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Rob Magao – Owner/ Head Coach


Rob Magao is the founder, owner and head coach of the Bushido Jiu-jitsu Academy, with over twenty-five years experience in the martial arts. Rob is a 1st Degree Black Belt in Gracie Jiu-jitsu under Master Pedro Sauer and the cofounder of the New England Submission Challenge.

Rob has over 20 years of law enforcement experience (17 years on SWAT). This experience is vital in being able to teach realistic self-defense based on real life experiences and not just theory. Rob was the Event Coordinator for the Physical Fitness Challenge at the annual CT SWAT Challenge for 10 years. Rob is the Co-founder of the Ground Fighting Curriculum for the CT Police Academy. Rob is a highly respected international law enforcement instructor. He has taught hundreds of personnel from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as well as the United States Military in the areas of arrest and control, ground fighting, SWAT, Dignitary Protection and Physical Fitness.

James Kodzis – Senior Instructor
James Kozis (Jimmy) has over 20 years of martial arts experience and has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years.

  • Gracie Jiu-jitsu 1st Degree Black Belt Under Master Pedro Sauer
  • 3rd Degree Black Belt Japanese/American Jujitsu
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt Shorin Ryu Karate
  • He has experience in Boxing, Wrestling and Judo

James is a founding member of our academy. James is the Co-founder of Ground Fighting Curriculum for CT Police Academy and is an adjunct instructor at CT Police Academy in Meriden, CT where he teaches Ground-Fighting. He has over twenty years law enforcement experience (Patrol, K9, SWAT). He is the author of Jujitsu Volume 1, Volume 2 and Police Ground Combat DVDs. James has also competed annually in the Connecticut SWAT Challenge.

Gerry Navarra – Senior Instructor

Gerry hass been grappling since 1990, when he joined his high school’s wrestling team.  In college, he signed up for a Judo class on a whim and fell in love with the martial arts. Soon Gerry began competing, winning multiple state and New England titles. He practiced with Olympians and world champions and even took classes at a small dojo in Tokyo. He received his black belt in Judo and Japanese Jujutsu in 2005 from Stephen Cunningham, whose sensei, Taizo Sone, was a student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo.

Continuing to study Judo formally, Gerry returned to wrestling when he began coaching at Manchester High School in 1999. In 2008, right before the Judo class officially disbanded, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program fortuitously began at Gerry’s dojo. Again on a whim, he went to a class and got beaten so badly that he knew he had to learn the art. He went on to receive his black belt in BJJ from Pedro Sauer in 2014. This will mark Gerry’s 19th year coaching wrestling–which, along with his Judo and Japanese Jujutsu background, helps inform his ongoing training and teaching of BJJ.

Gerry has cornered both amateur and professional MMA fighters, helping them hone their grappling skills. He is a Social Studies teacher at Manchester High School.

Mike Rossi Senior Instructor

Mike is a Judo Black Belt, 1st Degree Jiu-jitsu Black Belt
Mike Rossi is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Kodokan Judo, a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Japanese Jujitsu (USJA), a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Karate and a Black Belt under Master Pedro Sauer in Gracie Jiu-jitsu. He is a former member of the Unites States Army and presently works in education.

Nima Gholampour – Instructor

Nima is a Rob Magao black belt under Pedro Sauer. His wrestling back ground and over ten years of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience adds a great deal of knowledge to MBJJ. Nima is also an avid competitor with experience in local NAGA tournaments and International IBJJF tournaments

Rich McKeegan – Instructor/ Academy Manager

Rich began his jiu-jitsu journey in 2008 and earned his blue belt from Royce Gracie in 2009. In 2010 he transferred schools to Manchester BJJ and earned his purple belt and then brown belt in 2016 from Rob Magao, began teaching the Fundamentals Class in 2014. Rich is the founder of Blackbelts for Butterflies which is the country’s largest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Autism Benefit Seminar which was created in and2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, CT. Between Rich’s network in the jiu-jitsu community across the country and years of management experience in the restaurant industry he left the mental health and substance abuse field and was given the opportunity as the academy manager for the day to day business side and teaching all morning and day classes at Manchester BJJ.

Jason Gonzalez- Head Instructor for Children’s Program

Jay is the Head Instructor of the Youth Self Defense and Competition Team. Jay has shown an interest in combat sports for many years beginning his journey in Kempo and Taekwondo as a teen and later training in boxing. Jay is an active volunteer in his community where he empowered children as a Little Miss Softball coach for 3 years and a youth football coach for 8 years. Jay started training Brazilian Jiujitsu in 2009 and has risen to the rank of brown belt. He introduced the art to his own daughter and son wanting them to learn self-defense and be involved in a new experience. Jay started as Assistant Instructor in early 2010 for the Children’s Program and took over as Head Instructor by the end of that year. Jason’s approach to teaching is based around simple fundamentals as well as teaching children self-respect and confidence. These basic elements have been a stepping stone for many of the students to win competitions all over New England.

Jason Smyth – Fundamentals Instructor

Jason is a Gracie Jiu- Jitsu Purple Belt under Rob Magao and Jim Kodzis. Jason has been training since 2011 and teaching Gracie fundamentals and Gracie Combatives since 2015.  Jason currently works in the insurance industry and lives in Manchester with his wife and two sons.

David Svalestad – Fundamentals Instructor

David is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu purple belt under Rob Magao. David began his training in 2009 and earned his blue belt in2011 and purple belt in 2013. David has been an instrumental team player in the kids program at Manchester BJJ as well as taking on coaching the Fundamentals Class as well. David brings real life experience to the mats as he has been a Forensic Treatment Specialist at Whiting Forensics for most of his career.

Matt Becker – 5-8 y/o Children’s Instructor

Matt is one of our newest purple belts earning rank in June 2017. He has come up through the ranks starting his training at Manchester BJJ in early 2012. Matt is an interictal part of the kids program taking on our youngest students and teaching the 5-7 year olds. Matt brings a fun and energetic style to his class to keep the kids entertained and engaged while they learn not only Jiujitsu but to respect and work together with their team mates. Matt has never trained a martial art before Jiu Jitsu but has said that the discipline it takes to achieve the highest level in the art has passed over into his daily life in his work as a chef here in Manchester.

Derek Wong – Muay Thai Instructor

Derek has been a life long martial arts practitioner since 1997 beginning with Taekwondo, in which he holds a 4th Degree Black Belt.  He took interest in Wushu Kung Fu and competed internationally until 2004.  Derek began practicing Muay Thai since 2009 and brings his experience in Youth Recreation to the Beginners/Youth Muay Thai class. He brings a strong emphasis on fundamentals and has coached here since 2013.

Peter Dang – Muay Thai Instructor

Peter began training martial arts starting with Wushu Kungfu from 2000-2007; traveling to Hangzhou, China on 3 separate occasions to train as well as compete. After a short hiatus, he found his passion for martial arts through the form of Muay Thai. He began training in the Fall of 2010 and traveled to Phuket, Thailand 3 different times to the prestigious Tiger Muay Thai training camp. Peter brought his love and knowledge of the art to Manchester BJJ in 2013 and began coaching shortly thereafter in 2014. As well as a Muay Thai artist, he is also a Brazilian Jujitsu practitioner. He began studying under Professor Magao in 2014 at the same academy and currently holds the rank of blue belt.

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