Folding and flying through the pandemic: 7-year-old captures attention of world-record holder
OTTAWA -- Mastering a skill usually takes years of experience. Practicing, making mistakes. Enjoying successes and grinding through failures. For Marcus Brun, it's only taken months.
The most impressive part? He's seven years old.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, one of Marcus' friends challenged him to make a paper airplane.
"The first ones I started making were the ones you fold in half, and half…the basic ones," he says.
In October, Marcus started to watch YouTube tutorials on how to make designs that are more complicated. His curiosity quickly turned into a passion, sometimes folding planes for up to eight hours a day.
"That’s when I realized that what I thought was just this quick diversion, turned out to be much more," says Marcus' mom Laura Kraft.
"He came to me and said, ‘my hands are sore, I have blisters.’"
Marcus says he knows how to fold 40 different designs of planes and he does all of them with a simple motto: no glue, no scissors, no tape. His family and friends quickly noticed his skill.
"He’d go to school and tell me stories of his friends lining up for one of (his) airplanes," Kraft says.
"One Starfighter went over the roof (of the school)," Marcus recalls, before running to the dining room table to show off what a Starfighter looks like.
The Starfighter and Super Canard look like ships out of the Star Wars universe. The Boomerang plane is another anomaly. When he throws it, the plane circles the room and comes back to the spot he's standing.
All of these planes are the creation and design of The Paper Airplane Guy, John Collins. Collins is the world-record holder for paper airplane distance. His tutorials were the ones Marcus was watching in the early days of learning how to fold more complex designs. Marcus asked his parents for Collins' latest book.
"We found the book and I ordered it but as I was doing that, it also said you could have a tutorial with John Collins and I thought "well he’s seven, how will that go?"" says Kraft.
"I remember it quite well," Collins says when reached at his home in California.
"The folding was very, very crisp and accurate and quite a few of them looked like I had folded them myself, which is pretty rare, to see someone seven years old who can fold like that," recalls Collins. "It was incredible."
Marcus is also giving back. On March 8, he donated 150 of his planes to CHEO for the kids there to enjoy throwing.
Marcus' response when asked about breaking Collins' world record? "John Collins said I will." Collins agrees.
"There’s no question he has the folding chops to break my record or any record that he wants to pursue."