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Rodrigo Vaghi


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[Martial Direct] You also have some students who have done quite well in both Jiu Jitsu and Vale Tudo/MMA haven't you?

[Rodrigo Vaghi] Yes, I have a great group of guys who are very loyal and I love to spend my time with them teaching and traveling. Sometimes the problem is our location in St. Louis. Most of my guys are doing great in NHB. Steve Berger and Mike Rogers are the most active, but others are Todd Fox, Ed Shobe and Brian Guidry. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there's Mike, Jonathan, Dana, Pat Benson, Steve and many more ranging from 16 to 54 years old.

We train hard. We've been doing great and winning most of the tournaments we enter. I wish one day to bring all of my students and get all the divisions. This is my dream. In Tennessee and the Arnold Classic we were close to that but I couldn't bring some of my top students. Maybe half of my team. At Pan Am we had some champions.

[MD] How did you end up in St. Louis, Missouri?

[RV] I was invited by another Brazilian and some police officers to stay.

[MD] What do you consider your greatest achievement in martial arts?

[RV] I think being a champion is something special and a lot of work, but making champions is my most challenging achievement. I love to teach for the people who stick with me and see that they go all the way. I want to have the best students. I'm very dedicated to that.

[MD] Do you follow the Gracie diet? Or any specific diet?

[RV] No. Only a healthy diet.

[MD] What's a typical workout schedule for you?

[RV] I work out every morning and train Jiu Jitsu Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

[MD] Of anyone in the martial arts world, who do you admire the most and why?

[RV] All of the Gracies that I grew up around for their friendship, teaching and great memories.

[MD] What other arts have you trained in besides Judo and Jiu Jitsu?

[RV] I did some boxing for 3 to 4 years with Claudio Coelho and Tortinho. It was very fun.

[MD] Do you feel that you will train in Jiu Jitsu for the rest of your life? And if so, why?

[RV] Yes, for sure, because Jiu Jitsu is more than a martial art. It is a way of life and friendship.

[MD] What do you most want your students to get out of their Jiu Jitsu training?

[RV] Submissions... Submissions all the time! Friendship, Respect, & Loyalty. This is the beauty of Jiu Jitsu.

[MD] What's it like to roll with Rickson?

[RV] It's amazing! I really don't have a lot of chances to be with him as much as I want. But to give you an idea, he has been here in the US since 1989 and doesn't really have anybody good.... good black belts to train with every day. But all the champions from Brazil, World champions and more- you can list the top ones up until today- and all get smoked and dominated with his technique.

[MD] One last question that I have to ask you- Have you ever made Rickson tap?

[RV] I love to push the training and learn but I don't feel any pleasure going after my teachers. Anybody else is hunting time.

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