BY TERI R. WILLIAMS | PHOTOS BY DAPHNE WALKER
making his own
Dewitt Davis is a master in his craft, but his most important
goal is teaching others to have self-discipline and respect
for themselves and the world around them.
Some remember the 70s
for Watergate, the end of the
Vietnam War, the oil crisis, or the Great
Inflation. But for the children of the 70s, it
was a time when a new kind of hero emerged.
Week after week, Kwai Chang Caine, played
by David Carridine on the ABC tv series Kung
Fu, taught us the value of discipline in mind,
body, and soul. Of course, Caine also showed
us the coolest moves ever as he crossed the
Wild West defending the vulnerable against
the bad guys. “Grasshopper,” as blind Master
Po called him, was a hero nine-year-old
Dewitt Davis could follow. And he wasn’t
Martial Arts studios sprung up across the
country. “Everybody was Kung Fu fighting,”
as Carl Douglas sang in his 1974 hit song.
Two free classes were offered by a martial arts
studio in Coral Springs, Florida, near Dewitt,
but it was all he could take. At that time, his
family did not have the extra money. When
he was twelve, he was able to take lessons for
three months, but again, had to stop for lack
of financial resources.
Once he started high school, Dewitt
started wrestling. “There wasn’t wrestling yet
in the schools back in Montgomery County,
where I was from,” he said. Even though he
competed in wrestling and did well, martial
arts had his heart. “As soon as I was old
enough, I got an after-school job. Then I paid
for classes myself.”
In the beginning, Dewitt’s perception
of martial arts was as a tool of defense.
Bullying is not a new problem, he explained.
“There was bullying in school back then,
just like now. I thought that if these kids I
saw bullied knew martial arts, they could
protect themselves. As I got older, I realized
martial arts was so much more. It gave you
confidence, a positive attitude, respect for
yourself and others.”
After high school, Dewitt worked different
jobs while he trained in various styles
of martial arts. Each time a new level of
expertise was achieved, he was promoted.
“Back then, you had to go through individual
programs. For each one, you start with a
Hometown Living At Its Best 61