MOUNT FOREST – Two local teens are taking on the world.
After months of arduous training Breckin Lachanse, 15, and Jamie Reeves, 14, have been chosen to represent Canada at the World Association of Kickboxing Organization’s (WAKO) World Junior Kickboxing Championships to be held in Italy from Sept. 30 to Oct. 9.
“Proud is an understatement,” said Dave Reeves, Jamie’s father and owner of Rise Combat and Fitness in Mount Forest.
“I have trained both these boys from a young age and watched them grow. I’m amazed at their abilities both on, and off, the mats. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them both,” he said in a recent social media post.
The boys started young at Reeve’s gym; Jamie when he was just three, and Lachanse when he was five.
Now students at area high schools – Lachanse at Wellington Heights Secondary School and Reeves at Norwell District Secondary School – the months ahead will be spent preparing to enter the ring in Venice.
“We’re basically going to be in training camp until world championships, non-stop, putting everything into it,” Lachanse said.
The guys are at the gym every day aside from Sunday reprieves.
After school, Lachanse lifts weights and gets his cardio in. Tuesdays and Thursdays he’s in kickboxing and jiu jitsu classes, and Saturday mornings are spent getting in 10 to 15 sparring rounds.
As for Reeves, he’s up at 4am on weekdays, running five kilometres before the school bell rings. After, he’s back at it, training for four to five hours a night before turning in.
“I love it; it’s all I do,” said Reeves.
Reeves’ choice of martial art is taekwondo, a kick-based discipline with some occasional punches thrown in.
“It’s very much different from kickboxing, in that sense,” said Reeves.
He’ll be participating in a low-kick category, fighting at 156 pounds.
Lachanse prefers kickboxing.
“I get to use my hands and my knees and my kicks, sweeps – a whole bunch of different stuff that I get to use in kickboxing, so I think it’s more fun for me,” he explained.
Lachanse will fight at 165 pounds in the K-1 category, allowing for sweeps, throws, kicks to calves, and kneeing.
Before the plane departs across the North Atlantic, the guys will hone in on their weaknesses.
“I think my biggest issue is getting in the ring,” Reeves admitted. “I could do amazing practice, always being number one in sparring, but then as soon as I get in the ring I forget how to throw a punch.”
Lachanse said his weakness lies in getting the heart pumping.
“My cardio has always been a little bit of a weak point for me, but I’m putting in the work, I’m trying to do everything I can to get it right up where it needs to be.”
Both teens have a come-what-may attitude and are ready to absorb the certain hits to come.
“Just getting in the ring is a tough thing to do when you know … they’re trying to hurt you. It is a tough thing to do, but that’s what we train for,” Lachanse said.
Reeves’ biggest fear is going through all the training, only to lose.
But the guys say losing is crucial in martial arts.
“It’s really where you learn the most about yourself and how to get better,” Lachanse said.
The fighters are part of 12 total Rise participants fighting at June nationals and are pushing to enter as many fights as they can here before the world championship, to catch up with the competition abroad who haven’t experienced the same enduring COVID lockdowns.
At $4,000 per person for the trip and $2,000 between the two of them for new gear needed – they’ll also be fighting to fundraise enough to make it all come together.
Orders for custom-designed shirts and proceeds from a kickathon running June 18 and 19 will go to supporting their trip.
“We get to not only represent Canada, but our town,” Lachanse said. “I think we’ve been making the town proud.”
Dave said, “proud doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
The boys epitomise the gym’s motto: Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.
“You just keep getting up, and getting up, and getting up,” Dave said.
Both of the boys have taken his coaching and ran with it, growing far beyond Mount Forest’s boundaries in skill and as people.
“It’s every coach’s dream,” he said.