Rob Magao Head Instructor/ Owner

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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 2nd Degree Black Belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Master Pedro Sauer and the co-founder of the New England Submission Challenge.

Rob has over 22 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.

Mike Rossi – Senior Instructor

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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.

Jerry Lashway – Instructor/ Striking Coach


Jerry is a Rob Magao black belt under Pedro Sauer. Jerry has been a Correction Officer with the Connecticut Department of Corrections since 1999. Jerry entered his Martial Arts/Combatives career early, starting with Karate at age 9. He is currently a Jiu-Jitsu, Thai Boxing, and Combatives/Self Defense Instructor. Martial Arts has been a critical part of Jerry’s life ever since he started. Always striving to learn more, become better, and share his knowledge. Jerry is one of our newest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts who holds rank as a JKD/FMA-Instructor, Tae Kwon Do-Black Belt, Hapkido-Black Belt and ,Karate-Black Belt. He has trained in Boxing, Kick Boxing, Thai Boxing, NHB/MMA, Wing Chun, Kali, Silat, and Savate. Jerry has had a long career in the military serving our country with a plethora of training over the years.

US ARMY: Infantry School, Anti-Armor training, PLDC, BNOC, Rappel School, Scout Training, Mortar Training, Light Infantry Training.

US Air Force: Security Forces Training, TCCC, CLS, NCO Academy, ARMY Combatives, DOD Non-Lethal Weapons Instructor school, Capital Region SWAT School, TCCC Active Shooter follow on training.

Jason Gonzalez- Head Instructor for Children’s Program / Hebron Instructor


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 earned his black belt in 2018. 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.

David Svalestad – Fundamentals Instructor

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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.

Buddy Delp - Assistant Instructor Youth Program/ Hebron Instructor


Buddy is a Gracie Jiu-jitsu Purple Belt under Rob Magao. Buddy has been training BJJ since 2012.  Buddy has been an assistant instructor in the kids program at Manchester BJJ since 2015 and has been teaching Gracie Fundamentals since 2017. Buddy is also a frequent competitor/coach and BJJ Globetrotter participant. Buddy works in the high precision optics industry and is married with one son.


James Kodzis Senior Instructor

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

  • Gracie Jiu-jitsu 2nd 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

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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.

Rich McKeegan – Instructor/ Academy Manager

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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 2012. Rich is the founder of Blackbelts for Butterflies which is the country’s largest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Autism Benefit Seminar which was created in 2013 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 Smyth – Fundamentals Instructor


Jason is a Gracie Jiu- Jitsu Brown 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.

Matt Becker – 5-7 y/o Children’s Instructor / Hebron Instructor

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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 integral 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.

John-Erik Parson - Instructor


John began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Connors MMA in Norwood, MA under John Connors. He continued at the Nick Diaz Academy in Stockton, CA before arriving at Manchester BJJ. John is a brown belt under Rob Magao. John was a successful NCAA and professional XC and track athlete. He has continued his competition experience in Jiu Jitsu and grappling. John’s work has allowed him to travel extensively and train at some of the most notable Jiu Jitsu academies. He implements this training into his own teaching.