Aleeta Van Petten
Training at FKU since 1981, Sensei Aleeta is a fifth-degree black belt (fourth dan, pronounced “dahn”) in Sensei Chuzo Kotaka’s open-hand style of Shito-ryu, and third dan in his traditional weapons system (kobudo).
“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. What I hope they find at my school, what I try to give them, is a place of acceptance.”
A recently retired physician, Sensei Aleeta brings knowledge of the human body and its capabilities.
“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 push-up or if they can do one hundred, if they don’t know right from left, whether they’re self-confident, over-confident or fearful. 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.
Training at FKU since 1992, Sensei Joanne earned her second dan black belt in open-hand, and a second dan in kobudo in 2009.
“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.”
A small-business owner by day, Sensei Joanne brings an entrepreneurial spirit and years of experience empowering women. Today she owns Strategic Living LLC, a separate business focused on providing empowerment self-defense training outside a martial arts environment. She began teaching workshops and seminars for women and teen girls in 1995 by assisting Sensei Aleeta in community classes, expanding offerings to the University of Washington’s Women’s Center and beyond.