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About FKU

Who We Serve

FKU was founded in 1971 as a women-only organization, and it remains the case that all senseis are women.

As of 2020, the Board recognizes that FKU can serve a larger community of individuals who are discriminated against for reasons of gender identity, including non-binary and transgender individuals. These groups are victimized disproportionately and need a supportive and safe place to learn self-defense and find balance and community through the art of Shito-Ryu. FKU welcomes anyone who identifies as a member or ally of such a community.

All children (regardless of gender or gender identity) train in the children’s class, and boys who remain at the dojo as they mature, who understand and promote our values, are permitted and encouraged to train in some classes alongside the adult students.

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How We Began

Our story starts with Py Bateman. Just 5’2″ tall, she fended off a deadly knife attack at her home because of her karate training.

As she advanced in her training, she felt frustrated with the male-dominated Dojos, being laughed at by them and not thought of as an equal despite her high skill level and winning in many tournaments.

Ignoring the norms of the times, she started the Feminist Karate Union to bring the sport to women in need of confidence and self-defense. The women’s movement of the 60’s and Ted Bundy murders in Seattle created a huge influx of women to the Dojo. Read the whole story

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Who We Are Today

FKU is now an established karate school with a tournament schedule, a master sensei in Hawaii, and an active membership. Much of this is due to the work of Sensei Aleeta Van Petten, our chief instructor and the last student at FKU to learn karate from Py Bateman herself before she retired.

She has been training and teaching at FKU since 1980 and is among our 3d generation of black belt women.

We are an active, independent, 501(c)3 non-profit karate school taught by women. We welcome women, children, and individuals who are discriminated against for gender identity, including non-binary and transgender people.

Member of the IKF

We are the Seattle branch of the International Karate Federation (IKF) headed by Sensei Chuzo Kotaka based in Hawaii.

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Build Strength

Get the strongest mind and body of your life through Karate training.

Gain Confidence

Karate values and knowing you can defend yourself builds confidence.

Learn Discipline

Bring the discipline of Karate into your training and your everyday life.

What our students say

I started training at FKU because it was close to my home. 7 years later and I'm still finding new reasons to continue my training here. Amazing teachers. Supportive environment. Continual challenges. No attitude. And always, always fun. I couldn't have picked a better school.
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Deb S.
Seattle
I've been training here for over 17 years. I began just out of curiosity and stayed for the challenge. The school spirit can't be beat, the workout is solid, and the skills are top-notch traditional karate.
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Joanne F.
Seattle
I've been at FKU for about 4 years. I have made many new friends and have developed in strength and confidence since then. I am a thinker and an academic and spend a lot of time in my head, so it has been challenging, and good for me, to "let go" and develop body sense. I still have lots to learn, but that is also what I appreciate about FKU - that even our black belts still are learning, and that there is always room to improve. I like to challenge myself, and also am proud of how far I've been able to go in such an encouraging atmosphere.
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Renee A.
Seattle
A strong, supportive place for women and kids to learn karate. My son and daughter have been taking karate here for years and it has been great both for their physical development as well as their self-discipline, body control, confidence and focus.
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Corina L.
Seattle

Join our community today and discover YOUR strongest self.

Karate is for everyone, at any level. Your training will impact your confidence, discipline and strength in the dojo and in your life. Be part of a community committed to supporting one another and having fun.

How We Began