AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local martial arts instructor is celebrating a big win along with one of his students.
Saint Abia Williams, owner of Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing, and his student, Zion Sowell traveled to Wells, United Kingdom to compete in a Global Tournament.
WJBF Digital sits down with Abia and Zion about their time overseas and their beginnings in martial arts.
Abia, how did your school, the Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing, start?
It started with my father, who was originally from Alabama, and he started me in karate over 20 years ago. When I became a Black belt and started competing, I wanted to give back to a lot of kids and show them different avenues and different ways including leadership qualities and the discipline aspect of martial arts. So, I started the business and began to help kids, and that was my main focus, which was helping the kids out, especially with leadership and discipline skills.
Abia, was martial arts something you wanted to do, or was it something you grew into?
I didn’t want to do it. My thing was basketball, football, and all of that. But with my father and my mother saying this is going to help you along the way long term because martial arts is a way of life, it grew on me, and I stuck with it. I started at the age of 10, so I kind of stuck with it. It has literally led me a long way.
Zion, how did you get started with martial arts?
I started when I was 7, and my grandma knew him [Williams] from Alabama. She told my dad, and my dad took me to the school. And I started from there.
Zion, was this something you wanted to do, or was your Grandma like, ‘Naw, you doing this.’?
Yeah, one my dad picked me up and sat me down in there. (Laughs)
Zion, what is your belt in martial arts?
I am a purple belt. I took a break in between when I was 11-years-old, and I came back in 2020.
What was the name of the tournament that you went to in Wells, United Kingdom?
The name of the tournament is WKU, which stands for World Kickboxing Union, which is a part of the Global Combat Sports Organization. Every year, they have a world championship. This year, there were over 46 other countries that participated in this event. With that, it becomes like our Olympics. We go over there and compete, and we were both on the U.S. national team. We competed against a lot of teams including Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Scotland, China, Ghana, etc. There were a lot of different countries there, and they put on this big event at the end of every year. We were fortunate enough being from this area to be chosen to actually go and compete.
You each have a total of 4 medals. Explain each metal and what they stand for.
Abia: One of my medals is for my individual performance. I competed in the light heavyweight division. Mine was for my overall individual performance. I had 6 fights that I had to win in order to be placed in that gold-winning round to become a World Champion. I ended up winning mine, and I got my medal. The second medal is for a team event. We compete with our team to see who can actually win in different rounds, and we ended up winning.
Zion: My first medal came from the 75-kilogram individual, and I won. The second came from team fighting. The team and I won, and we won the second one.
Sadly, the world recently mourned the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. How was the atmosphere while you were over there?
I guess you could say people were still trying to move on and trying to start anew and afresh with different things that were trying to put in place. We went around the same time when they were voting to try to get a Prime Minister in as well. So, just being over there and understanding their culture was something new and exciting to learn. With that, they are changing a lot of things with their money, which is British Pounds. So, it was something neat and new, and of course, I’m keeping some of the money because it has the Queen on there. (Laughs)
Zion, as an African-American teenage male, how important is martial arts to you and to the community?
Martial arts is important to me because it changed me a lot. It helped me to become a better person, and it helped me to stay in shape. It helped me stay out of trouble. I enjoy it.
Abia, being a Black man, how important is martial arts to the youth and the community?
It is really important once you get under the right organization. With me, I strive for discipline and respect. With teens that we are saying are our future, they need some type of guidance and foundation, especially dealing with respect and discipline. For me, getting involved in martial arts changed me in a lot of different things. It helped me become a better man because it made me a leader and it disciplined me. It also helped me to have a lot of respect for a lot of different things and people. It helped a lot.
If anyone wants to get involved with Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing, how can they do so?
You can start on social media at HybridCSRA or you can go to our website: www.hybridsportkarate.com
When do you offer classes at Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing?
We have classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. With the Little Champions, which is for ages 4-6, we start at 5:30 P.M. For ages 7 and up, we start at 6 P.M. For the fitness class, starts at 6:45 P.M. We have three different areas for people to work out in, and we have areas also for the kids. Right now, we are running a special for the month. For the kids, it is only $80/month for those 3 classes, and for our fitness classes, we are going to do $25/month, which you cannot beat because we like giving back to the community, especially during these times. I’d like to see more kids involved and different stuff like that.
Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing is located at 1824 Wylds Road in Augusta, Georgia.
Congratulations again to the World Champions, Saint Abia Williams and Zion Sowell!