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May News from Naga!

• Our Portland pals!

• Testing on the horizon

• Community camp-out May 10th!

• Save the dates!






Naga of the North!!!

Our sister school in Portland is Naga! Located in Beaverton, the head instructors, Silvia Smart and Jeff Densen, have been pals of mine since the late ’80s. They are a great support, and are frequent visitors here. You’ll see them and their students, pictured here, at Tilden Camp soon. Visiting PDX? Go to NAGA!










Color Sash Testing will be Saturday, June 15th, during class. Support your teammates by cheering & helping with the test! And save the September 13th weekend – black belt testing!


Join us all June 9th, Sunday, on nearby Telegraph for a fun afternoon. All ages are invited! And families, make it a day! We do several demos during the afternoon, and teach to whomever comes by! Sign up on the back counter – and EVERYONE can do something in the demo!





May 10th, Friday, Mas Abby and Mas Cat are hosting the annual community camp-out at Tilden. For a small donation to the Tulen Foundation, both dinner and breakfast are provided, just bring a tent. And this year new and improved bathrooms! BONUS: S’mores!





Email or call for more info about any of our events or activities. Also our Facebook Page has daily videos and info!


On Testing!

Naga tests are challenging.

Approaching next month’s test I started thinking about what it is we teach here at Studio Naga. During tests students demonstrate focus, cooperation, dedication, discipline – skills that seem to be acquired slowly but also translate to success outside the studio.

Poekoelan tests teach us all – at every stage, from white belt on up – to “never give up.” (BTW, my tests were no less challenging than yours, and I failed a few of them!)

The test will put some through their paces, but then the payoff will come: the amazing feeling of overcoming challenges, the confidence to tackle something hard, the focus to follow-through and face fear and even failure. This art gives us the opportunity to develop the skills to face life’s challenges with the same bravery, dedication and commitment with which we approach our training.

I love to witness the outpouring of support from the community as everyone readies for testing. Tests – especially black belt tests – are a wonderful time to remember back to when each of us started training…and how far we have come.

For black-belts the opportunity to help others as mentors is one of the longterm gifts of training. (And it’s sometimes just as nerve racking as being on the floor!) There, too, we see our accomplishments in the success and striving of our mentees, in the knowledge that it is through helping others that we are becoming our own best selves.

Okay, it’s almost time to bow in! See you in June!
MGALouise x



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January Nagazette

Jump into 2019!


• Schedule Changes
• Testing Weekend!
• Wisdom from the JG
• Adult January Special!






DON’T MISS OUT – PARTICIPATE! Black belt testing is January 18th, Friday, at midnight (ish) until Sunday night. It’s a holiday weekend – sleep on Monday! Mas Cally and Mas Ben are up for black and Mas Max B, for brown. Tests are challenging, and it’s an important to support others during these inspiring journeys. Kids are encouraged to attend even though much of the test takes places in night hours. (Talk to your child’s mentor to arrange!) Please join us for all or part, these tests are a special aspect of our art.


CLASS CHANGES! When we first opened the Studio, with the great folks pictured above, we trained beginners and advanced together. As a return to our roots, we’re now inviting beginning adults to Wednesday night 6:30-8pm class. A great reason to join now! ALSO Kids 7 & up are now welcome at Thursday 7-8pm class! That’s Mas Goeroe Judy’s Green Sash test pictured above, and that was pretty much all of Naga’s students at that time!

















What does it mean to train martial arts? After 34 years of training the question is still mysterious and compelling and my answer changes often.

You’d think I’d know why I have spent 1000s of hours practicing to hurt other humans 100s of different ways, but my answer to why I do what I do keeps evolving.

But in context it makes sense. Thousands of martial arts have developed all over the world, and each art was influenced by geography, history, politics and even genetics of the people who “needed” it. The arts continue to evolve as those influences change. Many have become more sport oriented as the need for hand-to-hand combat diminished.

Our art, from Java and Sumatra, was born in a volatile political atmosphere, in a wet, muddy climate (thus tiger and ground movements) by small, wiry people up against larger opponents (thus it’s an effective art for smaller people and children). The historical context of Poekoelan’s origins is fascinating but would take much more room than I have here to explain (and I’m still studying).

Poekoelan Tjiminide Tulen has changed even in the span in which I have been a student. In the 80s, there was no internet, no “active shooter” crisis, no indication that we would reach a #MeToo future. Even just 20 years ago, we trained somewhat differently (more bruises for one thing).

For the two decades that I’ve been steering the Naga ship, I have been refining and reflecting on Poekoelan principles: compassion, community, growth and self-awareness, respect for others, respect for experience, fitness, and a self-esteem that doesn’t reek of ego. I have tried to create a culture and curriculum that reflects and nourishes these values, while also adapting to changes in society.

As we flip into 2019, I am again questioning what it means to train and I urge you to do the same. Discuss with your peers and family the myriad reasons you train. What do you think it means to be a martial artist?

Bantoe Abby sprung this question on the Jungle Gym last week. Their answers were amazingly insightful. “So you don’t feel in danger all the time,” said Mas Noah. Mas Lia hit the respect part on the nose with her reply. And Mas Ryan, a jokester with an abundance of energy, cited the importance of “calm.”

Together their answers give one, well-rounded idea of what we do here. Out of the mouths of babes?! Yes! And what from you? Xoxo MGAL


Save the dates! Our wildly fun Tilden Overnight Camp is June 24-28th 2019 — day camp option available! GRLQUAKE Empowerment Weekend May 3-5th. We already have sign-ups for both – reserve your place soon! 



Naga Holiday Schedule: Open Saturdays, December 22nd and 29th. Closed December 24th-28th, 31st and January 1st. See you on the 2nd!



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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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