“Many people will tell you that when a man reaches his 50s he tries to relive his youth. I’ve never looked at life that way. Besides, my youth was not as much fun as I’m having today. I started learning Jeet Kune Do (JKD) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) on my 54th birthday. Today at the age of almost 58, I can say that the time I have been a student of Coach Jack McVicker has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. You may ask why a 58-year-old man needs to know these fighting skills. The short answer is – I don’t.
Furthermore, why would he choose these specific disciplines? One word can sum up the martial arts skills I have learned at McVicker’s Martial Arts Academy. That word is functionalization. I served in the military Security Forces during the Vietnam War, as a police officer for eight years in Decatur, Illinois, and a fire department captain for over 24 years. I have seen the very worst and very best in people. Consequently, I could not give my time, strength, and commitment to a fighting skill that I could not see as functional in my real world experiences.
My drive to participate in the skill-sets of JKD and BJJ is a part of who I am as a person. The same motivations that led me into my chosen professions are the precise reasons I have embraced these martial arts. Therefore, growing and learning in my training is not trying to recapture my youth. On the contrary, it is merely an ongoing extension of who I have always been. Unfortunately, I am impatient with my ability to learn fast enough. So, training has not always been easy. Here’s where my coach, mentor, and friend has help me achieve more than I thought I could.
Coach McVicker has always provided the calm, level-headed counsel that kept me going. On more than one occasion, I told him in frustration that I couldn’t learn anything. He would calmly ask me how much better I thought I was compared to last year. It wasn’t long until I was asking the same question in my head whenever I doubted myself. So, I just kept going. The lessons Jack reinforced here were lighten up, calm down, breathe, and never quit.”