Europe is making a substantial impact on sport karate in the United States, and Irish fighter Dean Barry is part of it.

Dean Barry appears a quiet, reserved Irish guy and then you start to talk to him, and you realize he’s f’n hilarious. Warning parents, he’s from Ireland, so he drops a lot of f-bombs.

Barry is one of a growing contingent of European fighters who have been picked up by a primarily American team. He recently joined Team Amerikick, and he’s thrilled. More competition in the United States means he gets closer to his dream of more recognition and dominating in sport karate tournaments. His 2017 goal is the Irish Open Grand Championship title, and that is quite a lofty one.

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Barry started martial arts at age 12 because he was a little overweight and his mom wanted him to do a physical sport. They had heard good things about the local Irish martial arts club called Tallaght Martial Arts, owned by Dave Heffernan. He joined and Barry’s martial arts career began. He started competing in local competitions soon after starting in martial arts and fell in love with the sport.

Martial arts training in much of Europe is different than in North America. Much of the Irish training is in “clubs” rather than schools. For many of the clubs, the students do not learn a particular style of martial arts. Instead, they train in a particular field, such as point sparring. For Barry, he started training in point fighting and has excelled in that discipline. He does not train in forms or weapons as part of his style. His training and fighting are like “a game of chess” and he focuses on strategy and technique to improve his point fighting style.

Barry’s inspiration is fellow Irish fighter Robbie McMenamy, who has been his idol since childhood. His toughest opponent is top ranked heavyweight fighter Zsolt Moradi. He has yet to defeat Moradi in the ring and beating Moradi is high on Barry’s list of competition goals. He envisions his “dream team” for sparring as himself, Robbie McMenamy, Zsolt Moradi and Evelyn Neyens of Belgium.

Besides martial arts, Barry enjoys playing soccer and is really good at it, but he’s walked away from soccer to focus on point fighting. He’s also been training a bit in MMA fighting in Connor McGregor’s gym and may try to make the leap to that style of fighting. Whether he is weight training, working on his ground game or just hanging out, Barry “lives and breathes martial arts”.

His dedication is paying off as he will have more chances to fight in the United States with his new team, Amerikick. What advice does he have for competitors getting into martial arts competition? “Find something or someone that motivates you and use that as energy. Turn up at the gym and be a blank canvas. Learn to enjoy the journey and just be yourself, be your own fighter and have your own style. Set yourself a goal and chase it.”

Dean Barry has been chasing martial arts goals since age 12 and is catching some in 2016. is the largest media outlet for open sport karate tournament news and information. Over a quarter of a million people turn to’s online news, live streams, photos and social media to keep up-to-date on the dynamic sport of open martial arts competition. – We Love This Sport! 

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