Port Washington resident Ashley Hill, daughter of the first American to win the World Karate Federation World Championships in 1980, recently secured her spot on Team USA 2020 for karate. In January, Hill competed in the team trials, earning her spot on Team USA.
Hill, 32, has been participating in the sport since she was a young child. Being around elite athletes since a young age and often looking up to her father, a karate champion, Hill has won at least 10 to 15 national championships throughout her career.
After winning two world medals, Hill decided to retire from fighting. A few years later she decided to get back into the game. Working out approximately six days a week, Hill uses a combination of different physical activities, such as hiking, technical training and strength training, to keep herself in shape.
To recover from her matches, she utilizes the salt room at Fahrenheit Physical Therapy, which helps to recover her lungs and respiratory system. She began combining yoga with the salt room, which she said has helped her recovery immensely. To prepare for her next event, Hill plans to keep incorporating yoga and continuing to cross-train in boxing in the salt room.
“[The salt room] has helped me with my training [in such a positive way],” Hill said.
Going forward, Hill’s goal is to increase her weights so she can keep up her stamina for her matches, which are each three minutes long.
Aside from her karate career, Hill also does stunt work, and has recently filmed with NBC’s The Blacklist and the Showtime drama series Billions.
“All of the action you see in the shows is me,” Hill said. “Any of the bar fights or random fight scenes throughout the show are [a stunt double].”
Last year, Hill was also the stunt double for season two of the Netflix series The Punisher. Stunt work often takes the place of Hill’s strict workout regimen, keeping her in shape and helping her to earn the money she needs to continue competing.
Gifted in acting and karate, Hill’s goal since she was 10 years old has been to have the opportunity to combine her love of martial arts and acting.
Hill has also had an extensive acting career, often doing commercials for popular brands including Powerade, Urban Outfitters, as well as an exclusive modeling contract with Willemena.
In May, Hill will be attending a Celebrity Sports Night charity event at the Vascardi Center. Located in Alberston, the organization provides opportunities for people with disabilities by offering a wide range of programs and services.
“My goal has always been to do the stunts for my own character and to use my martial arts and acting together,” Hill said. “I’ve stuck with those goals since I was 10. My next step is to be a really positive role model for kids.”
Building character is an important part of what the sport has taught Hill. In karate, there is a system called Repechage, Hill explained, which is a series of competitions that allow participants who lost a match to meet qualifying standards by fighting the winner for a spot at third place (a bronze medal).
“In karate if you lose, you have an opportunity to fight back for third place,” Hill said. “Knowing you’re going to work hard only to achieve a bronze [medal] instead of gold really builds character.”
Hill’s next venture will be to compete in a few international tournaments, with the main focus on the Pan American Championships, which takes place in Costa Rica this May. After competing, Hill hopes to continue being a stunt double in a movie or television show.
“It’s the last leg to try to make the Olympic team, so everything is focused on that,” Hill said. “The big thing is that I made Team USA 2020. That’s an accomplishment in itself this year. It’s really an honor. A special thank you to the people that have helped me out, especially my coaches Tokey Hill and Christina Muccini, Fahrenheit Physical Therapy, Liz, my family, Scooter and Eddie from CEA, Richard L’Esterante and my family for all their love and support.”