2 weeks ago we watched Ashley win gold at the BJJ British Open, and last week he continued his successful run with an impressive victory at the ADCC Trials in Poland.
Ashley's victory now gives him entry to the ADCC World Championships in Las Vegas next year; it doesn't get much bigger or better than that! We caught up with Ashley to talk about his astounding success...
Q. First of all congratulations Ashley, ADCC European Trials Champion! How does it feel to get through to the World Championships?
''Thank you! It was a major achievement for not just myself but my team. It's totally overwhelming to know I will not only be a part of the ADCC World Championship, but possibly the biggest event in the history of the sport.''
Q. Tell us a bit about the next stage of the competition? Where/when?
''ADCC has been my sole focus for many years now. Finally achieving the security of my spot in the Worlds means I will be looking to be as active as possible, and particularly against potential opponents I could face at the Worlds. Feeling the level and being immersed with these guys is the only way to keep myself at the top level.''
Q. How did you first get into the sport?
''I have done Jiu Jitsu since a very young age starting in Japanese Jiu Jitsu self defence due to my Father. I was fortunate to come across Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the age of 15 when Kelly, my coach at the time recommended I try out CRA in Swansea.''
Q. How often do you train?
''Currently I train 4 Jiu Jitsu sessions per week, 2x gi/2x subgrappling for approx 2-2.5 hours per session. Consisting of movement, drilling, specific sparring, sparring and troubleshooting. I also lift three times a week following a program by Grapple Machine. All of my training is done with Draig Pro Team.''
Q. What does your weekly routine look like?
''Alongside training I run my own academy alongside Chris Rees. I teach approx 4 hours per week and help run all aspects of the Academy. Coaching is actually the fun bit, running an Academy is far more than people anticipate.''
Q. Who/what inspires you to do your best every time?
''I have been very competitive over the years and love representing my team and my country. I more so compete for myself now and my small support network, consisting of my family/coaches and training partners. Two of my biggest inspirations has to be my twin brother and coach, Joshua Williams, the second is my wife Katie Williams. Without whom I genuinely do not believe I would have achieved my successes. It may be an individual sport but the outcome is that of a team effort.''
Q. How do you cope with the pressure of competing and always wanting to perform to the best of your ability?
''I get asked this pretty frequently and the truth is I still get super nervous every time I compete. I remind myself of my skill set and how hard I work. Any competitor that beats me, I hold my hands up to them as they must work very hard and deserve every success.''
Q. What are your hobbies/interests outside of the sport?
''To be honest, Jiu Jitsu is beyond a hobby or career for me; it's a lifestyle. I spend most of my time outside of the sport watching it or talking to be friends about it. I do however love spending time with my family and make sure to do so every week.''
Q. Do you have any advice for others wanting to become an athlete?
''The advice I would give to you is 'don't give up', and be consistent. There are tons of great books out there that can describe this; the one that I found the best is 'Chop Wood Carry Water'. Essentially you must know that an 'overnight success' is not reality, but one day you will become one so you have to keep the faith in yourself and those around you.''
Q. What does 2022 hold for Ashley Williams?
''I plan to be very active and represent Draig and Wales to the best of my ability. I will be in the best physical and mental form come ADCC Worlds 2022!''
We could not be more proud of Ashley here at Tatami, and we are confident that 2022 will be a very exciting year for him...
Thank you Ashley & well done!