Hamilton, Williams earn black belts

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NATCHEZ — Don’t mess with Tyler Williams and Jacob Hamilton.

June 21 and 22, both traveled to Murphysboro, Ill. and earned their first-degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do.

For both Hamilton and Williams, earning their black belts was the culmination of years of hard work.

Email newsletter signup

“It means a lot,” Hamilton, 11, said. “It means I’ve worked hard, I’ve come to a lot of practices and I’ve tried as hard as I can.”

Williams said earning his first-degree black belt was six years in the making.

“It’s been a major goal of mine ever since I was young,” Williams said. “I’ve wanted to do this ever since I was young. It’s really made me respect myself even more.”

Ken Rogers, who is Hamilton and Williams’ instructor at the Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts and Fitness Center, said Hamilton is the youngest black belt he’s ever had. He went onto say that only one out of ever 10,000 get their black belts, in part because of a high drop-out rate, but also because of the dedication required to earn belts.

“It’s not easy,” Rogers said. “It takes a lot of practice.”

While the first few belts take several months to earn, the further along you progress, the longer the training period is to earn the next belt.

In order to earn their belts, the two self-proclaimed best friends had to pass a series of tests that included basic skills, 11 required combos, 26 one-step sparring techniques and free-sparring.

Tyler said Jacob may be young, but his skills are precise beyond his years.

“He basically can kick very hard like me, but he’s very sharp,” Williams said. “He may be young, but he’s very sharp on his form and technique.

“Every time he kicks you’ll hear a snap. He’s sharper than me.”

To Jacob, Tyler’s strength is what stands out most.

Although karate may seem like it’s all about fighting, that’s not the case.

Williams said not only do you have to be tough while practicing Moo Sul Kwan, you also must have discipline in all aspects of your life.

“You have to practice your discipline both here and at home,” Williams said. “If you have trouble with grades (instructor Ken Rogers) will know.”

Last summer, both Williams and Hamilton participated in the Moo Sul Kwan Summer Invitational in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Hamilton placed first in form and second in sparing, while Hamilton placed second in both categories.

“We had to do sparing and form,” Williams said. “Form is practicing your strength and kicking — something to help you with your fighting skills.”

While in Natchez, both Williams and Hamilton hone their skills at the Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts and Fitness Center under the direction Rogers.