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Our Philosophy

Soja Kids builds healthy bodies and minds through non-competitive martial arts and structured play.

Our art is holistic and seeks to develop the whole person: mind, body, and spirit.

Play, especially rough and tumble play, is extremely important in a child’s development. It gives them space become confident in their bodies and learn to assess physical risk. At the same time, they practice their skills in self-control, communication, emotional regulation, and understanding aggression in themselves and others.

Martial art lends some structure to a child’s natural instinct to play as a means to explore and develop physical abilities while engaging respectfully with peers.

Through martial arts practice, children build confidence as they learn that they can be successful through their own efforts. They will own their new skill because it was not a gift– they earned it through their own efforts, patience, and persistence. Confidence leads to adaptability, resilience, and the ability to recover and focus in stressful moments.

Our teaching incorporates martial practice in solo forms and partner work, acrobatics and meditation as a means to increase self-awareness at school and at home. All good martial arts training for kids involves instruction in terms of basic postures, footwork, grounding exercises, as well as formal movements to teach good form and technique. Expect to see your child improve their balance, coordination, and agility.

At Soja, our teachers understand the transformative potential of martial arts practice. Through cooperative physical play and self-cultivation, we endeavor to make ourselves the best people we can be. We look forward to sharing this goal with you and your child at an upcoming class or workshop.

What We Teach

The foundation of our program is White Crane Silat, an Indonesian martial art with a direct lineage from Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu. The founder of our martial art style chose the white crane as the school’s symbol because of its gracefulness, beauty, and balance in nature. The crane is peaceful and only attacks in self-defense, thereby conveying a sense of harmony that has been infused into our training.

We also teach age-appropriate self-defense courses to kids aged 5 to teens.

Learn more about Kids Self-Defense at Soja Mind/Body.

Preparing for Your Child’s First Class at Soja

Experience has taught us that following a few helpful guidelines will help your child get the most from their first class at Soja.

Please make sure your child:

  • dresses in comfortable, loose long pants and a short sleeve shirt for tumbling
  • leaves jewelry at home
  • arrives 15-minutes early to meet the teachers and get familiar with the studio
  • drinks water uses the bathroom before class begins. We try to limit breaks during class– unless it’s an emergency, of course!

Expect your child to be shy or nervous, especially if they are young. They may want to sit with you during part of the class, either off to the side or on the training mat. We’ll work with you and your new student to make the necessary accommodations until the self-confidence starts to flow.

We sell uniforms to new students for an introductory price of $45 that includes a belt, t-shirt, and pants.

Get directions to our studio in South Berkeley for tips on parking.

The Belt System for Soja Kids

Earning new belts is one of the way we motivate kids to success. At the 5-6 level our kids earn different colored stars which they iron on to their belts. At the 7-12 age level kids earn belts with colored stripes. We hold belt tests every 3 months and all kids participate in the test whether or not they are testing that time. At the 7-12 level kids get a card with 20 challenges they must complete before they are allowed to test for their next belt.

As the students increase in belt rank, the requirements for the next belt become more rigorous and the training time between belts increases. Get more information on Belt Testing.

The belt tests are also a time where we hold conferences with the students, teachers, and parents in order to evaluate their progress in class, at school, and at home. We believe that the lessons learned in our martial arts program should be applied across the board in all aspect of the student’s life. Take a look at our Student Self-Evaluation and as always, reach out to us with any questions. Contact the Soja Team.