Petersburg dojo goes above and beyond for their students

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - The Wayne Dean dojo in Petersburg is more than just a place to learn karate and self-defense. It’s a place where leaders are made and respect is a must.

“We have to embed those manners for school, for life, to get a job,” Lisa Dean, one of the dojo owners said.

Lisa and Wayne Dean have decades of experience teaching karate. For years they’ve rented space at local churches and gyms, but at the height of the pandemic these sites started to close, and the pair wanted their own space.

When they opened up, Needra Sellers and her son Darius walked in.

“Darius has learned self-discipline he has learned so many fun, new and exciting moves that he wants to try on mom,” Sellers said. Lisa Dean says she’s seen major growth out of the young man.

“He was our first student when we opened up the business here. Darius is so sweet, he was a little shy, bashful young man, scared to do certain things here,” said Dean. “Now, Darius is the first one to raise his hand, the first one to spar with somebody and if you ask him to do self-defense, Darius is on top of it.”

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

”Questions that I may have as far as raising a child, they help with that,” said Sellers. “He’s a ‘yes ma’am, no ma’am’ person now, a lot of stuff that I may slack on they pick up,” she continues. “If he’s having a hard time at school and it is something I don’t understand, or I’m working, they fill in the gaps.”.

Those intangibles make Sensei Wayne and Lisa feel like family.

”A lot of us love them dearly, the parents, the students, everybody loves them. Darius is talking about going out to eat with Ms. Dean,” said Sellers.

That loving bond is just one of the many reasons why Needra wanted to reward Wayne and Lisa with the NBC12 Acts of Kindness.

$300 dollars in cash and a $50 dollar gift card to Mexico Restaurant is just a small show of appreciation for two people who are making a difference in the community, one student at a time.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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