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Will Holzapfel

Will Holzapfel photo Will Holzapfel
  • Black Belt

The Story

Coach Will began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2008 with a small martial arts club at Florida Gulf Coast University. From this humble beginning, Will began training Jiu Jitsu with Gracie Barra Cape Coral before closing they closed their doors in 2009. Afterwards, Will banded together with his training partners from Gracie Barra who formed Defcon 1 MMA, a mixed martial arts club who prided itself for having a family bond, and a strong team work ethic. At Defcon 1, Will began his journey as a Jiu Jitsu coach along side his brothers Phil Nuno and Jesse Victory. While coaching at Defcon 1, Will began training under Gustavo Machado Black Belt Sean Wilson and Sean Wilson's assistant instructor Delman Carvalho at Black Trunk Martial Arts. Black Trunk had the reputation of developing the best Jiu Jitsu competitors in Southwest Florida so Will knew that's where he needed to train. Will was now obsessed with Jiu Jitsu and took every opportunity to train, sometimes several times a day with both Sean and Delman. Tragically, Sean Wilson passed away in June 2012. This left everyone at Black Trunk in complete disarray with many scattering to different gyms in the area. Will continued to train with Delman who opened his own gym in Punta Gorda, FL where he received his blue belt from Delman and Gustavo Machado. Unfortunately, due to family responsibilities Will had to take time off of training Jiu Jitsu in 2015.

However, in 2017 Will met Corey. Corey Brown received his Black Belt from Chad Lebrun in 2016, moved to Florida, and opened the original Black Tie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2017. After being away from consistent Jiu Jitsu training for almost two years, Will's wife Tiffany told Will about Black Tie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and how they opened up in the same strip mall she worked in. Well, that information went in one ear and out the other, and was completely forgotten in the same fashion any reasonable husband does when he received valuable information. A couple of months go by and Will discovers Black Tie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and it just so happened to be in the same strip mall that Tiffany worked in. What a coincidence! Excited with this brand new information, Will does what every good husband does and tells his wife of the exciting news. Words cannot accurately describe the bewilderment/anger/sadness/hilarity that Tiffany experienced that day. Legend says you can still hear the rolling of her eyes if you listen really really closely. Anyways...

Will came in for an open mat with Corey, Corey's father-in-law Robert Melin, his brother-in-law Rob Melin, and a scrappy little teenager named DJ Maloney. Will knew that Black Tie was the place he needed to be. He was not only impressed by Corey's level of Jiu Jitsu, but how he immediately felt like a member of a family much like Defcon 1 and Black Trunk. Will came on as an assistant instructor for Black Tie and the obsession with Jiu Jitsu was back. Will trained relentlessly week after week and watched his level of Jiu Jitsu soar under Corey's instruction. The Black Tie family grew bigger and bigger, but the camaraderie remained the same. Will eventually earned his purple belt from Corey in 2018. In 2019, Will made the difficult decision to leave Florida and come out to Colorado. The decision was difficult, and leaving his Black Tie family was one of the hardest experiences of his life. Will trained in Colorado for around a year before COVID forced a mass closure of all gyms in the Denver area. Despite government lockdowns, Will and a small group continued to train through the pandemic and Will earned his Brown Belt from Corey in December of 2020. Eventually, Will decided it was time to give the people of Colorado the same kind of gym he was blessed with in Florida and opened Black Tie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Colorado in February 2021, and in February 2023 Will received his Black Belt from Corey at the Second Annual Black Tie Winter Training Camp.

Here at Black Tie BJJ - Colorado, we pride ourselves on giving everyone from all walks of life a safe, friendly, and high quality place to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We welcome everyone from all walks of life and only ask that we all push each other to get better every day. We treat everyone with respect, dignity, and all we ask is for you to give your best effort. We believe joining a BJJ gym is more than just physical training, you gain a whole bunch of Jiu Jitsu brothers and sisters. We're kinda like that Italian restaurant chain; when you're here, you're family!