Fun Quinceneara!

Fun Camps!

Fun Upcoming!

Studio Naga’s 15th birthday
Family fun party and celebration!
May 6th, 6:30-10 pm, free!
Fancy dress and costumes encouraged!
Former students and after-school families welcome!


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


Studio Naga Summer Camps 2017!
Fun times, community, and lots of training! Some space still available!
Tilden Day and Overnight Camp starts June 19th, and Studio Camp July 10th!
Also, save the date: Bantoe Rob’s Ceremony at Tilden June 20th, Tuesday, 6pm, with a brown sash test the same day going through the night!

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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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March Nagazette

• The Studio turns Fifteen!

• Early Registration: Camp Courage

• “Field Day” Sunday March 5th!

• Use our CAT box?!

Happy 15th Birthday, Studio Naga!

In 1998 a small group of us began training in local parks and freeway underpasses when it rained! In 2002, we moved in here and 15 years later we’re celebrating with a fiesta de quinceañera on May 6th. Save the date and if you’d like to help, please talk to Mas Simon, Bantoe Dee or MGALouise! Will there be dancing? Of course!


Field Day Fun – for a purpose!

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!





Camp Courage: Options!

Save big ($55!) and register by April 1st! Outdoor Tilden camp has both day and overnight options, and a bunch of fun surprises!

Mas Goeroe Judy is going to Tanzania in May to teach self-defense! Info soon!
Here, Women & Girls Self-defense on March 13th has just a few spaces open!


Use the C.A.T. Box?

C = Compliments     A = Appreciation     T = Thanks

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!

AnchorSign-up for Amazon Smile and name the Tulen Foundation and .5% of your purchases will go towards our college scholarships! This takes about 3 minutes and if all of us join in, it’s a bunch of free money!

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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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