St. Petersburg dojo goes above and beyond for its students


PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) – The Wayne Dean Dojo in Petersburg is more than just a place to learn karate and self-defense. It is a place where leaders are made and respect is a must.

“We have to integrate these ways for school, for life, for finding a job,” said Lisa Dean, one of the owners of the dojo.

Lisa and Wayne Dean have decades of experience teaching karate. For years, they rented spaces at local churches and gymnasiums, but at the height of the pandemic those sites started closing and the couple wanted their own space.

When they opened, Needra Sellers and her son Darius entered.

“Darius has learned self-discipline, he’s learned so many fun, new and exciting moves he wants to try Mom,” Sellers said. Lisa Dean says she has seen significant growth in the young man.

“He was our first student when we opened the business here. Darius is so nice, he was a shy, shy little young man who was afraid to do certain things here, ”Dean said. “Now Darius is the first to raise his hand, the first to train with someone and if you ask him to do self defense, Darius is on top.”

For Sellers, a working mother, the dojo has been her saving grace. She says they work according to her busy schedule to make sure Darius gets his training, that they help him with his homework and more.

“Any questions I may have about raising a child, they help me,” Sellers said. “He’s a ‘yes ma’am, no ma’am’ person now, a lot of things I can relax on, they’re picking up,” she continues. “If he’s having trouble in school and it’s something I don’t understand, or if I’m working, they fill in the gaps.

These intangibles make Sensei Wayne and Lisa feel like family.

“Many of us love them very much, parents, students, everyone loves them. Darius is talking about going out to eat with Ms. Dean, ”Sellers said.

This bond of love is just one of the many reasons Needra wanted to reward Wayne and Lisa with NBC12 acts of kindness.

$ 300 in cash and a $ 50 Mexico restaurant gift card is just a little show of appreciation for two people making a difference in the community, one student at a time.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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