Sensei Denise C. Nacu

Enso Co-Director
Senior Karate Instructor
Enso Elite Karate Team Coach

Yondan (4th Degree Black Belt)


Sensei Denise Nacu has been training in Shotokan karate since 1996 and is currently a Yondan (4th degree black belt). From the beginning, the mental discipline and the strict attention to form got her hooked on the art as a “way of life.”  She has trained under Sensei M. Bambouyani (Chicago, IL), Sensei Morris Lawrence III (Ann Arbor, MI), and Sensei Dwight Holley (Cincinnati, OH).  She has also competed in many tournaments and participated in training seminars around the country.

Sensei Denise teaches adults and children of all ages and works to build a strong team of instructors, assistants, and staff to serve the dojo. She is leads the Enso Elite Karate Team and has been a coach for the AAU Karate US National team.

With her husband, Sensei Jay Nacu, Sensei Denise has directed the Enso Karate program since 2002, coordinating a successful organization that has established itself as a leading provider of traditional karate instruction.  They have two children, who are typically at the dojo with them nearly everyday after school and on weekends.

Sensei Denise holds a B.S. in Art History (minor in Psychology) from Columbia University (1995), an M.S. in Education from the University of Michigan (2000), and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Michigan (2004).  For many years she was a designer/researcher at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at DePaul University (Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media School of Design) where she is School Director and teaches in the areas of user experience design and conducts educational research on learning technologies.