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Dawn Barnes Karate Kids

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Santa Monica, CA

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Our Story


In 1985, Dawn enrolled herself and her two sons in Shotokan Karate lessons… and loved it! She earned her Black Belt in 1988 and began teaching children’s classes  in after-school programs. Parents were drawn to Sensei Dawn’s age-appropriate curriculum and “love-based” teaching method which balanced discipline, positive dialog, and fun!

In 1995, Sensei Dawn opened her first school. Following in the steps of pioneers like Itosu, Kano, and Funakoshi, she focused on “life-skills” such as honesty, kindness, and courage.

In 2001, by popular demand, she began expanding Karate Kids to multiple locations. Her success in inspiring children led to Sensei Dawn being asked to mentor other teachers across the country through lectures, advice columns, instructional manuals, and DVDs. Sensei Dawn is also the author of Scholastic’s successful book series titled, The Black Belt Club.

In 2006, Sensei Dawn was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame for her contributions to the martial arts.

In 2010, after more than 20 years of teaching children, Sensei Dawn founded Gozen Karate, the world’s first “child-style” of martial arts.

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