The Karate Kid

Wil­liams Jr. seeks another ac­co­lade to put un­der his black belt

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHAKEEM HOL­LOWAY shol­loway@cov­

The 16 fights, that was pretty amaz­ing. Some­times I was stum­bling back to the line, but I al­ways kept go­ing. I al­ways kept go­ing. I made it to the cham­pi­onship that was my first in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship from the na­tional black­belt league.

— Micah Wil­liams Jr.

Se­nior at Al­covy

T here’s al­ways some­thing spe­cial about your first love. You never for­get that first one – whether it lasts or not. Micah Wil­liams Jr.’s first love was bas­ket­ball. He even played for New­ton High School for a while be­fore trans­fer­ring over to Al­covy.

Wil­liams Jr.’s pas­sion now, how­ever, is karate, and he’s re­ally good at it. He’s not let­ting go of bas­ket­ball com­pletely – he plans on try­ing out for Al­covy, as a se­nior this year, but karate has con­sumed Wil­liams Jr.’s life for the past five years.

“One thing I feel that makes me spe­cial is that when I first started karate I never thought I’d be this good,” Wil­liams Jr. said. “I worked way hard. If you ask any­body that works out with us, I’m one of the hard­est work­ing [peo­ple].”

“I al­ways told him if he did wanna play bas­ket­ball he would scale back off his karate. I didn’t want him to suf­fer a jammed an­kle when he was play­ing point guard on the team. Karate took a back­seat at that time,” Micah Wil­liams Sr. said.

Wil­liams Jr. com­petes as a mid­dleweight (154 pounds and un­der). Wil­liams Jr. has been around karate pretty much his en­tire life, as his fa­ther Wil­liams Sr. teaches at MBS Karate.

“Af­ter ev­ery fight there’s al­ways feed­back and that’s ma­jor ad­vice,” Wil­liams Jr. said. “We work out a lot out­side of the dojo. I feel if you’re not work­ing out some­body’s al­ways work­ing out ahead of you. I don’t want them to get ahead of me so I feel like I al­ways have to work out.”

“My fight­ing style is very fast and ag­gres­sive – that’s how I was taught. I was taught to al­ways move for­ward on ev­ery­thing I did.”

Wil­liams Jr. is a to­tal gym-rat, or dojo-rat in this case, as he spends about six days a week work­ing out when school is out. He scales back to about four or five days a week dur­ing school de­pend­ing on his work­load and whether he has a com­pe­ti­tion on the week­end or not.

In the past five years, Wil­liams Jr. has notched many ac­com­plish­ments in­clud­ing earn­ing his black belt just a cou­ple of months ago on June 17. One ti­tle al­luded Wil­liams Jr. for some time – a Na­tional Black­belt League cham­pi­onship – that is un­til last year.

Wil­liams Jr. was able to ac­com­plish a goal he had been striv­ing to reach for al­most three years, but it was not with­out ad­ver­sity. Wil­liams Jr. com­peted in the black belt divi­sion as a brown belt. Be­fore a rule change in 2011, un­der-belts weren’t al­lowed to com­pete in the black belt divi­sion, and Wil­liams Jr. has been com­pet­ing in the event ever since.

To win it, Wil­liams Jr. had to fight 16 fights in one day in a spe­cific time frame.

“That was prob­a­bly one of the most dra­matic and awe­some ex­pe­ri­ences that I’ve ever had in my karate ca­reer,” Wil­liams Jr. said. “The 16 fights, that was pretty amaz­ing. Some­times I was stum­bling back to the line, but I al­ways kept go­ing. I al­ways kept go­ing. I made it to the cham­pi­onship that was my first in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship from the na­tional black­belt league.”

“That was pretty re­mark­able, the jour­ney on that one be­cause he ac­tu­ally in one day he fought 16 fights prob­a­bly in a scat­tered time frame and won them all,” Wil­liams Sr. said. “That was a jour­ney be­cause he had been try­ing for that spe­cific ti­tle for three years. That was his third year try­ing for it, so that was re­ally spe­cial to him ac­tu­ally get­ting that elu­sive ti­tle that he had been train­ing so hard for.”

With the ti­tle, Wil­liams Jr. be­came one of the first un­der­belts to win a cham­pi­onship in the na­tional black­belt league.

Wil­liams Jr. was on a roll. Just two days later he fought 12 fights con­sec­u­tively and won the Sport Karate In­ter­na­tional League (SKIL) ti­tle as well.

“The 12 fights, that was re­ally crazy too. That one, I didn’t know that I was go­ing to fight 12 fights back to back they kept calling my name up to fight 12 fights back to back. It was pretty in­ter­est­ing,” Wil­liams Jr. said. “For that one also, I ac­tu­ally won the SKIL am­a­teur cham­pi­onship four years straight.”

In March of 2014, Wil­liams Jr. started the qual­i­fy­ing process for team USA. He got first place in two dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions, al­low­ing him to con­tinue on to Detroit where he won both di­vi­sions again, and he was se­lected to com­pete for team USA in Dublin, Ire­land from Oc­to­ber 4-9.

This isn’t the first time Wil­liams Jr. has com­peted for team USA. He won a gold medal in 2012 when they com­peted in Canada, and he’s look­ing to win again in Oc­to­ber.

“Go­ing for­ward I want to win another gold medal for WKC with Mr. Plow­den. Also I want to re­tain my ti­tle as a black­belt this time,” Wil­liams Jr. said.

Wil­liams Jr. was hand-se­lected to be a mem­ber of “Team ATL.” They com­pete in tour­na­ments all over the coun­try and have fin­ished No. 2 in the world three times, as they look to get that No.1 fin­ish this year.

Team ATL com­petes against teams from around the world at the Na­tional Black­belt League Cham­pi­onships in De­cem­ber, where they fight aginst peo­ple from Gu­atemala, Mex­ico, Ire­land, Canada and more. Last year they lost in the fi­nals to a team from Cal­i­for­nia.

De­spite his many ac­com­plish­ments in karate, Wil­liams Jr. says that he com­petes be­cause it’s fun for him.

“One thing that I love that my mother says be­fore ev­ery fight – she al­ways says, ‘Go have fun.’ That’s one thing I love about fight­ing and karate in gen­eral. It’s al­ways been fun to me. If I’m not hav­ing fun I’m not gonna do it,” Wil­liams Jr. said.

“One day I’m look­ing for­ward to open­ing my own karate school. I’m cur­rently help­ing my dad teach right now, so that’s pretty cool.”

Wil­liams Sr. has watched as his son got bet­ter as time passed, and now he’s proud of the fin­ished prod­uct.

“It’s been a good thing to see him grow over the years. I think one of his big­gest things, to me that I like, is he stays hum­ble. It’s a re­flec­tion of our school and the mar­tial arts dis­ci­pline in it­self,” Wil­liams Sr. said. “Peo­ple on the out­side, they might look at some of the ac­co­lades – he’s got com­peti­tor of the year for dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions in mar­tial arts – but he puts that same ef­fort into his school work.”

Wil­liams Jr. has been on the honor roll, while jug­gling karate and bas­ket­ball. He was at­tend­ing New­ton for its academy pro­gram, and he earned the award for hav­ing the high­est GPA on the team dur­ing his fresh­man year at New­ton. Now he has a black­belt, sev­eral world ti­tles and a few gold medals to his name.

Wil­liams Sr. said, “It’s been a pretty good jour­ney.”

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

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