This Former NYPD Detective is a Deacon at Our Lady of Mercy and He’s Teaching Self-Defense Classes

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

The Holy Spirit powers his kicks, and faith fuels the force of his strikes. Deacon Dean Dobbins says when it comes to self-defense, you can never be too prepared.”You never know what perpetrator might be coming at you, you never know, especially in times like this, the cities are out of control right now,” he said.

The permanent deacon at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Forest Hills, is also a former NYPD detective and 8th degree black belt – who knows just how dangerous the streets of New York City have become.

“The violence rate is up so high, people are getting pushed into subways, people are getting mugged, people are getting punched in the face, people who take martial arts would be able to defend themselves and walk away from it,” said Deacon Dean.

While the NYPD doesn’t keep statistics on random and unprovoked attacks, so far in the first four months of 2023 there have been 7,884 felony assaults and 12,607 misdemeanor assaults, that’s more than the number of assaults in the entirety of 2022.

At Deacon Dean’s dojo, the Okinawan Karate Do of New York, he welcomes people from all walks of life to come in and to learn the discipline and inner strength it takes to stay safe on the streets.

Destin Cava is a seventh grader at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy. Since he and his cousin Solmarie Navas started taking karate lessons here last year, they’re more self-aware and much more confident.

“I don’t have both my headphones in, I make sure I’m careful if I walk the streets, I’m self aware.” said Destin.

“At first when I didn’t go to martial arts I was nervous, shy and wasn’t confident enough to be in school and communicate but now since I’m in martial arts I have developed, and I communicate and socialize even more,” Solmarie said.

Deacon Dean says his classes are not about fighting – but thriving.

“If I can teach my students anything it’s about respect and that martial arts can get you through a hard time, I just want to see them as better people, it helps them in school, in their faith and I just want to teach them about what’s out there,” he said.

And what’s out there better think twice.