In 1992 a friend, Paul Zadro – Australian President & NSW Operations Manager of ISKA (International Sport Karate Association) – asked me to step up, in a one-off, friendly match against a USA visiting team, and my opponent was to be ISKA World Heavyweight Champion, Tony ‘Satch’ Williams. I didn’t know Satch and only met him a few moments before the competition. I was wearing a hoody over my gi, and on the front of the hoody were two words, ‘KICK BUTT’… After shaking my hand, Satch leaned closer and, pointing at the writing, said quietly in a deep American drawl, “Are we gonna to get it on, then… my man?”
14 years previously, in 1978 in Scotland, after 5 years of national/international tournament fighting, I had first retired. Moving to Australia, I made a brief return to the tournament scene, representing NSW State from 1982-85.
So, there I was in 1992 – at 42 years of age and having been retired, the second time around, for 7 years – in an accumulative scoring, continuous fighting, controlled contact, 3 minute round contest with ISKA World Champion ‘Satch’ Williams, who was in his prime and at the top of his game.
I only met Satch that one time; he was a very nice young man and we hit it off (pardon the pun) right from the get go. That night, after the fight, we had dinner with Paul Zadro and his family and another of Satch’s team mates; and we had a really good time.
Had things been different we might have continued on to be really good friends, but as things happen – we were travelling in different directions and in different countries – we lost contact and, although I thought about him from time to time, we never met again.
Just a few weeks ago, I came across a very old video tape with bits and pieces of stuff on it from the 1980s and 90s and managed to get it made into a DVD. Low and behold, there was an accumulative scoring, 3 minute round of me versus Tony ‘Satch Williams. Long story short, I called Paul Zadro to ask if perhaps he had Satch’s contact details.
Paul told me that Tony ‘Satch’ Williams – ISKA, USA and World, Champion during the 1980s and 90s and who was in several martial arts movies during that period, including some of the early Jean-Claude Van Damme movies – Sadly, in 2011, at only 50 years of age, had died of a heart attack.
I know that this may seem a little late in the day, and had I known sooner I would have paid my respects sooner. To Satch’s family and friends, I’d just like to express my belated condolences. I didn’t know him well, or for very long, but the nature of our meeting was such that there is an intimacy shared by combatants and fellow karateka. R.I.P Antony ‘Satch’ Williams.