The photo issue! Summer camp fun, MGJudy’s trip to
teach self-defense in Tanzania, special summer classes!
Ladies Fight Night July 21st – 6:30-8 pm
• June 11: Temescal Street Fair
• Camp Fun and Events 4 All
• All school picnic: June 21st!
These young women were among our first students here at Naga, and they have demonstrated incredible determination, leadership and excellence in their college careers while keeping connected to the Studio.
Bantoe Xian graduated cum laude with a major in Studio Arts, focus on Graphic Design, and a minor in Urban Studies. Bantoe Julia’s degree is in Biological Sciences focused on molecular, genetics and evolution.
They join Pendekkars Ethan and Amber, and Mas Naomi and Mas Lindsay, as successful Tulen Foundation Scholars. Funds raised in our auction provide each college bound black belt with $500 per year of higher education through the non-profit Tulen Foundation.
We believe in education and in supporting these young leaders financially and with our resourceful community. Knowing these inspiring young people is truly joyful – we wish all of them the very, very best! And though we’re not sure each will be living near us (they are job hunting and our fingers are crossed) we know they will be in touch – we are always connected.
In 1998 when MGJ and I moved here from the East Coast we began training in a nearby park to keep active. Somehow we attracted a few students; Pendekkar Jeanessa was #1 and Bantoe Alicia was not far behind. When it rained, we’d train under a freeway bridge!
Soon, other students joined us so we rented space in a friendly martial school down the street. We outgrew that in 2002 when we moved here. But this building was a WRECK! There was no ceiling, no bathrooms, the upstairs had to be closed off for safety. But we dug in, and with the help of many angels (and Marcel and a crazy duo of plumbers!) we fixed up what became our home.
Since then, so much has changed – though not the dressing room situations! In the early naughts, when the street had some intense criminality, I don’t think any of us could have imagined that one day a noodle shop would be our neighbor.
As we have grown, so has our conviction that what we have to offer is important and of service to the world. Our mission, to provide a safe space for empowerment and change within a community that respects and upholds diversity, has become clearer and more relevant over time.
Looking at the pictures above, I am moved by the commitment of all of us: those that came and went, those that came and stayed, those that grew up and went to college and returned to us, those that keep in touch and those we just catch sight of here or there for a quick hug.
We keep learning – I know that I am still growing. I made SO many mistakes in the early days and now I still make them but less often. (At least I am hoping so!) The path continues, but it seems wider now, so full of friends and love that I am often overwhelmed.
Heartfelt thanks to all who are walking the path before me, and alongside me. Let’s keep this thing going, ok? And now, it’s time to party! Please join us on May 6th to celebrate all of US! – xoxo MGAL
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!
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!
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.
“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?!)
Saturday, March 5th, 12:30-2:30 at nearby Doyle/Hollis park. Two hours of outdoor games! Bantoe Abby and Mas James are heading and donating all to the Tulen Foundation. Fun and popsicles for a $20 tax deductible donation!
Save big ($55!) and register by April 1st! Outdoor Tilden camp has both day and overnight options, and a bunch of fun surprises!
During March we’re using the round red box on the back table as a “mailbox” for Compliments, notes of Appreciation and Thanks. The box is for EVERYONE’S use: parents, students, visitors, instructors! Let’s make the mailbox overflow!
Studies show that we learn better when we are genuinely complimented – instructors, take note! But that doesn’t mean that a compliment is given only if you are “good” at something, here we award many compliments for good effort!
SO… is there a teammate you’d like to thank for working together during class? Is there a teacher who inspired you? Are you grateful to your parent for supporting your training? Do you want to say Thanks to someone for being a good friend? Black belts, how about giving your mentees a little extra applause?
You can choose to sign your name on your CAT card, or choose not to! We’ll deliver the cards during the month. We’ll have paper next to the box for your use: Parents, please encourage your child to participate – and even help with writing if they are youngsters. (We’ll talk about this in class, but It would be great for you to encourage the kids as well!)
We’re hoping the CAT box will battle the winter doldrums for those both giving and receiving; psychologists say that giving compliments cultivates awareness of the good things that are all around us and gives the giver a boost as well.
Be creative! Be genuine! Be specific! Be encouraging!
Ever grateful to my inspiring black belts, and to every person in the Naga community who comes together to help us grow and change, both ourselves and the world! MGAL xo
..to theTulen Foundation!
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!
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!
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
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!)
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!
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!