Mestre Boa Gente (born: Vivaldo Conceição Rodrigues) was born in 1945, in Ibicarai, in the interior of Bahia, Brazil
Capoeira Angola captured his heart and soul in 1956 in Ilhéus after watching teachers João Grande, João Pequeno and Antônio Cabeceiro, among others, play capoeira during the celebration of St. Sebastian, patron saint of the city. There he began his journey with mestre Antônio Cabeceiro, on the streets of Ilhéus. He learnt capoeira in the same manner with which the slaves learnt to play in “capoeiras” (cleared areas in the jungle), by watching others and applying what he saw in the roda, because at that time there were no Capoeira schools in Ilhéus. Then, by virtue of fate, he went to Salvador. Finding his brother Dominguinhos, he trained at the “Escola Baiana de Capoeira Angola “ (Capoeira Angola School of Bahia) with Mestre Gato for several years.
When Valdemar Santana, the “Black Leopard” (Leopardo Negro), Brazilian champion of MMA (wrestling) at the time, visited the Escola Baiana de Capoeira Angola, The “Black Leopard” was so impressed by the student Boa Gente, he invited him to join his MMA academy. As always, an engaging and dedicated student, Boa Gente became the MMA champion of Bahia in 1974.
In 1972, when Boa Gente attended a presentation of the “Sons of Oba” in Casa de Pedra, where he trained Capoeira, he was invited by Professor Lee to train Korean Karate. Along with Professor Lee, Boa Gente founded the Tae kwon-do Association of Bahia, and he continued to train there for some time.
Part of Boa Gente’s training of MMA included visiting other gyms and academies. When Boa Gente went to train at the Academy of Mestre Bimba, who had gone to Rio de Janeiro, mestre Vermelho 27 had taken over the training at the academy, providing the hard-training that Boa Gente needed. After this visit he was invited by mestre Vermelho 27 to train with him and from there Mestre Boa Gente went on to found the “Associação de Capoeira Mestre Boa Gente “ (Association of Capoeira Mestre Boa Gente) in 1981.
Thereafter Mestre Boa Gente devoted his life to social work in “Vale das Pedrinhas”, “Nordeste de Amaralina”, Santa Cruz and about 17 years of teaching at the College of São Paulo, one of the most respected institutions in the State of Bahia. He has taught workshops, courses and lectures throughout Brazil, the United States (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas), Europe (Lisbon, Portugal) and Australia, and has become one of the pioneers in teaching Capoeira to children and adolescents in schools to aid learning development.
Today, Mestre Boa Gente still teaches and supervises classes daily in the area called “Vale das Pedrinhas“.