Des Moines Martial Arts Schools: Taekwondo and Karate Classes

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Des Moines Martial Arts Schools: Taekwondo and Karate Classes

Karate and taekwondo are known to provide many benefits for kids including improving coordination and balance through kicking and jumping, encouraging teamwork, learning respect for yourself and others, and building self-confidence through mastering different levels. Children with attention difficulties may further benefit from a martial arts class as it can help improve selective attention (being able to focus on one thing such as the instructor and ignore other things that are happening around them), provides mental and physical challenges, and even could help reduce anxiety. 

Karate has Japanese and Chinese influences and uses more hand techniques. Taekwondo was first practiced in Korea and involves more kicking and jumping. Note there are a variety of spellings of taekwondo (some capitalized, some broken into the three words it originated from) and so in this post, it will be spelled according to the school’s preference.

If your child is expressing interest in martial arts, there are many great options around the Des Moines Metro. Often you can try one or more classes for free to determine if they will be a good fit for your child.

Here is a giant list of Karate and Taekwondo options in Des Moines, Iowa.

Karate, Taekwondo, Martial Arts in Des Moines, Karate in Des Moines, kids activities

Ankeny Academy of Martial Arts

Address: 1928 SW 3rd Street Ankeny

Phone: (515) 314-0298


Ankeny Academy of Martial Arts was started by Kevin Deaver after he started martial arts training for stress relief as a parent. He received his black belt and opened his own academy in 2004. The school provides Tae Kwon Do classes according to age/belt level including Lil Ninja Trix for ages 4-6, Jr. Ninja Trix for ages 7-12, Traditional Tae Kwon Do for ages 12 and up and then other classes according to belt level. Classes for adults also include Empower Kickboxing and Aiki-Jujitsu Hapkido (practical self-defense tactics).

Black Eagle Martial Arts

Address: 5905 Ashworth Rd., West Des Moines

Phone: (515) 226-1960


Black Eagle Martial Arts were founded by Grandmaster Son, Young Gul who is a master of Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Kuphado (Korean sword martial art). He is world-renowned and the president of the American Heuk Choo Kwan Hapkido Association. Classes start at age 3 and include Taekwondo for Tiny Eagles ages 3-4, Little Eagles ages 5-6, Children Taekwondo for ages 7-10 (split into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced belts), Youth Taekwondo ages 11-15 (split into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced belts) and Adult Taekwondo for ages 16 and up. Other classes include Hapkido for ages 16 and up and Kuphado for ages 16 and up as well as Sparring class. 

Breese Family Tae Kwon Do

Two locations in Des Moines including on Hubbell and Merle Hay Road.

Phone: (515) 282-2040


This family business has been in operation for 35 years and teaches traditional Tae Kwon Do for ages 4 and up. They offer one week free to try the classes and there is no membership fee or contract to join. They also offer military discounts and family discounts.

Dojo’s Family Martial Arts

Locations in West Des Moines, Waukee, Johnston, and Ankeny.


Dojo’s Family Martial Arts offers karate classes for kids starting at age 4 through adults. The classes incorporate Kenpo Karate, Self Defense as well as Character Building lessons and worksheets to help children improve confidence, leadership, and motor skills. They also offer special events for parents’ night out each month while kids can engage in fun activities such as nerf battles and holiday parties as well as offering picnics and other events for all locations to build community among the Dojo’s (different locations). 

They also provide birthday parties where your child can experience a private karate class with friends and cut their birthday cake with a samurai sword.

Insider Look: My 4-year-old attended karate classes here and we love that the instructors are positive, and encouraging and come down to the child’s level to speak with them. They also have student teachers that assist, and my child enjoyed working with other kids that served as role models. The frequent events help build community and support for the kids and parents.

East Coast Tae Kwon Do

Address: 208 8th Street SE, Suite B, Altoona

Phone: (515) 447-0014

Instructor Norman Wrigley is a 3rd-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and opened East Coast Tae Kwon Do in 2011 as a non-profit school. There are three different classes available including Juniors Class I for ages 6-7, Juniors Class II for ages 8-10, and Seniors Class for ages 10 and up. Classes are offered twice per week. Community service is important within the school and students give back by raising funds to provide holiday dinners to families in need through their Fitness for Food program. 

Farrell’s Martial Arts

Address: 3843 121st St., Urbandale

Phone: (515) 255-0095


Farrell’s is a Black Belt TaeKwonDo School, meaning they work with all students to help them eventually obtain their black belt. Classes start at age 4 and are separated according to age including Little Dragons Martial Arts for ages 4-6, Kids TaeKwonDo for ages 7-11, Teen TaeKwonDo for ages 12-17, and Adult TaeKwonDo for ages 18 and up. Their focus is on building life skills, and they offer a free trial class.

Jacob’s Martial Arts

Address: 3710 Dennis Dr., Urbandale

Phone: (515) 270-1600


This popular school was founded in 1970 (formerly called Kim’s Academy) and is known for its family atmosphere. They teach a variety of traditional Tae Kwon Do classes according to age including Little Dragons for ages 3-6 years, Children for ages 6-12 years, Teen and Adults 12 years and up as well as Weapons and Practical Self-Defense. They offer a free orientation lesson to try the program. Jacob’s Martial Arts also offer other fun activities for kids throughout the year including Summer Camp and The Great Easter Egg Hunt.

Karate Do Shito Kai Des Moines

Address: 315 E 5th Street Des Moines

Phone: (515) 328-6465


Nakata Sensei (teacher) has been practicing karate since he was 10 years old and earned his black belt at age 14. His school is located in the heart of East Village in downtown Des Moines and he teaches Shito-Ryu, one of the styles of Karate-Do and a union between two styles practiced in Okinawa, Japan. Karate classes start at age 7 and include beginning classes for youth between ages 7-14, advanced classes for ages 7 and up, and beginning adult classes. All classes are held twice per week.

Martial Arts America

Locations in Ankeny, Madrid, Altoona, Elkhart, Huxley, Grimes, Colfax, and Maxwell.


Martial Arts America is affiliated with Jung’s Tae Kwon Do Academy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Woo Jin Jung is a 9th Degree Grandmaster of Tae Kwon Do. They have multiple locations in Central Iowa and teach traditional Korean Tae Kwon Do focusing not only on self-defense but also character development. Their Tiny Tigers program is for ages 4-6 and their regular program includes ages 6 and up.

Master Jeong’s Tae Kwon Do

Address: 15920 Hickman Road Suite 600 and 700, Clive

Phone: (515) 518-2211


Master Jeong has over 25 years of experience earning his Bachelor of Art Degree in Tae Kwon Do in South Korea, a 6th-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a 4th-degree black belt in Hapkido. From 2006-2008 he was a Korean Marine Corp Tae Kwon Do instructor. Classes include Tae Kwon Do for Little Tigers for ages 4-6, Kids Class for ages 6 and up, Adult Class, and Family Class where families can train together. All new students start with the Trial Program to observe, speak with instructors and participate in group classes.

Tiger-Rock Martial Arts

Address: 739 SE Alice’s Rd. Waukee

Phone: (515) 978-8070


Tiger-Rock Martial Arts is a franchise school with locations across the United States. This school teaches Taekwondo classes starting at age 4. Classes include Tiger Cubs for ages 4-5, Juniors for ages 6-11, and Youth and Adults for ages 12 and up. They hold New Student Open House Weeks where students can take a free class.

Traditional Karate Academy

Address: 4105 East 38th Street Des Moines

Phone: (515) 343-7746


Traditional Karate Academy has been in business for over 30 years and instructors teach traditional karate. The wood floor and view of the trees set it apart from other modern facilities. The senior instructor Mr. Rosendahl is a 5th Dan (5th-degree black belt) and has coached his son, Seth, at national and international competitions. Seth is also an instructor at Traditional Karate Academy, a 5th Dan, and has placed in many competitions including World Cup 6th place in 2009. Classes start at age 5 for Adult Youth and Beginner, Youth Intermediate and Advanced ages 6-13, Adult Intermediate/Advanced ages 14 and up, Youth Home School Class, and Theme Training for all ages. The first two classes are free and there are no yearly contracts.

Triumph Martial Arts

Locations in Clive and Pella.


Triumph Martial Arts have been serving the Clive and Pella communities since 2003 with a variety of classes starting at age 4. Classes include instruction in taekwondo for Preschool Martial Arts for ages 4-6, Kids Martial Arts Classes for ages 7-13, and Adult Martial Arts Classes for ages 14 and up. Krav Mega, a form of self-defense training, is offered for ages 16 and up. The Pella location also has a child and adult Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes available.

Two Rivers Martial Arts

Locations in Carlisle, Clive/West Des Moines, Indianola, Pleasant Hill, Waukee, and Winterset.


Two Rivers Martial Arts is a non-profit organization teaching traditional Tae Kwon Do with a non-contact sparring style.  Their instructors hold black belts and they are volunteer teachers so pricing is lower than what you may find at other schools. They recommend starting at age 7 and because classes involve all ages families can train together where beginning students can watch and learn from more advanced students. They also have a Black Belt Youth Group where youth learn different fighting styles and have even participated in the Des Moines Police Academy’s Self-Defense Curriculum.

There are many great schools and locations to choose from to learn techniques from experienced instructors. Whether your child wants to attend 2 times per week or 4, by themselves or as a family, there are many options at a variety of price points. 

Looking for more martial arts schools including Muy Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu, and Boxing? Check out our next list!


Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L is an occupational therapist turned (mostly) stay-at-home mom. She has worked with adults to young toddlers and has a special interest in early childhood development targeting fine motor skills, feeding, sensory processing, and coordination. She loves incorporating this knowledge with her own two little boys through play. When she’s not running after her little ones she enjoys traveling, cooking new recipes and eating chocolate from her secret stash.

One thought on “Des Moines Martial Arts Schools: Taekwondo and Karate Classes

  1. Can you please add Shadow Fist Kung Fu to your list? They are a new school that just opened up in summer 2021. Details below:
    Shadow Fist Kung Fu and Tai Chi
    7676 Hickman Ave, Windsor Heights, IA 50324
    Shadow Fist teaches a tradition style of Shaolin kung fu known as Eagle Claw or Ying Jow Pai as well as Wu Style Tai Chi Chaun. We provide safe and positive training with the highest level of personal attention, service and instruction for every student. Eagle Claw Kung Fu can be used to improve fitness, self defense as well as boost confidence, life skills and self esteem. We offer classes for kids 5+ and families as well as adult classes that empower our students to defend themselves, both physically and mentally.

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