Now 20 years old, the Brentwood resident still gets into fights – but now they take place in the ring in mixed martial arts bouts. On Feb. 20, fighting under the moniker “Vicious” Jay Vizcarra in the first-ever officially sanctioned amateur bout in Northern California at Dragon House in San Francisco, he put a rear naked chokehold on his opponent, causing him to tap out, ending the fight with two seconds left in the first round.
“That’s a big accomplishment for me to where I had no technique fighting on the street and going in there with someone who’s bigger than me,” he said. “The win was the biggest accomplishment of my life.” He plans to do more amateur fighting and then eventually turn pro “and end up big.”
It’s quite a turnaround for someone who might have ended up doing his fighting in San Quentin. Vizcarra credits the Brentwood Police Athletic Program (PAL) and Randy Verrett’s karate kenpo school on Balfour Road in Brentwood with helping get him on track. “Now I help teach the PAL class” at the school, said Vizcarra. “I watch (PAL) Officer (Roger) Wilson on how he helps the kids out so much. I never had anybody, a role model like that. I wish I did. I wish I had somebody who was there to help me. Right now I could be in jail” if not for the help.
At Wilson’s request, Verrett launched an eight-week karate class in October that is free for middle school and junior high students participating in the PAL program, and have followed that with mixed martial arts training.
“I can see changes in kids who used to be enemies, and now they are training together and sparring together and getting along,” said Verrett. “We are trying to work on something now to where we will offer our gym to the PAL program (year-round). We don’t want it to end for them. We want to be here for them as a safe place to come. Even if it’s just hanging out and listening to music in the gym, lifting weights or sparring. We are trying to get a bigger building. If we can get sponsors to help out, that would be huge.”
PAL holds periodic fundraisers, but is always ready to accept tax-deductible donations through Wilson at 925-809-7768. For more information on Verrett’s karate school, call 925-516-1339 or go online to www.verrettskarate.com.