April Family of the Month

Allow me to introduce the Gupta Family, Tulen Center’s April Family of the Month. Over the time I have known them, they have impressed me as a loving and kind family. They support one another fiercely and manage to keep a sense of balance, grace and humor in all they do. I remember the first day they walked into Tulen Center. My tendency is to fall in love with all the new students that walk through our doors nervous and excited to try their 14 day free membership. In the case of the Guptas, their enthusiasm, openness and joy made me feel like they were hugging me back, and it’s been that way ever since. If you haven’t met them yet, take time to introduce yourself next time you see them at Tulen Center. We are blessed to have the Guptas in our Tulen Center family.

Vivek, Mas Hersh, Gargi and Sonali Gupta







Introducing the Gupta Family in Sonali’s words:

Myself, Sonali, am a part-time school teacher at Living Wisdom school and a mom of two wonderful kids; My loving husband, Vivek is a software professional working at ARRIS Inc. Our daughter, Gargi, is a junior at ISB (International School of Beaverton) this year, and Mas Hersh is in 7th grade also at ISB.

As a family, we love to spend most of our time together; it could be driving to-and-fro, going shopping or relaxing at home watching a nice movie.

Mas Hersh started his training at Tulen Center in January 2010. For the longest time, Mas Hersh had shown keen interest in Martial arts. About a year before he started, we had heard about & watched Mas Rowan’s brown sash test. It left an impression on our minds. So on the 2nd of Jan’10, our family walked into Tulen Center on Canyon Road.

We remember that day clearly. Mas Hersh attended an hour long class and after returning home, he slept for three hours straight! We admire the amount of strength & stamina he has developed through the training at Tulen Center.

Recently, Mas Hersh injured his knee and was asked not to put any weight on that leg. He came up to us and said,” I am so… grateful to Goeroe and Mas Rob for giving me good training on my crane stance….!”

We are fortunate to have Tulen Center in our lives. We are thankful to Pendekkar Silvia and Goeroe Jeff for their loving, caring guidance and encouragement to Mas Hersh in this journey.

The Human Snowball – or – Does Martial Arts Training Help an Old Lady Ski?

Growing up, my family was never a skiing family. I was raised by non-athletic parents on the East Coast and went skiing a total of about three times in my life. Mostly, I just hung onto the ski poles and did snow plow straight downhill trying desperately not to fall as other more experienced skiers zipped by me. Though I thoroughly enjoyed being outside in the snow, and zooming as fast as I could downhill, I always figured I could get the same enjoyment from simply sledding.

My daughter, who is already a way more awesome skier than I’ll ever be!

Fast forward twenty plus years. I married into a family of skiers. A few years back, we started getting together for annual ski trips at Mount Hood. My husband’s kin all had ski lessons as kids and went on family ski trips when they were growing up. They all skied with grace, were athletic, calm and really confident on the slopes. That first year, I tried my best to keep up, and, coupled with the fact that they were all patient and kind, I think it worked out pretty well. I was grateful though, when the trip was over and I had a year to recover before the next round!

My Father-in-law, kind hearted soul that he is, saw my challenges and struggles that first year and offered to pay for lessons for me the second year. I was THRILLED when they put me in with the beginner kids. That was just my speed! I had an amazing instructor who had been teaching for almost thirty years. She was patient and kind. She was an expert at watching what I did and feeding back to me the different ways I could experiment with the skis, the poles and my weight and balance. I was getting the hang of it! I was actually starting to have fun! I was smiling!

Over the years, my martial arts training has helped me more ways than I can count. I have gained strength, endurance, balance and a certain small amount of grace. I have learned to stand up for myself, to respect myself and to live with integrity. And I have learned to roll!

Back on the slopes, we faced a challenging hill. From my position at the top, I wondered how I’d ever make it down. I started gingerly at first, picking up speed as I felt more confident. Before I knew it, I was going faster than I’d ever gone before, loving the feel of the wind in my face and the swish of the skis through the snow. Just as suddenly, I felt myself starting to careen out of control, out of balance, and going really fast, heading straight toward some big trees. Big trees with hard trunks! Without thinking, I did a dive roll. I dove off those skis and tumbled through the snow doing two rolls downhill before I came to a stop in a pile of snow. I got up laughing, covered with more white fluff than an arctic polar bear. I collected my skis and poles and made my way down to my instructor, happy to have stayed so calm, acted so fast, and ready to keep going.

When I got to her, she asked if I was OK. I said sure, it was actually kind of a hoot. She got very quiet and looked at me, tilting her head. Finally, she said, “I have been teaching skiing a long time and have never seen anyone do that. Are you sure you are OK. I’m so relieved. I thought we’d have to call the medical patrol. But you thought it was…fun? I can’t believe you got up laughing. I really haven’t ever seen anything like that in all my days instructing.” I told her about my training, and then it was her turn to laugh. “No wonder”, she said, “now it all makes sense!”  Later that day, when she was recounting the story to someone sitting next to us on the lift, she learned how old I was and was shocked.

So yes, in the art of Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen, I learn all sorts of things: to fight, to build my character, to work out hard, to help create peace in the world, to face my fears, to believe in myself and to live with compassion. And I learn to roll! I, of course, think everyone should train Poekoelan. You never know when a good solid dive roll will come in handy! Even when you’re in your 50’s!

Happy Skiing!

Pendekkar Silvia

One Student’s Story…Why Mas Brad Trains Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen

Sometimes, the students say it better than I can…

Mas Brad

Dear Pendekkar,

I want to thank you and Goeroe Jeff for believing in me.  I honestly wanted to walk off the floor a number of times during the “Men’s Class in 2010” – I did not think this was for me.  I am so glad I kept training with your encouragement as well as Goeroe Jeff’s.  The Tulen community is so special – the encouragement from Mas Rob H, Mas Divonna, and Mas Twila to keep me going.  I made the decision to keep training after seeing M. Rob F. while walking my dog and I said I think I will keep training, and I did.  So did he.  I was amazed when I made that decision and very glad I did.

I have not felt as good spiritually and physically since my 20s.  It has been an unbelievable experience.  At first I was sore after class but my body has adjusted and keeps getting stronger.  For me, martial arts is not something to dabble in like a spin class at the gym.  As Mas Goeroe Agoeng Barbara says, you need to practice every day.  I feel I need to come to class at least 2-3 days a week and practice at least 2 times – luckily I am a Golden and you and Goeroe Jeff have allowed me to practice during off hours.  Not practicing makes Poekoelan very frustrating since I am slow to learn set movements.

As I’ve said before, the humbling nature of Poekoelan has really helped me.  (I am such a “know it all” but keeping my mouth shut at class is a good thing.)  Mas Cy really helped me with set 2.  Mas Hirsh has been an inspiration to me.  Mas Emily, Mas Rowan, Mas Lisa and the home grown SWTC Black Belts are awesome.  M. Rob H has taken me under his wing and that has been great.

I feel my training has become much more focused now that I have lost weight and feel comfortable in third phase.  Learning the basics of the holds was very hard and set one still seems impossible.  My goal for this year is to try to clear my mind for evening classes which is very difficult but that is improving.

My general recommendation for adults is try it for 3 months and then make a commitment.  The situation with the Men’s class is almost better than private training since you get a black belt to instruct(sometimes 2) and adult attackers that are pretty friendly and since I am down to 161 😀 – I am easier to throw…..

Mas Brad