Summer Camps FAQ

Q. What ages do your summer camps serve?

A. Our summer camps are for kids 6-12.


Q. Can beginning kids who have never trained martial arts come to your camps?

A. YES! Our camps, much like the style we train, are focused on the individual. Your child will feel welcome and will be taught at the beginning level. Children who have been training a little longer will be taught at their level. We have lots of wonderful instructors in place at camps which allows us the flexibility to meet your child where he or she is.


Q. What hours are your camps?

A. We have half day (8:30-noon), full day (8:30-3:00) and extended care (3:00-5:30) options so you can pick what works best for you and your child.


Q. What are your camp dates this year?

A. Summer Camps are over for 2014 but we’ll post our dates for 2015 as soon as we have them available!


Q. Why do you only offer two camps?

A. We put a huge amount of effort into making our camps as fun and power packed as possible, for each and every camper. This takes a lot of time, energy and people power. All of us have family, friends, activities to do, and communities we like to give back to. In order to keep camps as special as they are, and in order to keep balance in our own lives, we offer only two camps per summer. Because of this, they are in high demand. Be sure to sign up early.


Q. What happens during a typical camp day?

A. Campers arrive by 9AM and then camp gets into full swing. The morning is spent learning martial arts and self-defense. Kids get an awesome workout (or two!) each morning. Sometimes we work out all together and sometimes we break apart by rank so we can work individually with the campers at their level/rank. Because we work out so hard, we like to have a small snack break in the morning. Lunch is around 12:00PM, when we head to one of the parks within walking distance from our school. We gather together to eat and relax in the shade, load up with sunscreen and then we play! We are back at Tulen Center by 3:00PM for pick up. Kids who are with us for extended care have some choices. They can join us for more work outs (usually in the form of fun games and challenges) or they can choose some quiet activities like playing with legos, art projects and games, to round out their big day! Pick up for extended care is 5:30PM. Kids ALWAYS sleep well during camps!


Q. What skills can I expect my child to learn?

A. Your child will learn some important life skills like discipline, self-control, respect and compassion. Your child will experience the pride that comes with honest achievement and the joy that comes from working together with teammates. S/he will learn effective self-defense skills that will last a lifetime. Specifics include use of the voice, striking and releases from grabs and holds. Your child will gain confidence that he or she will carry outward into the world. We create courageous leaders and upright citizens.


Q. This all sounds great, but will my child have fun?

A. YES!! Our style, Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen, is based on animal movement. The monkey, the tiger, the crane and the snake teach us cool moves, and from these animals, we have created some really fun games. We do fun stuff throughout the day like nail painting, face painting, push up and cruncher contests…we have “tattoo parlors”, nifty art projects and guests who come in to teach skills like theater games, card games and magic tricks. Our days are full of fun activities with a nice balance of “down time” to relax and just hang out with our friends.


Q. How do I register?

A. It’s easy. You can call us: 503-291-9333. Or you can register online here.

NPR, All Things Considered: Teaching Violence, and Control, to Children, by Goeroe Louise Rafkin

Please listen to this awesome radio piece. Goeroe Louise is a fifth degree black belt in the art of Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen


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And just so you know, May is FREE self-defense month at Tulen Center:

Pre-registration has begun for our summer day camps:

XOXO Pendekkar Silvia

The Rose

The symbol of Poekoelan is a red rose lying on a black background with bamboo on either side. The rose is beautiful yet if you grab it, it has thorns. The bamboo symbolizes the flexibility we strive for in body, mind and spirit. In a heavy windstorm, the oak tree may fall over or break, while bamboo bends, and then snaps back. The black background shows the mystery of this art. There is always more to learn!

We have all sorts of kids training at our school. Big kids, small kids, kids who do well in school, kids who struggle with academics. We have kids who can stay focused for a whole class and kids who are easily distracted. We have kids from all walks of life and from all possible points on any given spectrum. There is a place for each and every one of them in this art.

Our Teacher, Mas Goeroe Agoeng Willy Wetzel, said that as his students, each of us is like the rose. We are all different and yet we are all beautiful.

As an instructor, we get to learn just as much from our students as they learn from us. Say I have a student on my mat that has trouble focusing. If I find myself getting irritated, I am encouraged to look inside myself and figure out why that bothers me. Maybe there is something about myself that needs changing, some way in which I could be more understanding or set boundaries more clearly or compassionately. If I am working with a student who interrupts me or other students, or talks out of turn, I get to find joy in their enthusiasm. As I teach them how to protect themself, I also get to guide them to find and harness their own self-control.

When we bow onto the floor to instruct, we are taught to open our hearts. If I look for the beauty in each student, then that is what I find! This principle holds true even when I work with students who challenge me in some way. As I dig deeper to find more patience, this gives our students breathing room to be who they are, and at the same time, it makes me a better teacher.

As instructors we are reminded to let go of our ego and to focus on reaching the student who is right in front of us. I might discover a new way to explain or demonstrate a particular move or strike. One of our instructors might see a special glimmer of strength or speed we can nurture as the student develops. A shy student is accepted exactly as she is and begins to feel safe speaking up. She finds strength in her voice and a new confidence with friends, family and in school.

We are taught to practice compassion as a primary principle in our lives and on the floor as we teach. All of this makes us stronger instructors, and what joy it brings to us as well!

One of the many gifts of the rose is that it teaches us to look for beauty in each and every person that walks through the door of our school and onto the training floor. Some days, I think I am the luckiest soul alive, to be surrounded by so much vast beauty! My heart is full to overflowing almost every single day, and for this I thank my Teachers and that amazing flower, the rose.