Testimonials 2016-10-25T03:52:57+00:00

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Our family can really testify about the kids Kung Fu program offered at Soja. Our 9 year old son attends Kung Fu every Saturday. From his first day forward the instructors have been great, and Peter has been very clear with us about what is expected from the children and how the organization runs. It has been great to have our son in a program that really holds character skills in a high place. The program not only teaches Kung Fu skills but also helps children reflect about their own life behaviors and habits. My son has improved in school and at home. He loves Kung Fu and I am so happy we found a place that places less value on competition and more value on helping students grow into individuals with character, and calm disciplined minds. Additionally, have an African American son we were worried about finding a program that offered diversity in Oakland. Happy to say that his class has a nice mix of students and families, and as a bonus the staff is a nice mix of diverse and caring individuals too. Lastly, Soja has a vision and plans to grow. It is really a community with plans to expand into all sorts of wonderful areas. All good news at Soja! – Yelp.com 5.0 star rating 2/11/2014
Ashley P.
I stopped by Soja on a whim last Thursday with my friend who practices Kung Fu there and I am totally hooked! This is a beautiful space and the people have a great vibe. I didn’t know anything about martial arts but I didn’t feel out of place at all. I really like the communal and meditative aspect of practicing Kung Fu there–which is a great addition to my usual meditation practice and running regimen. It’s a place to get a great mind/body workout in a supportive and friendly atmosphere. Wish I had gone the sooner! – Yelp.com 5.0 star rating 4/11/2009
Yelda B.
I just started taking classes here and even though I find some of the physical contact intimidating I am hooked….the instructors are so patient and I feel so uncoordinated but i get nothing but support. I have taken Laura’s class and she is great and very skilled, Soame (sp?) is so helpful and patient and works with me over and over (!) until I can master a move. Peter, the owner and founder is so passionate and welcoming and provides a very safe place to explore your limits and surpass them~ I feel strong and exhausted after a class-very cool! Thank you Peter and Soja! 🙂 – Yelp.com 5.0 star rating 5/26/2008
Kelli D.
We love Soja! My 7 year old son attends the kids Kung Fu class at Soja on Webster St. He couldn’t love it more! Peter and the other instructors are great with kids and the studio is very clean and nice. My kid is happy there, which make me happy sending him there.
A Google User reviewed 2 years ago
Soja is a wonderful place for kids to learn Kung Fu. The instructors are awesome, the studio is modern and clean, the vibe is great. My kid loves it! – Yelp.com 5.0 star rating 10/10/2011
Mara P.
I love this place. I have a desk job and was experiencing desk job spread! I walked into Soja about 3 months ago and even though I mix and match my classes and don’t always make it in every week, I’ve seen great changes in my physique and have begun to focus on how strong I feel instead of how blah I feel! There are so many different types of classes to explore here. They range from mellow to kick butt. Every time I come it’s something new and fun. Often for me, schedule is more important than subject and there’s a big range of class times so I’m almost always able to make something. Peter, the owner, is building a strong community and I feel like I am not only getting a great work out and some self defense skills, but like I’m making a whole new group of friends. There is a huge range of ages, body types, fitness levels, and backgrounds in these classes. I felt right at home in my out of shape, chunkier than I should be, kind of creaky, 30-something body! Often I drag in for class and leave feeling on top of the world. I can’t recommend Soja highly enough. – Yelp.com 5.0 star rating 10/1/2008
This review is for the Kids Program. I’m grateful for the positive experience that Soja’s kung fu children’s program has given to a special child in my life.

Billy is a neighbor boy whom I tutor and have taken under my wing. He first visited this school at age 5; he is almost 7 now. When we started, I really wanted Billy to be in martial arts classes for three reasons:

He has an overabundance of energy which needs to be funneled into something constructive.
He has an innate talent for martial arts, which needed to be put to better use than beating up on his littler brother.
I was hoping it would help him work out his confusion with the violence his family lets him see on tv every day and that he sees in his community.
My intuition was right on that these classes would be just what Billy needed. It provides him some structure for his free time. After only a couple weeks of classes, I noticed that the amount of physical fighting in his daily life had decreased dramatically. I’m talking about both play-fighting and angry-fighting. I’m not sure if the result was due to the teachers instructing him to not fight outside of kung fu class, or if it’s because he’s been able to funnel his energy and talents more productively, but, whatever it was, it was working!

I believe the vibe that the teachers emit determine the outcomes of the skills you learn. Do your skills attract more safety and wellness into your life, or do they attract more conflict? I would describe the vibe of this school as “harmony and peaceful order”, which contrasts with the “we’re tough fighters” vibe I’ve felt while visiting other martial arts schools.

The children’s head teacher, Rich, is great with kids. I’m impressed with the positive and grounded learning environment he creates, and especially with how the activities are structured and presented so that the skill-building is disguised as play. The balls that they balance on aren’t just balls, they’re “dragon eggs”. Peter, the owner of the space, has been great to work with, too – responsive to emails and any concerns I’ve had.

Billy loves his kung fu classes and every day he counts the days until his next class. I highly recommend. – Yelp.com 5.0 star rating 6/5/2012