Suffolk’s first Shihan Dai: Williams Goings becomes school’s first assistant master instructor

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 4, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

No matter where Jeff Bateman has taught karate in Suffolk, William Goings has always been right there with him.

&uot;When I was six, a friend of mine asked me to come to the (Brooks) Racket Club to try karate,&uot; he remembers. &uot;I stayed – he didn’t.&uot; Back then, however, the youth had no idea how long he’d stick around.

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Bateman’s school moved to the Nansemond Suffolk Rescue Squad building, the corner of Bank and Main Street, and West Washington Street before finding its permanent residence at 1154 Portsmouth Blvd. in 1995. But Goings kept coming.

&uot;I was kind of a rough kid,&uot; he laughs. &uot;I backtalked a little. I was the type of kid who thought that I could get away with anything. My parents kept me in karate to help with that, and to keep my grades up. It kept me on the honor roll.&uot; Bateman’s school requires a C-average, with offenders forbidden from testing for belts.

&uot;A lot of kids that play baseball or soccer get maybe one trophy every season,&uot; says Goings. &uot;But month after month, I was going to tournaments and winning trophies, medals, everything.&uot; Goings and his accomplishments became a permanent sight around the studio; not only was he one of the most consistent participants, but news clippings describing his work started to pop up all over the walls.

As his belts changed from white to orange and eventually to green and brown, Goings’ responsibilities also increased. He started assisting Bateman in instruction, and traveled with the school to show his work to karate fans and senseis (instructors) in Florida, Minnesota, Tennessee and Ohio. In 1992, Goings received his black belt. At the age of 12, he was the youngest in the studio’s short history (the record has since been broken, and is now held by Bateman’s stepson Jeremy Hall, who nabbed the honor at the age of eight). At 15, he moved to second-degree black belt, still the school’s youngest to reach that achievement.

Three years ago, Goings, Hall, Hall’s mother Susan and sensei Dan Haber were inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Later that year, Goings and several other students and instructors from the school went to Japan.

&uot;William is what I look for in a student,&uot; Bateman says. &uot;When kids get to be 16 or 17, they get their driver’s licenses, they start working and letting other things get in their way.&uot; Goings didn’t; he graduated from Nansemond River High School in 1997, and is now a marketing manager at Food Lion.

But he’s far from through making history at Bateman’s place. On Dec. 13, Goings, now a third-degree black belt, was promoted to the tribute of Shihan Dai, something of an assistant master instructor who teaches potential teachers. He’s the first student at the school to receive the honor.

&uot;When I’m not here,&uot; Bateman says, &uot;this is William’s place. He’s my right-hand man.&uot; Over the past year, Goings has been one of the school’s most prevalent instructors, often overseeing belt tests and working with students of all ages.

Incidentally (and perhaps ironically), instructing Suffolk’s youth has taught Goings quite a bit about the parental role that teachers play. &uot;I used to not like working with kids,&uot; he admits. &uot;I didn’t have very good patience. When you have a bunch of 10-year-olds wandering around, their attention span isn’t there. But working here has taught me a lot of patience.&uot;

Later on this year, Goings hopes to take his teachings home; he and his wife Christy, who were married last September, plan to embark on parenthood.