An unfortunate experience led Achilles Williams to start boxing as a youth. “In 1962 some people took my shoes in Washington D.C. My sister took me to the gym, and she said we can’t have that,” he said. His sister introduced him to a boxing trainer named “Football.” He became a father figure to Williams in an environment where seven out of 10 people knew how to box. From that experience, Williams became one of the Golden Gloves’ highest-level amateurs.
Williams does not train just anyone, he said. He does not train bullies or people that like to boast. He offers training to men who are humble and respectful to others.
“The first thing I push my students to do is get in shape physically. They have to start running, start doing sit-ups, and work on footwork and hand foot coordination” he said.
He emphasized that boxing can be a positive outlet for at-risk youth. “I think boxing is one way to get them off the streets and bring them to a strong family structure. It can keep them out of trouble and be a potential career for them,” he said.
“Once you harness your agression, you
move to a more calm level
Antoine Brown, a trainee of Williams, explains the fundamentals of boxing. He said, “First and foremost it teaches one discipline, and it forces you to focus on different part of your body that you usually don’t focus on like your footwork, which is the basics of boxing. Without your feet being firmly placed up under you and knowing how to move properly on them then you become useless.”
Consistency is important when it comes to training, he said. “Training is like anything else. If you don’t make it repetitious then nothing of the boxing aspects that you learn becomes second nature to you. Everything would have been in vain,” said Brown.
Perry “Spike” Simpson, one of the men Williams trained, explains why he trains.
“First and foremost I train to stay healthy; second it works towards my development of skills to be efficient as possible.”
COPING WITH PRISON
He says training helps him cope with his incarceration. “Training helps to relieve a little stress,” said Simpson. “Once you harness your aggression, you move to a more calm level of open mindedness. To get there you have to relieve negative stress. Breathing and balance is important. You cannot live to your full potential if your mind is not at peace.”
He also says that he will use his training honorably. “Boxing is a sport. I have found that the more I get better at my craft the calmer I become. I’ve been bestowed the responsibility to choose to do good with the skills I’ve learned from the man that trained me. He said he would never train a bully. I will take that with me and pass it down to people. If the teacher is positive, the student will be positive and do positive things. My intent is to be positive and pass it on to the kids.