We were extremely excited to host Rodrigo Vaghi for our first Team Vaghi seminar. Vaghi is the kind of martial arts teacher whose reputation not only precedes him it’s part of the very fabric of modern martial arts history. He’s a 5th degree black belt under friend and teacher Rickson Gracie, the third son of Grandmaster Helio Gracie. He taught alongside the Gracies in the headquarter Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in Rio. I’ve been practicing martial arts of one form or another for over three decades and you hear about these guys, you see the documentaries, you see their students, competitions and hear their story. In the martial arts arena these are legendary figures. I’ll admit I was a bit star struck and humbled to share the mat and learn from such a teacher and his team.
Team Vaghi stepped on the mat and brought with them more than experience and technical expertise they brought a camaraderie and a genuine love of the art. Vaghi’s teachings encompassed critical fundamentals and essential concepts for learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His fluid relaxed motion was matched only by his focused pressure, control and clear objective of advancing positional advantage. From takedowns, to control, escapes and submissions we were assisted by Brown and Black Belts that were patient, attentive and skilled at teaching, often adding details and blending prefered variations to help the students customize their technique. By the end of the seminar you could sense the appreciation for all the teachings and personal attention extend throughout the room like a big family gathering.
For me it was like a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Thanksgiving. We feasted on technique until we were stuffed. Then after training spent some time watching intense contact sports but instead of football it was UFC. (So awesome to watch fights with guys that had taught, trained with or been in the cage with the level of fighters and jiu jitsu players that we were watching on T.V.) I could tell that all the students were genuinely thankful for this room full of Brown and Black Belts that took their time to drive down to Springfield from St. Louis and share their knowledge and welcome a bunch of beginners into their group as we start the Dynamic Edge BJJ club.
Vaghi and his Black Belt Mike Rogers, owner of St. Charles MMA also came to support their friend and 1st class Brown Belt student, Alan Smith. Dynamic Edge students and myself are very fortunate to have Alan teaching our BJJ classes. I knew that if his combination of technical skill, patience, and communication were any indication then working with his home team would be an excellent experience. Rodrigo and his team didn’t disappoint, rather they exceeded our expectations and we are already looking forward to our next opportunity to train with them.