MGALouise is on the left, Bantoe Abby is to the right. Some amazing students are front and center!

Our Sister School | Studio Naga

Our sister school is in Oakland, California and is run by Mas Goeroe Agoeng Louise Rafkin. She often has wise words. Here is an essay she wrote:  On “Lifetime Training.”

There will be times when each of us will “sit out” of class – or parts of class. The reasons may be many: injuries, sickness, and eventually age. I have had many such times – a knee operation took me out once for over six months – but my teacher always told me to keep coming to class, keeping moving, move whatever limbs I could.

It has been during those challenging times that I have most felt the true heart of my training – beyond competition, ego and ‘accomplishment.’

I often remind the kids that the highest title in our system is not “best fighter” but “highest teacher.” In doing so, I remind them, and also myself, that being the “best” at something is never lasting; there will always be someone who comes along who will best you, and likely, someone learning something you already know.

Yet helping others to reach their potential (which in some cases will hopefully exceed your own) and growing as a teacher will always be rewarding and sustaining.

This week Pendekkar Dee turned 60! Over the last few years she has been challenged with various pains that have eventuated into operations and in more than one case, joint replacements. Nevertheless, she continues to teach and guide others. She connects with her mentees, tracks them, thinks about what makes them tick, teaches them things she’ll never be able to do herself.

During her Bantoe test she wrote this haiku which says it all:


I will show you how
Can I borrow hands and feet?
I sit.  We both train. 
“I don’t have to be the shiniest star to know my worth,” said Pendekkar.  
I’m in my 60s now as well and each day I reckon with changes in my body yet my training has never felt so powerful – or been as important. As we go into this week of testing let’s all remember the preciousness of life, movement, and community. And in the process of connection and gotang rojong, let’s remember to celebrate ourselves, both in our accomplishments and our struggles. We are alive, together, and – mostly! – still kicking.  MGALX