TERRE HAUTE —
Jack McVicker of Terre Haute has been kicking butt again.
The martial-arts specialist captured two titles during the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championships on March 12-16 on the University of California Irvine campus in Irvine, Calif.
More than 3,000 athletes from all over the world competed in the event sanctioned by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.
In the 11-man lightweight (161 pounds or lighter) black-belt tournament for Masters 3 (ages 41-45), McVicker got a first-round bye before battling Carlos Lopez of California in the second round March 15.
Allow McVicker, who has returned home, to describe the rest.
“This was my most physical, exhausting match all weekend,” he told the Tribune-Star. “We battled 41⁄2 minutes on our feet for the takedown. I had to win to be able to compete in the semifinals on Sunday [March 16]. I came out and hit a low single-leg takedown. I got his leg up, but after a good battle for the takedown, we went out of bounds.
“I scored an advantage for my effort. Then we exchanged grips and jockeyed for position. I shot an outside sweep single. I got his leg up over his head and he still didn’t go down. I went out of bounds and I scored my second advantage. Carlos has some crazy balance and takedown defense. With 30 seconds to go, he shot, I sprawled and hit a reshot for the takedown to give me my two points.”
McVicker, who ended up winning with two points and two advantages to zero for Lopez, advanced to his semifinal match against Marlond Vera of Charlotte, N.C.
“I came out an hit a low single-leg takedown for two points,” McVicker said. “I passed his guard for three points. Then I mounted him for four points and finished the match with a sleeve choke.”
Having scored a tapout win, McVicker moved on to the finals against Steven Otero of California.
“It was our second time facing one another,” he mentioned. “I attempted a takedown. He blocked it. Steven pulled me to his guard. I broke it open and began to pressure him for the pass. I got an advantage for a1⁄2 guard and recovered. Then I scored another advantage for the 1⁄2 guard. He attempt a sweep that off-balanced me for an advantage.”
The final score was two advantages to one advantage in favor of McVicker for the championship.
Next came the open division for the same class, which meant McVicker would have to go against heavier opponents in addition to foes close to his size.
After drawing another first-round bye, he tangled with Eric Wasmuth in the second round.
“I hit him with my low single-leg takedown for two points,” McVicker mentioned. ”I pressured him to the1⁄2 guard for an advantage. Then I caught his back for four points. I was looking to finish the fight. However, Eric did a great job of escaping the position. I was on the bottom with Eric inside my guard. I still had two minutes to go and I worked to keep him inside my guard … break his posture and off-balance him. I caught him in an arm bar to sweep at the end of the match for an advantage.”
Final tally: McVicker six points and two advantages to zero for Wasmuth.
His next match was against Amal Easton, who had won the gold medal in the heavyweight division earlier that day.
“I had a victory over Amal about five years ago,” McVicker explained. “I attempted my takedowns. He was very defensive. Eventually, Amal pulled me to his guard. He played a very safe and tight match. I kept working to stand up and break the guard. The referee wanted more activity. The match ended 0-0, but I was able to squeak out a decision to advance to the final.”
McVicker’s final match in the open division was against Richard Martin of London.
“I actually lost to him in the finals of the Rome Open in 2013,” McVicker noted. “I nailed him with my low single takedown for two points, then he attempted a reverse triangle. I had to wait for the opportunity to escape and I passed his guard for three points. Then I mounted him for four more points.
“With time ticking down, I went for an arm-bar submission. He was able to escape because we went out of bounds. The referee brought us back to the middle to restart with three seconds left on the clock. Richard extended his hand to say ‘good job.’ We ended on the handshake.”
The final score was 9-0, which earned McVicker two titles in one prestigous tournament.