There’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.”