Interview with BJJ black belt Vagner Boca!

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Why did you start training BJJ and what’s your training background regarding BJJ, Grappling and other martial arts?

I do bjj since I was 14 years old, before this I did football. I started in the beginning of the bjj in my city/
I knew some guys who were training and they invited me to train with them. It was more no gi and vale tudo(old school MMA), so for a long time I did more no gi and vale tudo, I liked it very much now with gi and rules i love it!!
What kept you motivated during so many years?

Because I know that I don’t know everything and I never will, so there’s always something new.
What influence did BJJ and your experience on the mat have on your everyday life?

I think that if can face someone on the mat in front of so many people, you can do everything.
I always say to the students’ parents to put them to compete, they will learn how to control better themselves in a hard situations.
What are your activities besides Jiu Jitsu ?

In this moment all my time goes to teaching bjj and for to kids, but I still like to compete.

If I’m going to compete, I lift weights and run on big stairs close to my house.
What is your opinion about the different rules and federations? Do you prefer points or submission only? 

Submission only is not popular in Brazil yet, so we have big influence of the ibjjf there, but what I hear about submission only rules, I prefere points, it seems fair.
Do you have favorite techniques and positions and why?

I don’t have a favorite because I have been teaching so much that I try to understand all games, to see what’s better for each student. I’m more a teacher than a fighter for since last 10 years.


How did you manage to handle the injuries? This can be very demotivating.

This is very demotivating, but most of the time they are our mistake. We don’t stop in the beginning of the injuries. What you can do is stop and take care of it. We have to respect our body and understand when we need to rest.

What is your vision on how jiu jitsu is developing (oldschool vs newschool)?

I think the new school is the old school improved, without old we would not have the new school, but some people for some reason, I don’t know why, closed their eyes for the new ways to train and fight. Bjj now is so much more fun with guys creating new ways to fight and new techniques.
Any tips for beginners? What should beginners focus on ?

They should learn how to stabilize a position,  get good posture and keep focus on basics submission like triangle, omoplata, armlock. And it’s also very import to learn half guard.
Can you give us your view on fighting with or without the gi. Is one more important or do they simply complement each one?

I think both are nice,but i prefer training with the gi. i think it’s more technical, but I think no gi you really learn how to control de positions using your weight, I think with gi you get a faster mind, but sure no gi helps the gi game.
What were the most important revelations in terms of understanding the game and how did they improve your skills?

I think you really need to study the games to understand how it works. Even if you don’t like it you should train for some time. if you know how it works you’ll know how to defend and prevent it.
What is their favorite pre-/post training meal?

Sweet potato and tapioca (specific dish from the Northeast of Brazil)
Do you do any other things specifically to improve your performance in Jiu Jitsu, such as Yoga, Cardio training, Rope climbing?

I think you must have someone who really understands about a workout. you need to know how much you should do something. for me lifting weights is the best, I don’t like it but I had the best results with this.


How is your training preparation for a tournament?

Now I’m 38, so I try not to train too much. i try to train smart; do more drills and specific training.
Why do most practitioners choose to not do tournaments after earning their black belt?

Because they think that they have to prove something when they are black, but they do not, they should try to keep improving, in other way some try to grow the own team and get more classes, so maybe to busy to prepare for competition.
Who are your role models in BJJ and Grappling?

Terere is the man who most influenced my jiu jitsu. I like different things from different guys, but for me the best is Rafael Mendes, I like cobrinha, Lo, frazzato, Galvão, lepri, Langhi there are many good guys that you learn so much from.
What are the most important things to make you a good fighter?

First is to be humble. Look for the guys that are better than you, listen to the coach and do a lot of drills.


Boca taught BJJ seminars at our school in Rotterdam. Amsterdam and Den Haag (The Hague)


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