Local martial arts instructor and student become world champions at global tournament in UK

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AUGUSTA, Georgia (WJBF) – A local martial arts instructor celebrates a big win with one of his students.

Saint Abia Williams, owner of Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing, and his student, Zion Sowell, traveled to Wells, UK to compete in a global tournament.

Digital WJBF sits down with Abia and Zion about their time abroad and their martial arts debut.


Abia, how was your school, the Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing, born?

It all started with my dad, who was from Alabama, and he introduced me to 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 the leadership qualities and discipline aspect of martial arts. So I started the business and started helping children, and that was my main focus, which was to help children, especially with leadership and discipline skills.

Abia, was martial arts something you wanted to do, or was it something you grew up in?

I didn’t want to do it. My thing was basketball, football and all that. But with my dad and mom saying it’s going to help you in the long run because martial arts is a way of life, it pushed me and I stuck with it. I started when I was 10, so I stuck with it. It literally drove me far.

Sion, how did you get there 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 school. And I went from there.

Zion, was that something you wanted to do, or did your grandma say, ‘No, you did that’?

Yeah, my dad picked me up and sat me in there. (Laughs)

Zion, what’s your belt in martial arts?

I am a purple belt. I took a break between the two when I was 11 and came back in 2020.

What was the name of the tournament you participated in in Wells, UK?

The name of the tournament is WKUWhich means World Kickboxing Unionwhich is part of World Combat Sports Organization. Every year they organize a world championship. This year, more than 46 other countries participated in this event. With that, it becomes like our Olympics. We go out there and compete, and we were both on the US national team. We have played against many teams including Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Scotland, China, Ghana, etc. There were a lot of different countries there, and they had this big event at the end of every year. We were lucky to be from this region to be chosen to compete.

You each have a total of 4 medals. Explain each metal and what it represents.

Abi: 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 to be placed in that golden round to become 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.

If we: My first medal came from the 75 kg individual, and I won. The second came from team fights. The team and I won, and we won the second.

Sadly, we recently mourned the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. How was the atmosphere there?

I guess you could say people were always trying to move on and start fresh with different things they were trying to put together. Went around the same time they were voting to try and get a prime minister in as well. So just being there and understanding their culture was something new and exciting to learn. With this, they change a lot with their money, which is the British pound. So it was something clean and new, and of course I keep some of the money because it has the Queen on it. (Laughs)

Zion, as an African American teenager, how important is martial arts to you and the community?

Martial arts are important to me because they have changed me a lot. It helped me become a better person, and it helped me stay in shape. It helped me stay out of trouble. I appreciate.

Abia, being a black man, what is the importance of martial arts for young people and the community?

It is really important once you are under the right organization. With me, I seek discipline and respect. With the teenagers we say are our future, they need some kind of guidance and foundation, especially when it comes to respect and discipline. For me, getting involved in martial arts has changed me in a lot of different ways. 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 someone wants to get involved in Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing, how can they do it?

You can start on social media at HybridCSRA or you can go to our website: www.hybridsportkarate.com

When do you offer lessons at Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing?

We have classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. With the Petits Champions, which are aimed at 4-6 year olds, we start at 5:30 p.m. For ages 7 and up, we start at 6 p.m. For the fitness class, from 6:45 p.m. train, and we also have spaces for children. Right now, we’re running a special for the month. For kids it’s only $80/month for those 3 classes, and for our fitness classes we’ll make $25/month, which you can’t beat because we love giving back to the community, especially in these days. I would love to see more kids involved and different stuff like that.

Williams Hybrid Sport Karate and Kickboxing is located at 1824 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta, Georgia.

Congratulations again to the world champions, Saint Abia Williams and Zion Sowell!

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