Friday, April 16, 2021

Windham student Will Colby uses lessons in he learned in boxing to teach self defense to others

By Matt Pascarella

Will Colby does pad work with North Waterboro eighth-grader
Emma Brown at Recon Fitness in Westbrook on Tuesday, April
13 during his Introduction to Striking class for students. 
Windham junior Will Colby started watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship with his dad when he was 3 years old and ever since then he’s been interested in combat sports.

When he was 14, he decided to check out Recon Fitness, a gym in Westbrook that teaches boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. He immediately started boxing along with Mixed Martial Arts and has stuck with it since. In 2020, he started teaching an Introduction to Striking class for youth at Recon Fitness.

Colby has been training as a boxer since 2018 working with coach Darren Elder. Elder has helped Colby grow tremendously as a person and boxer by encouraging, motivating and teaching Colby all Elder’s skills and knowledge. While Colby’s main focus is boxing, he does some Mixed Martial Arts with coaches Ernie Ornelas and Aaron Waite.

Colby wanted to start boxing because he has always looked up to boxers and fighters as physically and mentally strong men, which is what he strives to be.

In 2020, Colby had been preparing for a fight for about a month before Covid-19 shut everything down. He had been training with Ornelas and Elder who have helped Colby with their extensive knowledge and passion of the sport. Unfortunately, that fight, which would have been Colby’s first amateur boxing match in April 2020 was canceled.

Once Colby learned that the 2020 fight was canceled and Recon Fitness was closed temporarily because of COVID-19, he felt very discouraged and very disappointed he would not be able to test the skills he had gained over his time training. Colby did temporarily stop training in 2020, but quickly began training again and continued to motivate himself.

Will is a particularly kind and patient individual, said Elder. “Will has made massive gains both as a fighter and a young man. He has been consistent in focusing on his fundamentals and becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable. Whatever his role, be it training for his own contest, assisting one of his training partners, or coaching kid’s class, Will is the sort of guy you hope for.” 

In the fall of 2020, Elder saw potential in Colby to be a coach at Recon Fitness. Once Colby was offered this opportunity to coach, he said he was nervous and felt unprepared at first but honored that Elder had chosen him to coach the Introduction to Striking class for youth.

Colby’s Introduction to Striking class is for kids ages 10 to 13. Over time, Colby became very comfortable teaching the class and really enjoys it. He believes his responsibilities as a coach are to make sure the kids in his class are enjoying the sport as well as learning from it. Since he began as a coach, his class sizes have grown from one student to 12 students or more a class.

“I try to teach them to become comfortable in the uncomfortable just as my coach Darren had taught me, I try to develop their fundamental skills and grow their technique over the time of their training,” said Colby. He added it is encouraging to see kids coming to the class and sticking around.

North Waterboro eighth-grader Emma Brown has been participating in Colby’s class for three or four months. She likes the class because a lot of the time, it’s very one-on-one and it is a good way to learn self-defense. Brown said one of the things she enjoys most about the class is getting her anger out in a healthy way.

“He creates an environment conducive for the kids in his class to improve their skills as well as their sense of self; Will is exactly what the kids need,” said Elder.

Colby is currently looking for a boxing match he can fight in this summer. He is working towards getting ready for more training. He said he plans to continue to teach his classes at Recon Fitness for as long as he can. <

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