Head Instructors

Sei Shihan Nancy Lanoue

6th degree black belt

Nancy tensho

Nancy Lanoue has been practicing martial arts since 1977, beginning in Goju Karate and women’s self-defense under Sensei Susan Murdock at the Women’s Martial Arts Center in New York. In those early years, she began to develop a political analysis of violence, and to understand how martial arts could be a non-violence practice. From 1979 to 1982, with two other women, she started and co-directed an organization called SAFE, which created empowering seminars on self-defense and brought them to schools, community groups, and corporations.

In 1979, Nancy began to study Seido Karate under Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura – she now holds a 6th degree black belt in this traditional Japanese art and continues to train with Kaicho. In 1991, she also began training in Kajukenbo, a beautiful, hard/soft eclectic martial art, under her partner, Sarah Ludden, and holds a 2nd degree black belt.

In 1985, Nancy began teaching Seido Karate to women in Chicago at the Women’s Gym. In 1990, she added a children’s program, and in 1995, she moved the school into its current space two doors down from the former Gym and the adult program was opened to men. With the assistance of their dedicated senior students, who now include over 60 active black belts, they currently oversee the practice of over 400 men, women and children at Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center, NFP.

In addition to her work at Thousand Waves, Nancy serves as a trainer at Special Training, the annual camp of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation. In 2001, the New Traditions Women’s Martial Arts Hall of Fame named her Instructor of the Year. She has also taught at the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors national conference, “Teaching the Teacher.”

In Chicago, Nancy has served as a member of the violence committee on the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Women, supporting local, state, and national initiatives to reduce and prevent violence against women and children. She is also a founding member of the Lesbian Community Cancer Project.

Jun Shihan Sarah Ludden

6th degree black belt

Sarah side kick

Sarah was first drawn to the martial arts as a form of creative movement. She began training in Kajukenbo Kung Fu in 1981 with the late Professor Coleen Gragen at Hand to Hand Community Self-Defense Center in Oakland, California. She taught Kajukenbo and self-defense to adults and children at Hand to Hand and in outreach programs throughout the Bay area, and ran a Kajukenbo branch program for deaf and hearing students.

During the 1980’s, in addition to teaching in the community, Sarah and other black belts at Hand to Hand provided security services to community organizations and political exiles from Central America and Chile. She was a founding member of “Streetwise,” an ensemble of martial artists that blended music, dance, martial arts, and theatre to create socially relevant performance pieces for progressive causes.

In 1991, Sarah moved to Chicago to live and work with her partner, Nancy Lanoue. Together they serve as Co-Directors of Karate Programs and Head Instructors of Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center. When Sarah first came to Chicago, she started a Kajukenbo program at Thousand Waves, and also began training in Seido. During the first decade of their collaboration, Nancy taught Sarah Seido Karate while Sarah taught Nancy Kajukenbo, while both also ran the dojo and taught students in both Seido and Kajukenbo.  Ultimately they made the decision to focus on Seido karate and end the Kajukenbo program, but not before Sarah earned her 5th degree black belt in her first art in 2002.

Sarah received her 6th degree black belt in Seido karate in 2012.  She continues to teach and perform at national training camps produced by the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists and the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, and especially enjoys her work with Thousand Waves’ children’s programs.

Staff Instructors

Kyoshi Martha

Martha Fourt

6th degree black belt

Wai-Kwong Kwok

Wai-Kwong Kwok

5th degree black belt

Katherine Nichols

Katherine Nichols

4th degree black belt

Tom West

Tom West

4th degree black belt

Rebecca Angevine

Rebecca Angevine

4th degree black belt

Eric Francque

Eric Francque

4th degree black belt

Alan Miller

Alan Miller

4th degree black belt

Ryan Libel

3rd degree black belt

Jordan Garcia

Jordan Garcia

3rd degree black belt

Senpai Amy-with gi-web

Amy Jones

3rd degree black belt

Sam Boyer

3rd degree black belt

Thomas Keene

Thomas Keene

2nd degree black belt

Mattie Greenblatt

Mattie Greenblatt

2nd degree black belt

Todd Scales

Todd Scales

2nd degree black belt

Lucia Frisancho

2nd degree black belt

Erin Epperson

1st degree black belt

Tabitha Olson

1st degree black belt

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