Self-Defense Instructors

The professional violence prevention staff at Thousand Waves is made up of men and women who have undergone an intensive teacher training program. Several instructors are certified by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation. Our violence prevention team includes professional teachers and individuals with extensive teaching experience with diverse populations. All are trained to deliver trauma-informed, empowering programming with cultural competence and sensitivity.

Violence Prevention Management Team

Nancy Lanoue (self-defense)Head Instructor Nancy Lanoue has been training in martial arts and self-defense since 1977. Her primary martial arts are Seido Karate and Kajukenbo, in which she holds the ranks of 6th degree and 2nd degree black belt.

As a student and later a teacher at the Women’s Martial Arts Center in New York, she developed a political analysis of violence, and began to see how martial arts and self-defense training could empower women to fight back against the everyday violence in their lives. In these early years, she also trained at the Civilian Defense Training Center, a co-ed program. In 1979, she co-founded a violence-prevention organization called SAFE that offered innovative, low commitment/high impact self-defense and empowerment workshops from their Center in Greenwich Village and also on an outreach basis to schools, community groups, and businesses.

Her years of teaching empowerment based self-defense to women, men, teens, and children have led to a commitment to explore the many root causes of violence and the inter-connections between individual, societal, and global issues.

She has developed a framework for teaching that both encourages students to assert their rights to safety and respect and also to explore their potential to speak and act violently. The objective is not only to have students be able to keep themselves safe, but also to develop the courage and commitment to take a stand against, intervene in, and interrupt violence. In addition to her work at Thousand Waves, Nancy has presented workshops for the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors, and the World Seido Karate Organization. She has served on both the New York City Mayor’s Task Force on Rape and the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Women as a member of the violence committee. She was a co-founder of the Lesbian Community Cancer Project, and was inducted into the City of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1993.

Nancy holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in Asian studies and a Master’s degree from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs with a specialization in communications. Before embarking on her path as a teacher, she worked as a journalist in New York City.

Violence Prevention and Self-Defense
Program Manager

Amy Jones-medium sizeAmy Jones is an NWMAF-certified self-defense instructor who began her martial arts and self-defense training in Austin, Texas in 2001. She holds a first-degree black belt in Kyokushin Karate and a third-degree black belt in Seido Karate. Amy is also a licensed social worker in the state of Illinois, with a specialization in trauma and violence prevention. Amy has been teaching self-defense for approximately ten years, mostly in a volunteer capacity. In 2008, she reached a turning point in her life and decided to pursue self-defense teaching and violence prevention work professionally. Over the next five years, she resigned her job in the private sector and went back to school. In the summer of 2013, she completed her Master’s of Social Work degree and moved to Chicago. Soon after relocating, she began the instructor training at Thousand Waves. Because of her prior experience, she completed the training quickly. She assumed the position of Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Program Manager at Thousand Waves in the fall of 2014.

Amy has presented self-defense programs to children as young as six and adults of all ages. She has worked with blind and visually-impaired teens and adults, survivors of domestic violence, social work interns, individuals in early recovery from substance abuse, and many other populations with specific and unique safety concerns. She has also worked with perpetrators of violence, delivering anger management and individualized counseling to inmates in a county jail and post-incarceration setting in Western Massachusetts. Working with diverse populations has given her insight into the different ways that violence effects individuals with different lived experiences.

Amy holds a B.A. in Humanities and Social Thought, a B.S. in Psychology, and an MSW. Prior to her work in violence prevention, Amy worked in software development as a programmer, an interface designer and user researcher.

Self-Defense Instructors

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards

Erin Epperson

Erin Epperson

Becky Kidd

Becky Kidd

Ryan Libel

Ryan Libel

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