Karate for Women in Seattle - Feminist Karate Union
Discover Your Strongest Self

Upcoming Events:


January 3 - Winter term begins at Thurgood Marshall Elementary


January 8 - Winter term begins at Fairmount Park Elementary


January 9 - Winter term begins at Cascadia Elementary


January 20 - 14th Annual Kick-A-Thon


February 23-25 - AWMAI Conference, San Diego CA


April 19 - Karate 101 for Women begins


April 22: 47th Annual Spring Demo at Miller Community Center


July 19 - Karate 101 for Women begins


July 19-22 - NWMAF Special Training, Naperville IL


August 17-20 - PAWMA Camp, Camp Loma Mar, CA


Sept 20: Karate 101 for Women begins



See Google Calendar


Our Black Belt Instructors



Sensei Aleeta Van Petten

4th dan Karate-Do

3rd dan Kobudo


Sensei Aleeta Van PettenI am a student of Sensei Chuzo Kotaka, 9th dan, Founder and President of the International Karate Federation based in Hawaii. I am ranked to yondan, or 4th degree black belt, in Sensei Kotaka's empty-hand system of shito-ryu karate, and to sandan (3rd degree black belt) in his kobudo (traditional weapons) system. I have been training and teaching at the Feminist Karate Union since 1981 when I began my study of the martial arts. I am fortunate in that I represent the third generation of women martial artists and teachers at my school. I was trained to black belt by my teacher Linda Kenoyer, who in her turn was trained to black belt by her teacher Py Bateman. I'm busy training a fourth and now fifth generation of women to black belt. I am fortunate and somewhat unique in this as women taught by women are still a relative rarity in the martial arts.


I was brought to my training by my curiosity regarding the mystique surrounding the martial arts. I stayed with the martial arts because of the excitement and challenge of learning new techniques, movements and ideas, and by the satisfaction of seeing my body and its responses change through training.


Having reached the rank of yondan, I continue to train hard to maintain what I've learned, and to learn new techniques and ideas. My excitement and motivation now, however, are my students. Many martial arts instructors find their greatest reward in training children to self-confidence, or in working with promising athletic adults for outstanding achievement in martial arts competition. Of course I truly enjoy watching a physically gifted woman develop as a skilled martial artist under my coaching. But for me the most excitement and reward is in helping average women who come to my dojo. They generally come with apprehension and curiosity to see what a school called the Feminist Karate Union might have for them.


What I hope they find at my school, what I try to give them, is a place of acceptance. Whether they are a middle-aged middle-class housewife, an exotic dancer, a radical lesbian, a chador-clad Muslim, or a college or high school student, I try to accept my students as they come; whether they cannot possibly do one pushup or if they can do one hundred, if they don't know right from left, whether they're self-confident, over-confident or fearful. Many women who have been physically or emotionally injured by men need a place to train where they can be free from even the imagined possibility of male threat. My job as I define it as martial arts instructor is to train each woman as she is, help her to set and reset her goal(s), and work with her toward those goals and beyond.


I believe that I have found what intuitively drew me to the martial arts. I believe that with effort and correct attitude the martial arts will help us each turn inward and find, confront, and make peace with our greatest foe and ally--ourselves. My dream is to help other women in this achievement.



Sensei Joanne Factor

2nd dan Karate-Do

2nd dan Kobudo


Sensei Joanne FactorI recognized some aspects of my life were in transition, and knew that physical activity would improve my emotional outlook. I had heard that practicing martial arts was an aid to concentration and focus. Ostensibly, I wanted to learn self-defense. I asked a friend of mine -- he had toyed with tae kwon do for six months as a college student -- which of the martial arts he thought most efficacious. He suggested karate.

I was impressed by the support and encouragement that the women at FKU gave each other, so I joined. An essential tenet at FKU is dedication to train any woman, regardless of aptitude. Karate was, and still is, difficult for me, and I struggled for the first couple of years on the most rudimentary of forms. After those first couple of years, I realized I was developing a new sort of awareness of connections between body and mind. I was discovering aspects of "mind" apart from intellect. My training was toward an intense awareness of the here and now.

A feudal Japanese sword master noted that the true purpose of the martial arts is to eliminate six "diseases": the desire to show off, the desire for victory, the desire to win by technical skill, the desire to passively wait for an opening to attack, the desire to psychologically overwhelm one's opponent, and the desire to end these desires. The commonality amidst these dis-eases is the overwhelming sense of being ill-at-ease with oneself, with emphasis on some future reward dependent on someone else, and at the expense of being in the present. Well over a decade later my training has expanded to include teaching adult women and children. But still, my focus is toward an intense awareness of the here and now: taking the unique gifts that each student brings to class today and helping them hone their talents to a more fulfilling, more aware, tomorrow.



Sensei Tracey Drum

1st dan Karate-Do

1st dan Kobudo


Sensei Tracey DrumI am of the fourth generation of black belts at FKU, trained by Sensei Aleeta Van Petten. I've been training at the Feminist Karate Union since 1993 and teaching classes since1997. I still remember my first class, wondering how much of my life I would devote to this, and whether I was willing to give up my Saturday mornings each week to train. Eight years later, I became the regular Saturday morning instructor. Initially, my intentions were never to become a Karate instructor. I hadn't even made plans to become a black belt. Karate became a part of my life when I found myself in a precarious situation in which I wasn't sure how I'd defend myself. Living in a cheap apartment in the U District while attending the UW, our upstairs neighbor threatened to kill me and my boyfriend, Steve. While we really didn't think he would act on this, we weren't exactly positive about his plans either. Steve knew how he'd handle the situation if it were to arise, but I didn't know what I could do. And I wasn't about to live in fear. Promptly, we moved out, finding a new cheap apartment in the U District with no threatening neighbors, and I found the Feminist Karate Union.


My goal was to learn how to defend myself. I wanted to get to a place where I was confident in my abilities and not feel afraid. I thought, maybe when I become a blue belt I'll have reached my goal. But the training was addictive. I could appreciate the beauty in the art of karate and respect its long history. I saw how strong I had become, felt confident about myself, and I knew I had much more to learn.


Thankfully, I have never been in a situation where I needed to use my skills, but my training has made me much more aware. As we learn and grow, our goals in life change. My goals, as a karate-ka, have changed numerous times throughout my training. Whether it's learn to defend myself, get over my fear of sparring, develop my speed and focus, locate my chi, or land a hook kick in sparring, they have all helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the art and challenged me to grow in ways I never thought possible. Karate is a multi-faceted sport one can continue for a life-time without ever getting bored. I can see myself at 70 in a cat stance working on balance and power.


After being a brown belt for six years, I made the leap to shodan-ho, the first of the black belt ranks, in the summer in 2003. And two years later, I achieved shodan. I have been teaching classes at FKU for over ten years and consider myself a student with so much more to learn. I am grateful to my Sensei, Aleeta, and to the FKU organization for their patience and flexibility with me. Many schools would have dropped me in my first years of training for the priority I'd given to my college education and elementary school teaching career. I am a firm believer in the idea that you get out of life what you put into it. It is my hope that I can model this to other students, helping them to set goals for themselves and pushing them to achieve them.



Sensei Kim Jarvis

1st dan Karate-Do

1st dan Kobudo


Karate instructor Kim JarvisStatement to be added

















Sensei Jennifer Sweigert

1st dan Karate-Do

1st dan Kobudo


Sensei Jennifer, Seattles Feminist Karate UnionStatement to be added




















Black belt students at the Feminist Karate Union