Dawn-Marie Sardiñas has over 18 years of martial arts training. She earned her 1st degree black belt from Grandmaster Kim, Suk Jun in 1999 and was immediately encouraged to begin teaching. After many years running multiple, successful after-school clubs and programs, Ms. Sardinas’ natural ability to relate to young students led her to being appointed as the Head Instructor of the Children’s program at S.J. Kim’s TKD in NYC in 2004. Ms. Sardinas left her position there to co-found Gotham Martial Arts in 2007 where she was inspired to create Mastodon Training.
Ms. Sardiñas began working with children when she was a teenager as a Red Cross certified babysitter and camp supervisor for the local Parks and Recreation Department in her hometown in CT. Her passion for working with children led her to pursue postgraduate coursework in Education after receiving her Bachelor of Music from Western Connecticut State University in 1994.
Master Sardinas earned her 5th degree black belt in 2011 and continues to train and develop herself both personally and professionally.
While Master Sardiñas was the head instructor for the children’s program at SJ Kim’s TKD, she was visited by a friend and her young daughter. The little girl was 3 or 4 at the time and couldn’t quite say “Master Sardinas” so they tried the less formal “Master Dawn” and it came out sounding very close to “Mastodon.”
Master Sardiñas thought it was adorable and filed the new nickname away. When the time came to create a mindful approach to teaching martial arts to children, the name her young friend had inadvertently given to her came to mind and Mastodon Training was born.