I’ve been steadily going to Martial Fitness almost every day after school to learn the art of fighting. When I first gave it a try, I told myself I wouldn’t like it, but somehow I love it. For this month, I decided to interview one of my boxing coaches, Billy Walters, to look more into his mind and journey.
Q: How long have you been boxing and what made you start?
A: I have been a boxer for 32 years. When I was a child I had a pretty rough life and depression, to the point of a suicide attempt. When I recovered, my stepbrother at the time was in boxing and invited me to come to the gym. The first time I hit the bag, I fell in love with the sport and found a way to channel all the emotions I was going through and the weight I was carrying into a positive outlet.
Q: What made you decide to start coaching?
A: Well, boxing has been a huge impact on my life. It helped me to get through some pretty dark and hard times throughout my life. So, I have always wanted to help kids and adults find that same comfort in the sport that I love so much. I tried a few times to hang it up over the years but couldn’t. I helped coach and even started my own little gym at one point, but competition kept pulling me back, plus the need of money to pay my bills and take care of my family and the feeling of being complete. After donating a kidney on August 22, 2017, I had no clue what I was going to do with myself. I was asked a few times if I would help coach and I couldn’t. I felt if I tried to help, I would just want to risk it and get back in the ring. Then Shannon offered me a spot down here to help out at the gym. I thought if someone with her background thought I would be a good coach, then maybe I should really look at it seriously since I can’t compete any longer.
Q: How has boxing changed your life?
A: Boxing didn’t change my life – I believe boxing saved my life! I truly believe if it wasn’t for boxing I wouldn’t be alive today, or I would have went down another road where I could have been killed or in prison.
Q: What’s the most rewarding thing about being a coach?
A: The most rewarding thing about being a coach is helping everyone reach those goals that everyone sets for themselves, then set new ones and continue.
Q: What do you recommend for any beginners who are curious about the sport but don’t know where to start?
A: If you are a beginner, find your local clubs go ask to try it out. Give yourself a week and see what and how you feel and then make a decision on whether it is for you or not.
Q: Several of your students at Martial Fitness are competitive surfers. How can boxing help out surfing?
A: Boxing can help build determination, drive, conditioning, strength and courage. Our competitive surfers bring balance and agility, so honestly, I believe they work well together! Both compliment the other very well bringing out the best in both our surfers and boxers.
Thank you, Coach! I just wanted to say that I appreciate all my coaches at Martial Fitness and they help push me every day to become stronger and a better fighter. I also wanted to wish good luck to all the fighters at Martial Fitness who have fights coming up, including Preston Arey, Raheem Jackson and Jumbo. If anyone is interested in joining Martial Fitness to learn the art of boxing, jujitsu, wrestling or MMA, visit Martial Fitness NSB or call (386) 428-1316.
Shakka Shakka Brahda!
~ Marley Scott
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