Butler wins 7 gold medals

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, September 16, 2014

0916 spt-Butler, podium

Andalusia Isshinryu Karate student Allen Butler won seven gold medals at the 2014 World Martial Arts Games in Richmond, Canada. | Courtesy photo

Allen Butler found himself in a tight spot and the only thing he thought to do was smile.

“All of those years of practice were not going to go to waste and I was going to find a way to win, like all champions do,” Butler said.

Butler ended up winning that sparring event at the 2014 World Martial Arts Games, and then won gold to complete a seven-event, seven-gold outing at the Association for International Sport for All event, which was supported by the International Olympic Committee. The event was held Sept. 3-7.

“Seven events, seven gold,” Butler said.

The Team Alabama member and Andalusia Isshinryu Karate student, won gold in musical forms, musical weapons, traditional forms, traditional wooden weapons, traditional bladed weapons, creative forms and sparring.

Butler said he would’ve been happy to win just one gold medal, but winning seven was out of this world.

“It was incredible,” he said. “It was an incredible feeling, almost dream like.”

The Andalusia sophomore was one of 47 athletes competing on the United States Martial Arts Team, and one was one of nine on the Alabama team. He was the leading medalist for the USMA Team and Team Alabama.

Butler was recruited for the team by Tommy Denson, who came and scouted him at a Montgomery karate tournament about a year ago.

“I tried out once and made the team,” Butler said. “I’ve been working with them for about a year.”

In the sparring event, Butler fought for the most points by contact to the forehead, the side of the head, the chest and the ribs. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds last for 2 minutes apiece. The championship round lasts for a full 4 minutes.

Butler said he even though he wore a face mask, he got hit in the face.

“The punch bent the face mask.I fought through it, like all champions do,” he said.

During the quarterfinals against Canada, Butler said things started going his way when he found himself in the corner and in a tight spot.

“It’s kind of ironic,” he said. “When the time gets going, usually people grit their teeth, but I smile.”

Butler fought back from a 2-0 deficit and went on to beat Canada 7-4. He then went on to beat Great Britain in the semifinals before facing an equally-sized South African opponent for the championship.

Butler said after the first two minutes, he trailed 0-1, but ended up edging his opponent 3-2 for the championship.

For the other events, Butler said he had to have a championship mentality because all of the other competitors were there to win, too.

Because he did so well at the tournament, Butler was invited to compete in the next games in 2016, where they will be held in Indonesia.

When it was all said and done, Butler got the opportunity to stand on the same podium that was used in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics Games.

Butler gave a lot of credit for his success to his Sensei Mark Rudd, who he has been taking lessons from since he was 11 years old.

“I owe all my credits to Mark Rudd for teaching me from day one and sticking with me,” he said. “I give God the glory for giving me the ability to compete. It was a great competition.”

Butler is the son of Dr. Rex and Billie Jo Butler of Andalusia.