“Rolling Reverend” combines God, Jiu Jitsu to keep kids off the streets

While he uses his strength and leverage to lock down his opponents, Kyle Watkins says he has something even better on his side, a higher power.

News 12 Staff

May 29, 2019, 1:55 PM

Updated 1,853 days ago

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A Patchogue man is making a difference in the lives of young children by combining God and Jiu Jitsu to get kids off the streets and into a more positive environment.
Kyle Watkins is the "Rollin' Reverend," and rolls with his opponents on the mat at Peak Jiu Jitsu in Patchogue.
Watkins is a two-time world champion Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, winning the prestigious titles back to back in both 2017 and 2018.
While he uses his strength and leverage to lock down his opponents, Watkins says he has something even better on his side, a higher power.
Watkins is also the pastor of Axis Church in Patchogue.

Not only does he deliver his sermon, but he and his congregation deliver donations to those who are underprivileged in the community.
Watkins says he wasn't always committed to God. When he was 15 years old and living in Brentwood, he was initiated into a gang called the "Brooklyn Queens Murder Unit," an offshoot of the Bloods street gang, he says.
However, one day, he says his mom forced him to go to church and that's when his whole life changed for the better.
Now at 33 years old, Watkins coaches at-risk kids at the Boys & Girls Club in Bellport.

Watkins says he hopes to teach the kids to defend themselves so that they can succeed on the mat and in life.


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