Vasquez Academy - Austin, Texas
Please note this is coming from someone who has zero experience in martial arts until showing up to this class. This is has been updated to reflect my impression after a month begin there.
The First Impression
I showed up to Rudy Vasquez's Saturday class with my wife. The place itself is very barebones, but the cleaniness or how the place looks isn't a big deal for me. Your not going to find heavy bags mounted to the wall, a full locker room, boxing ring, or an octogon ring. There is just an open area, carpet, and a mat for ju jitsu. Bare bones and straight to business. That's pretty much all I care for as I'm a pretty simple person anyway. There is no flash to this place, so I guess I can see how it might bother some people.
There was only 6 people in the class including my wife and I. We actually got a lot of one on one time with Rudy even though it was a free class, which kind of made me feel bad because the other guys were regulars but they didn't seem to mind. We warmed up with jump ropes, which I totally suck at because I've actually never trained with a jump rope before (I know sad...I was all track, basketball in high school and never used the jump rope even at the gym I go to). He worked us through footwork and basic punch work and had us practice against pads. Rudy was constantly coming in to observe and re-enforcing the correct technique. Awesome stuff with the one on one attention. We ran a few fitness drills as well including suicides.
I really liked the class, though the size of the class was very surprising. However, I would learn later on that Rudy had stopped teaching for a period of time and had started teaching again.
Right after the boxing class was the brazilian ju-jitsu class. I really wanted to try it out, but we had no gis and my wife was really hungry so we had to leave :(. We also were denched in sweat after we were done with the first class. Pretty good workout ^_^. There was only 1 guy in the ju jitsu which basically means that guy got a private lesson from Rudy. Rudy told us before the BJJ class started that the belts earned in the BJJ class are offical Gracie Belts as we would be evaluated by other Gracie members to earn our belts. They had a 3 stripe system for all the Belt which I believe is normal in BJJ.
Rudy offered us all his classes during the week for $200 a month for the both of us. He stated that he would normally charge about $125 per month for each of us but since we both wanted to join he dropped the price. That's a very reasonable piece especially considering that a class with only 3-4 people showing up...he probably should be charging $50 a pop for a small group private lesson or $100 a lesson for that Brazilian Jujitsu class. Perhaps it's because the weekend class doesn't have a lot of visitors, but still I am intrigued at the one on one attention.
Rudy is a good guy. He keeps you very calm and throws in a few jokes here or there which is nice. He sorta cracked a joke when we walked in asking if I was a black belt in some martial art and I kindly sad no thinking in my head that he would totally kick my ass anyway as I'm just straight a body mass that can't fight at all right now :(. Throughout the entire time we were there Rudy made no comment about his background or about the fighters he trained or anything like that. He was just straight there to teach us. I really liked that about him. He never once tried to throw around his credentials which is actually pretty surprising considering some people might be turned off by the look of the facility. Rudy has some pretty solid credentials. He is certified to teach MT by Master Chai Sirisute, the president of the USA Thai Boxing Association and a former Pro Thai Champion and has instruction in Silat and JKD from Dan Insanto.
Rudy suggested we buy our own gear and offered his gear at around $60 for each of us. Not bad at all. He also sold the BJJ Gi's at $110 each which again isn't bad at all.
Rudy has MT classes around 6:30 Monday to Friday and Saturday Classes Starting at 10AM. The BJJ class is run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdaywhich I am looking forward to because it starts around 8PM and fits perfect with my schedule.
Rudy looks like he spends zero $$$ on marketing as well. His website is very outdated and he had no official gear. I almost wanted to ask him about his website and offer the services of my bother to spruce up his site, but when he gave me his card I noticed he had a new website under construction.
My wife and I are currently working our schedules right now, but we are confident we are going to show up to the next Saturday class and buy all our gear and get on autopay for the monthy fee.
Rudy's current location at Old Manchaca is the same location as South Austin Karate AKA Bakido. Rudy used to have a ridiculous facility a few years ago loaded with 2 boxing rings, weights, heavy bags, and a separate area for grappling but had to close down his gym when he went to work for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation in order to stay independent from the fighters he trained. I don't know much about the plans right now, but I'm guessing the current location is temporary?
Regarding his fighters if you go around town to schools in Austin you will see Rudy's influence all over. Two of the CTC instructors, Jason Webster and Ernesto have history with Rudy. Jason training Rudy years back and Ernesto being of one the former BJJ teachers at Vasquez Academy. Go down to South Austin Gym and you will meet Matt Thompson, the current MMA instructor there who trained under Rudy for several years.
Rudy currently has three pro fighters that stop by to train right now. Dave "The Rockstar" Phillips (8-4 MMA Record), a BJJ Black Belt under 6th degree BJJ Black Belt Pedro Saur is one of those fighters and he stops by occasionally to teach the BJJ Class. Nick "The Ghost" Gonzalez (14-8 MMA Record) is another pro fighter that trains with Rudy and currently is under contract with Bellator, a pro fight league that airs on ESPN Deportes which focuses on lighter fighters from featherweight to middleweight. Nick has be around several MMA leagues and a few kickboxing leagues including World Combat League and K-1. Audrey Vela is the female pro fighter at Vasquez Academy. She has a 6-2 Pro boxing record, competed in the U.S. National Boxing Championship in 1999, and has been trained by Rudy since she was 16.
There is also Ron Hernandez, the CEO and Owner of King of Kombat, who also trains there. King of Kombat is a Texas Professional MMA Fight League with sponsors from the Texas National Guard and Bud Light.
I can definitely say that throughout the month I've been here I have improved a bunch. My wife loves the stand-up. Our only gripe so far is that we wished more people would show up to the BJJ class. That and I wished I started earlier when Rudy had his old place, but seeing the old pictures of it makes your eyes light up.
Fight Clip of Audrey Vela vs Lucy Contreras (Audrey is in the yellow top and Rudy has the burnt orange Vasquez Academy Shirt) - Just click on the link because the author of the video disabled forum embedding.
YouTube - Audrey Vela vs Maria Lucy Contreras Rds 1&2
A video of Nick fighting. The second round is pretty good.
YouTube - XFC TEXAS MMA NICK GONZALES VS. ADRIAN SANCHEZ
A video of Vasquez Academy that has Audrey Vela and Nick Gonzalez in it
YouTube - Vasquez Academy MMA - Austin, Texas
Video of Audrey Vela's first MMA fight
YouTube- Audrey Vela vs Judy Garcia-MMA
Last edited by newbie999; 4/18/2010 11:18am at .
Reason: Update the school review
I will be seeing you there sometime soon! I have been training with Rudy for a while now, I LOVE his stand-up!! I got my work sched changed so I will try and make at least the Friday class. Cheers!
Originally Posted by OnceLost
Originally Posted by It is Fake
Deleted so I could move the info to the main posted originally.
Last edited by newbie999; 5/31/2009 8:08pm at .
Deleted. Sorry didn't know I could just edit old postings.
Last edited by newbie999; 5/12/2009 1:57pm at .
Nice to know why Rudy had closed up his facilities on Manchaca and Stassney.
I had trained at his studio on Jones several years ago when he was just starting to offer BJJ, but after I lost my job I had to quit and was to embarrased to go back after my autopay bounced. DOH!... My wife used to do kickboxing with him when he was there on Manchaca and Stassney (before I met her) until she broke her leg in a car wreck and had to quit for a year. She found out that he is now teaching out of the Bakido building and wants us to go there, but I had been skeptical, not becuase of the quality of instruction, but because he has moved around so much in the last few years, which I thought was because of bad money management and I didn't want to sign a contract only to have him close up shop again. Guess I was wrong on that one. I guess I'll have rethink my position on that one, although I myself am thinking of going to Kyu Ryu Budo for some Daito Ryu and Judo with Sesei Eric. who acutally trained in Daito in Japan, just because I am only home for 9 days a month due to my job designing beach renourishments and Eric says he'll work with me on pricing. Rudy is a great teacher. He is very dedicated to his students. He had someone else teaching the Jiu Jitsu class when I went, but it looks from his website that he teaches now. hmmm interesting....
Rudy is a Purple Belt under Renzo Gracie he does have actual rank though not a black belt like other BJJ instructors in the area. However, the vast majority of his BJJ students right now are either white or blue belt level so it's not really an issue right now and he does mention this to his prospective students everytime they have asked.
Yes, he has had a lot of different people teach BJJ over the years. Right now you get Travis Joiner (Brown Belt under Rolles Gracie Jr.), Rudy Vasquez (Purple belt under Renzo Gracie), or Dave Phillips (Black Belt under Pedro Sauer). Dave is a ... bit of a character he certaintly isn't an instructor for everyone.
I feel ya though on the Bakido building. It's a pretty bare bones facility.
Wow, that's a lot of traveling!
I've met Rudy at our school, Trainer's Elite, where he's usually sparring with our instructor Sean Cooper. Super nice guy. Thanks for the background information. It's nice to know.