In 1980, Tokey Hill became the first American to win the World Karate Federation World Championships, later becoming a head coach for the USA National Karate-do Federation and the United States Olympic Committee’s coach of the year in 1999 with 11 of his athletes going on to win nine medals. With years of experience as an athlete and a coach, Hill opened Tokey Hill Martial Arts school in Port Washington in 1985 with another location in Chillicothe, OH, to offer recreational and competitive martial arts training.
“After he was done competing, he decided to go into coaching,” said Hill’s daughter Ashley. “He absolutely loves to help athletes and help others succeed and accomplish their dreams, so he really took on coaching and mastered it. He is basically just for the athletes.”
The Port Washington location is managed by an athlete who trained under Hill, Christina Muccini, and Ashley, who grew up in dojos, watching her father take home medals and coach young athletes.
“I didn’t know any other life other than being around a karate school,” said Ashley. “From the time I grew up it was all karate. My dad was the coach for team USA so it was very serious. At a young age I was introduced to a very high level of training and we would have people from all over the world come to Port Washington and train at my dad’s karate school, so basically I fell in love with this sport when I started competing. I went to my first nationals and I won and from there it was just history.”
Muccini and Ashley boast multiple medals and years of training, qualifying them to offer a martial arts education to much of the north shore.
“I just know our karate school, the instructors care so much,” Ashley said. “It’s not a job to them. They were once athletes under my father and 20 years after they’ve retired, they still come back and teach. They just want to give back.”
Tokey Hill Martial Arts offers something for all ages and skill levels with two main martial arts programs being its recreational program and its competition team along with a summer camp, personal training, kickboxing classes and party packages.
Muccini explained that the recreational program offers both martial arts training and character building for ages 4 through 82, allowing them to achieve belt rank up to black belt.
“We work on the character building blocks like discipline, self-respect, respecting others, self-esteem,” said Ashley. “We help kids and adults feel good about themselves and help people accomplish their dreams whether it’s inside or outside of a dojo, making sure kids really feel good about themselves. From there, kids either want to compete or they don’t, so we also offer a competition team.”
The competition team participates in local, state, national and international competitions, working on technical and mental training throughout the year to prepare.
This year’s competition team competed at USA nationals in Reno, NV, in July and took home 11 medals. The medalists included London McKrever (Glen Cove) who took home bronze, Kuga Weber (Port) who took home a silver and gold, Jaimie Kaplan (Roslyn) who won a silver and bronze, Ethan Wadisman (Roslyn) who attained bronze, Jennifer Hitchkock (Port) who won two golds, Ashley Hill (Port) who received bronze and Matthew Arboldea (Glen Head) and Jack Marchetti (Manhasset) who came in fifth place.
“Our school is unique in the sense that we’re a family business and we take a lot of pride in our kids programs, keeping it fun yet teaching the traditional values of martial arts training being hard work, confidence building, discipline,” said Muccini. “We’re a little old school, but we modernized it and are keeping it fun for kids. I would say that this isn’t just a business for us. We want to plant seeds of the future in our students.”
To check out Tokey Hill Martial Arts’s fall program, visit www.tokeyhill.com or like its Facebook page TokeyHill. Visit www.pyasports.org. to learn about the Tokey Hill Port Washington Youth Activities program. The school is located at 95 Seaview Blvd., Port Washington.
Why Try Martial Arts?
Ashley thinks the biggest misconception about martial arts is that many people believe it’s just about fighting.
“It’s really about going at your own pace, building yourself and becoming the best version of yourself,” said Ashley.
She explained that karate is great exercise for strengthening joints, improving posture, relieving stress, meditation, self-defense and awareness. It’s both physical and mental.
“It gives you the ability to walk down the street and know you can either run away or—god forbid—you’re in a situation, you could defend yourself to the best of your ability versus not ever knowing how to throw a punch or angle out of a situation in a corner or throw a front kick to throw an attacker away,” said Ashley. “But even before you get physical with somebody, which we don’t encourage, the awareness part of karate is one of the biggest things.”