the last 10 years, I have learned as much from the kids as I have learned from training. From my small beginning at Kids Night Out, I now teach 25 hours a week. This has become the most surprising and rewarding experience of my training journey.

Recently while teaching at an after-school program, a child slipped while holding the pad for a kicker. The pad holder went down, but the kicker was unable to stop.  A foot met a face…

I felt panic, but didn’t show it – I am always prepared for the possibility of injury. But the other students were great! I helped the boy while another student led a different exercise. They were brave and so was the boy. The worst had happened and everybody made it through. (Yes, there was a bloody nose!)

My favorite moment of teaching is always testing. No matter what level, kids know how to show up for themselves  – and they show up for each other. Seeing that in younger students inspires me.

After all these years with the kids, I am still learning.  But here are a few things that have helped me and might help others become better teachers:

– Be yourself. When you are comfortable, so are they. Asking the kids questions about their day and sharing common likes is a good start to any class.

– Always introduce yourself to new kids. A friendly face helps break the ice and banish any case of the “shy.”

– Kids say hilarious and oftentimes insightful things. By listening, they feel heard and respected and will more readily offer that in return.

 See you in class and let’s have fun! Mas James

Just a few of the MANY great C.A.T. Box notes this month giving Compliments, Appreciation and Thanks!

“Thank you for keeping it real here with the emphasis on community and leadership. There are fancier schools but this place has heart!” 

Dear Mas Casey, Thank you for letting me attack you on your test.
P.S. I did not like it when you elbowed me in the neck. From: Mas Karen.

To Pendekkar Emily, Thank you for helping me find strength in a moment when I felt helpless.” – Mas T.
(Really… fancier places?!) 

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