Dawn BarnesOwner, CEO Sensei Dawn Barnes is a 3rd degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate, and the founder of Gozen Karate–the world’s first and only martial arts style developed specifically for children. She has been teaching children for over 25 years, and today oversees her six locations in Los Angeles, CA. Sensei Dawn lectures nationally for the Martial Arts Industry Assoc., and is an inductee into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as Woman of the Year. She is also a published author of the children’s book series, The Black Belt Club, by Scholastic Inc.

Watch Sensei Dawn’s Hall of Fame video on YouTube!

Dawn Barnes Woman of the YearBen Yellin


Owner, COO Ben Yellin is Sensei Dawn’s husband and partner in all business operations.  He brings over forty years of expertise to the company and makes sure the ship is always prepared to navigate the high and low tides of business!



Alesia DeSisto

General Manager, Alesia DeSisto brings her background as Executive Director of Clientele Development for Bloomingdale’s and Senior Manager and Buyer for Fred Segal to her management and customer service skills. As General Manager she oversees operations alongside the COO and Supervisors, and runs Human Resources. Alesia earned a brown belt herself, and both her children earned junior black belts at Karate Kids. She couldn’t be prouder!


Ando Mierzwa

Program Director, Sensei Ando Mierzwa assists Sensei Dawn with hiring and training instructors, evaluating new business concepts, and overall quality control. As a veteran of the martial arts, Ando is an accomplished black belt in multiple styles, and co-creator of Gozen Karate for children. “For the last 10 years, it has been my honor to support Sensei Dawn’s vision of preparing children to lead happy, healthy lives.”


Dorene SobelSupervisor, Sensei Dorene Sobel has been a Black Belt in Shotokan and other martial arts since 1985. Sensei Dorene oversees the staffing and scheduling at all schools, and has worked with Sensei Dawn on DBKK’s in-house special needs curriculum. “As an Instructor at Karate Kids for thirteen years, I have seen Sensei Dawn’s teaching method, Positive Dialog Response, get extraordinary results in building confidence in my students. I even use the method at home with my two active boys, and it works!”