Jacob McVey – Home “Ninja Cave”/Chicago Ninja Academy

Here we have competitor Jacob, age 20, Bolingbrook Illinois

Athletic background?  Growing up I was not the most athletic.  I played baseball and wrestled for many years, but it was not until I quit organized sports that I really got into fitness.  At the age of 17 I started climbing when I was hired at a rock wall. I fell in love with the sport.  Since then, I have been climbing a minimum of 4 days a week. Due to similarities in techniques used between the two sports, rock climbing was a pathway for me to become interested in ninja warrior competitions.

How long obstacle course training?  I have only been obstacle course training for 5 months, but my continuous training in climbing has given me an advantage when it comes to training for obstacle courses. The coordination, upper body strength, and grip strength needed for advanced sport climbing and bouldering is also necessary in obstacle racing.

Why obstacle training?   The show American Ninja Warrior sparked my interest in obstacle training. I knew that getting on the show would be nearly impossible without getting the experience in the field of obstacle training, so I started to train at the Chicago Ninja Academy and joined the UNAA. Upon my first experience training at the Chicago Ninja Academy, I realized that obstacle training is way more than just a show and a competition. It is a community working together to get faster, stronger, to continuously push our boundaries farther, and to do the impossible. This community that is portrayed at various gyms and within the UNAA is what has kept me engaged and inspired to continue to work towards my goal of being able to compete on American Ninja Warrior.

Why compete?  Motivation?  I have always had a passion for competition. The adrenaline rush that comes with competing motivates me the most. Although I may be nervous before I start, during a competition, everything around me seems to disappear. I become so focused on the goal of the competition that I cannot even hear the crowd around me. This helps to clear my head and keep me motivated and working hard.

Part of my passion for competing comes from the ninja community. It is filled with supportive people who want to see others succeed. The majority of competitors in the ninja community understand the concept of good sportsmanship and demonstrate that through their ability to help others by giving advice or providing encouragement even if they do not complete the course. Everyone realizes that it is the competitor against the course and they want to see each competitor take it to the next level.

Favorite obstacle? Least favorite obstacle?  Favorite: The Salmon Ladder!  The brute strength needed to complete this obstacle is what makes it so fun!

Least Favorite: Anything that involves balance. As a climber I am comfortable with upper body obstacles, but my balance definitely needs some work.

Personal interests (movies, hobbies, music, books, charities, etc.)?  I am a full-time student, I run a climbing wall, and I am a route setter at the biggest climbing gym in the nation.  Outside of school, work, and training I am usually spending time with my friends and family.

Something interesting about you?  I coach a great group of young climbers. Their constant success motivates me to keep training as well.  Shout out to Life Time Romeoville Climb Team!

Motto or how you live your life?  Do what you love and make your own path.

Piece of advice for obstacle course training?   Just have fun!  Do not get discouraged if you walk in the gym the first day and see the experienced members crushing an obstacle you may struggle with. Instead, ask them for advice. The ninja community loves to help each other out!

Social media info, pics, videos, other links, anything you care to share?
Instagram: @Jacob_mcvey


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