Way back before I moved to Lexington, I started my BJJ training under Mike Patt, head instructor at the Dayton MMA Academy. It’s always fun to stop by and see how the school has grown over the years.
The reason for the visit this weekend was a seminar with Rey Diogo. Ricardo “Rey” Diogo is a 4th degree black belt under Carlson Gracie Senior with an impressive list of tournament championships. He’s also an excellent instructor and a generally nice guy. I had attended a couple of his seminars previously and was looking forward to this one.
The class was devoted exclusively to the sportive aspect of BJJ, primarily competition with the gi. The theme for the day was passing the closed guard and the half-guard. Rey didn’t show anything wild or esoteric. All the moves were either high-percentage fundamentals or else variations built on those fundamentals. I learned several new variations on old techniques and picked up some subtle details on the standard variations that I was already familiar with.
Rey is an exceptionally engaged instructor. As we drilled the techniques, he would continually move around the mat, watching every student, giving feedback as necessary and making himself available for questions. Several times after answering a question for one student he would gather the group together to share the point that had been raised.
At the end of the class, Rey made himself available for a Q&A session covering any topic that students cared to bring up. At every point in the day he was friendly, encouraging, and enthusiastic.
I’d like to thank Mike Patt and Dayton MMA for hosting the seminar, Professor Diogo for teaching a great class, my friend Oscar Kallet for paying my way, and both Oscar and Mike Cox for helping me fix the flat tire I discovered at the end of the seminar.