DOPAMINE: The Key to Increased Motivation and Focus in Children and Teens | Pedro's Judo Center
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Fill Out This Form, Get 4 Lessons and a Uniform for $30

Secure your spot and get started today with our EXCLUSIVE offer! *Not valid on Parent & Toddler Program*

Matt K

Great atmosphere for both adults and children. My son is always excited for his next judo class and enjoys attending the studio and participating in class.

Kamal K

Great place for kids self-esteem and physical strength. Kids practice is full of fun and challenges. The class is very disciplined. Non-stop for the full duration of the class.

Katie M reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

My daughter has been doing judo here since she was four years old. Pedro's fosters a sense of confidence, respect and community in their students. We are so happy with them!

Joshua R reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

I would absolutely recommend Pedro's Judo Center to anyone that wants a positive, self-empowering experience for their own child.

Daniel L reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Pedro's Judo Center not only teaches their students Judo & help them build confidence & a strong body. They also teach them about discipline & respect, inside & outside of the Dojo.

We are so glad we found this school for our two sons. Their instructors are great & the program is phenomenal.

Marissa F reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Sansei Casey is patient, consistent and encouraging. Both of my boys have enjoyed their first 8 weeks. It literally took their goal sticker chart to encourage my 2 yr old to become potty trained. My oldest is now more independent and helpful around the kitchen. We can’t wait to continue seeing them grow in Judo.

Suzana Stojakovic Forkapic reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Our son Nikola has officially been at this Dojo for one full year now and is thriving in this environment. Sensei Riley is there to teach Judo and much more with goal setting, a constant reminder of respect, kindness, and overall doing the right thing each day. He is in tune with each child speaking and instructing them with discipline and respect. I just love this place and look forward to each class and my son's development overall.

Mimi Lemay reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Pedro's is a remarkable place. I knew that the martial arts, if practiced right, could instill confidence and positivity in my kids, and Pedro's and Sensei Riley have not disappointed. I have three kids at Pedro's: Ages, 9, 8 and 6 and all three have enjoyed the experience, learned a lot and improved in strength, coordination and their belief in what they can accomplish! The classes are run well and on time, and there are plenty of chances for the kids to work toward promotion and participate in tournaments. We are glad we chose Pedro's Judo!

Beth Williams reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Jacob has just finished his third year of training at Pedro's. We could not be happier with his progress. We started down this path hoping for better school and home behavior, a little more focus and lot more patience and discipline. In three years the change has been remarkable! Our rambunctious, full of energy little boy has grown up- learned how to respect teachers, staff, parents and so much more- while still keeping his silly, charming personality. Sensei Riley is kind, understanding, beyond patient and a true cheerleader! We are so grateful to all the staff for being on this ride with us!

Leah Kunz Sullo reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

I would absolutely recommend Pedro's Judo Center, we have had such a great experience and look forward to many more years of fun. This has been a great way for my four year old son to improve so many areas like focus and self-control all while being physically active and having fun.

I think my favorite part of this program is that they make this so much more than the classes that you attend at the dojo each week. They make such an effort to involve the entire family, we love the in house tournaments, promotion nights, kids movie nights, and much more. The other mom's and I even got to join in the class with them this morning in honor of Mother's Day for a pink belt, I'm not sure which one of us had more fun!

Sharon O'Brien reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Both my son and daughter have been doing Judo at Pedro’s for just over a year and I would highly recommend their program. Not only do they focus on physical fitness but also building confidence in the kids. My son thrives on the physical challenges of Judo and is always excited and proud of himself when he masters a new technique. He often comes off the mat after class and asks me if he can stay for the next class!! My daughter is 6 years old and has hearing loss and I enrolled her at Pedro’s with the hope of boosting her self confidence. I couldn’t be happier with the progress she’s made (both on and off the mat!) over the last year at Pedro’s. The Sensei’s are firm but kind and really bring out the best in the kids. I was so proud to see my daughter raise her hand fearlessly and ask the police officer a question during a recent visit from WPD at the Dojo!! Thank you everyone at Pedro’s!!!

Michelle Bradbury Wilkins reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

My 3year old and 4year old love it. I love their ability to focus and to listen more. Great place for kids!

Maria Koutny reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Went for a child birthday party and my daughter had a blast! Good people

Anthony Hewitt reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Great training with great people! Thanks for the hospitality everyone!

Amy Mirasolo reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Pedro's is an amazing place for kids to grow and learn. It is not just about athleticism and strength in the dojo, but they build character, confidence and discipline. These men and women are exceptional role models and have helped shape our son to an amazing young man. The expectations/behaviors go far beyond the walls of Pedro's and we couldn't be happier with our experience!

Don Werner reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

My grandaughter has gone from very shy to much more outgoing and confident. Very knowledgeable caring staff that get results. Thank you

Stephan Kelly O'Sullivan reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

We have been members at Pedro's Judo Center for 9 years and I cannot emphasize more how beneficial the training for my daughters has been. My eldest was the first to start and within several months I was amazed at the level of change in her confidence. The effect was both personal and athletic. I decided to enroll my younger daughter and the effect was even quicker. From the ceiling of the Judo Center hang 4 signs. The signs are emblazoned with the words CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, RESPECT and DISCIPLINE. The instructors at Pedro's do a great job of stressing these values to their students. If you admire these values as much as I do, you should bring your children to Pedro's Judo. My elder daughter emphasized to me the old saying that, "The family that plays together...stays together." so I enrolled myself. The decision to enroll my family at Pedro's Judo is one of the best i've ever made!

Derek Tc Richardson reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

Technical tough competitors. Lots of experience on this mat. If you want to get in shape and learn from the best, this is the place.

Mary Jane Sullivan reviewed Pedro's Judo Center
5
via Facebook

What a fun place for a birthday party for kids. Very clean with a separate space for food and cake. Ms. Allie kept all the kids engaged with fun games and music. Most certainly they slept well that night. Clean bathrooms and comfortably cool.
I would give them 5 stars!

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DOPAMINE: The Key to Increased Motivation and Focus in Children and Teens

Have you ever wondered why children and teens seem to be so addicted to their smart phones and other devices? Parents are frustrated with their children’s lack of attention and motivation but what do their devices have to do with this? The answer is found in science!

Often referred to as the “motivator molecule,” dopamine is a “feel good” chemical that is released in the brain which helps us focus and feel motivated. When dopamine levels are low, it can result in symptoms such as difficulty focusing, decreased motivation, trouble problem-solving, and social anxiety. Therefore, many ADHD medications target dopamine levels.

When children and teens have low dopamine levels, we often find that they spend more time on video games and smartphone apps, and some tend to be thrill seekers. These things give a boost of dopamine, which makes them feel good and then leads to them seeking out more of the same thing. This constant boost of dopamine keeps them coming back for more.

The reason is because dopamine is part of the reward pathway of the brain. When something is interesting or exciting, a surge of dopamine rushes to the brain. Much like the excitement, we feel when we are preparing for a trip or waiting for dessert, the anticipation of receiving a reward tells the brain to release dopamine. This release tells our brain that this event is worth getting more of. And so, the cycle begins.

The great thing about dopamine is that it can help modify behavior in a positive way, when done correctly. Because of the pleasure that dopamine makes us feel, we are more motivated to learn and, therefore, we retain information better. This is because the dopamine creates new neurological pathways in the brain. When we find activities that are pleasurable, we learn more from them and keep doing them.

Now that we understand the neuroscience surrounding dopamine, how can we, as parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone who works with children, use this information? We must create a learning environment that is exciting and produces the “anticipation of accomplishment.”

Our Program at Pedro’s Judo does this by teaching with the brain in mind and utilizing game-based learning. Along with this, two of the judo learning skills that are used in class are specifically designed to increase the students’ dopamine levels.

  • Trickery: The use of “trickery” as a teaching skill in class helps the students focus, which ultimately leads to better listening skills. For example, when playing a game and the students are waiting for the instructor to say “go,” the instructor can trick the students by saying “goose” or “go cart” instead. This excites the students but also motivates them to listen better and, therefore, be more focused.
  • Intrinsic Motivation: The use of “intrinsic motivation” in class helps the students become more motivated, which leads to more confidence. For example, to get students more motivated from within, the instructor can say “You only have to do 5 pushups but if you want to be a Black Belt do 10 pushups, if you want to be a master do 5 pushups, but if you want to make me and your parents proud and show you are the best student, do 20 pushups.”

By utilizing these techniques, students get a rush of dopamine because they anticipate the events in class, stay focused, listen better, and are motivated to do their best. They feel good in class and they come back wanting more!