About FKU


FKU is a volunteer-based, non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Teachers and Board Members are volunteers. The school is operated by a Board of Directors consisting of karate students, parents, and connected individuals. Other students share the responsibility of running the school by participating in meetings, serving on committees, and sharing in the dojo-cleaning chores.

FKU was founded as a women-only organization, and it remains the case that all senseis are women. However, girls and boys 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 women rather than being expected to leave the dojo at a particular age.

The Feminist Karate Union began as a self-defense class for women taught by Py Bateman at the University of Washington in 1971. We are now an active, independent, 501(c)3 non-profit karate school for women and children, taught by women. Our Chief Instructor, Sensei Aleeta Van Petten, has been training and teaching at the Feminist Karate Union since 1980 and is among our third generation of black belt women.

We teach shito-ryu, a traditional Japanese karate. Our program includes physical conditioning and is structured so that each student progresses at her own rate. New students receive individual instruction by advanced students in the mixed level classes. Our class sizes are small, and instructors provide a high level of individual attention to all students in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

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


ABOUT the International Karate Federation (IKF)

At FKU, we practice the traditional Japanese martial art of Shito-ryu. We are students of Sensei Chuzo Kotaka, 9th dan, Founder and President of the International Karate Federation (IKF) based in Hawaii.

Sensei Kotaka established IKF in 1966 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  He was born on November 11, 1941 in Hyogoken, Japan.  He began his karate training at the age of seven under Sensei Genryu Kimura. Towards the end of his high school career he also learned under a well-known master named Soke Shogo Kuniba. In 1962, Sensei Kotaka won the All Japan Karate Championship, the most prestigious karate tournament in Japan, even to this today. The All Japan Championship title was his most notable accomplishment but there were many other prestigious titles he accomplished.  He won the West All Japan title from 1962-63 and the All Japan Seishinkai from 1960-62.  He was also nominated as Co-MVP in 1960 along with Master Tetsuhiko Asai. This tournament had brought together the best fighters from each of the 4 major styles at the Osaka Namba Furitsu Taikai.

In 1965, Sensei Kotaka, at the age of 23, came to Hawaii on a goodwill tour to teach karate around world.  Master Chojiro Tani, founder of Shukokai, asked Sensei Kotaka if he would like to become a professional karate teacher. Kotaka Sensei went through a rigorous teaching and training schedule for over one year before he was allowed to travel abroad.   His first stop was in Honolulu, Hawaii and then he had plans to go to Australia and South Africa in the years to come. Sensei Kotaka fell in love with the island of Oahu and decided to stay there permanently.  After one year on Oahu he decided to make Hawaii his home. In 1966, International Karate Federation (IKF) was established, and the style Kotaka-Ha Shito-ryu was born. 

Since the opening of IKF's first dojo, Kotaka-Ha Shito-Ryu has grown throughout Hawaii, to the continental United States, Japan, and India. Sensei Kotaka has produced some of the highest level athletes among the elite karate world.  IKF has been the only karate school in the United States to produce two WKF World Champions. Since the year 2000, IKF has produced medals in each of the last 6 WKF World Championships that no other school has been able to do.           


The International Karate Federation believes and teaches a core of traditional values.  The values of Respect, Self-Discipline, Dedication, and Humility are the basis of our karate teachings.  IKF is well known for its high-level instruction and world-class athletes, but most notably, for its disciplined students.  We achieve this by establishing a hard work ethic and building a solid foundation.  We first emphasize on learning the fundamentals and basic techniques of karate and then building our way up from there. Our students are well versed in all three major areas of competition: Kata, Kumite, and Kobudo.


See Blackbelt Magazine articles written by and about FKU founder Py Bateman here.

International Karate Federation

International Karate Federation


1.    Henceforth, I shall faithfully train to strengthen my mind and body.
2.    I am willing to endure rigorous training to achieve my goal.
3.    As my strength increases, I shall seek to cultivate a gentle heart.
4.    I shall not use my skill outside the dojo except in the most extreme circumstance.
5.    At all times I will try to avoid inflicting injury upon another person.
6.    I will not brag about my skill nor use it maliciously.
7.    I shall train with the spirit of humility.