Ashley Hill is ready to give back to her community and get involved
with the future athletes of Port Washington.
Port Washington Karate Champion Ashley Hill has recently been inducted into the Karate Hall of Fame. Hill has won numerous championships throughout her memorable karate career and participated in the 2019 Pan American Games.
Hill’s father, Tokey Hill, was the first American to win the World Karate Federation World Championship in 1980. Tokey Hill’s incredible competition and coaching career have inspired many karate athletes, including his daughters.
The Tokey Hill Martial Arts Club, located at 95 Seaview Ave. in Port Washington, was like a second home to Hill.
“I have been at [the dojo] since I was in diapers,” said Hill. “I started taking karate classes at four years old, and from 10 years old, I was a national champion. At 12 years old, I was eligible to make the United States Karate Team, and I did.”
Hill has been on the U.S.A Karate Team for 19 years, and has a 30-year karate career under her belt. Looking back on her competitive career, she fondly remembers winning her first world medal in Montenegro.
“They had just changed the rules on scoring points, and they added an extra minute to the time, it went from two minutes of fight time to three minutes of fight time,” Hill recalled. “It was ridiculously hard, and it was a big jump for the fighters. I ended up taking a bronze medal, and the coolest part was that my dad awarded me the medal.”
Earning the incredible achievement of being inducted into the Karate Hall of Fame was a humbling and honorable experience for Hill to include in her karate career.
“I felt proud to be inducted,” said Hill. “A lot of hard work went into my career, and it was a really great way to close that chapter of competition for me.”
Along with Hill being inducted, two other Port Washington residents from the same dojo were also inducted.
Hill’s father became the head coach of Team U.S.A, and from there, he dedicated his life to developing athletes. Tokey Hill is from Ohio but has dojos across the country, where he has created many karate champions.
“Two of the champions from my dad’s Port Washington dojo, one of them being Port’s Christina Muccini, were inducted alongside me,” said Hill. “My dad is already in the Hall of Fame, so having all four of us Port residents being inducted is an insane accomplishment.”
“Since karate had just been included in the Olympics in the 2021 games, people were being honored as pioneers in getting karate into the Olympics,” said Hill. “And they honored my dad as being a pioneer.”
The talent and skill Hill has worked so hard for through karate has transferred over to other forms of work. Hill has been acting since she was little, and as she grew up she began working as a stunt person. She has been featured in shows such as SNL, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Outer Banks, and Marvel’s The Punisher.
“The Punisher for Marvel was one of the hardest stunt jobs,” said Hill. “I would be on set Monday through Friday; then I’d fly for a competition over the weekend and come back to set by Monday.” A lot of Hill’s stunt work took place during her competition career, for example the stunts for season one of Outer Banks were filmed during her competative journey.
Hill’s intense and successful competition career, supported by her father, led her to the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame and, with that, retirement from competition.
“When I retired, I didn’t know how to feel about it,” said Hill. “My whole life has been regimented and disciplined. But once I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, I felt a sense of relief, like I accomplished what I needed to do, and I did what I wanted to do.”
Now that Hill has closed the competition chapter of her career, she is looking forward to giving back to her community and sport.
“I’m looking into and working on developing karate programming for kids,” said Hill. “I want to teach kids karate and give back to the sport that gave so much to me.”
“Anyone can benefit from karate. It has character-building blocks; it instills discipline, respect and self-esteem into individuals,” said Hill. “It is a unique sport, and everything is about technique and precision.”
Hill is now working with her dad to develop karate programs for children and adults to launch worldwide in the future.
Tokey Hill and his Port Washington dojo have cultivated many successful and dedicated athletes, such as Ashley and Muccini.
“We always stay to our roots,” said Hill. “Even if we branch out from karate, we always want to give back. Muccini still teaches, my dad still develops athletes and now it’s my turn to get involved.”
“There were many people who have contributed to the success of my career,” said Hill. “I could not have done it without their support. To my family, coaches, Team Tokey Hill, Rich and Richie L’Esperance, friends and the town of Port Washington, thank you for believing in me. “
“The induction into the Hall of Fame made me feel like it did it,” said Hill. “And I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”