Ever since Flograppling began their Daisy Fresh BJJ docu series, the Pedigo Submission Fighting Team is now becoming internationally recognized. The Daisy Fresh BJJ crew are now fan favorites that are making their mark in the Jiu Jitsu world.
For those of you that don’t know, here is the story of the Pedigo Submission Fighting Team. (Daisy Fresh BJJ) Going over how the gym was established and the lifestyle of those that live in the gym.
We’ll also go over how the team’s top grapplers have found success in the world of pro grappling.
The story of Daisy Fresh BJJ begins with the gym’s founder Heath Pedigo. Heath and his brother grew up in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and like many wanted to train, but there were no gyms.
In 1995, there were only a handful of cities that had Jiu Jitsu schools and definitely not in their small town. The Pedigo brothers had to be resourceful and began learning Jiu Jitsu on their own.
They got their hands on early VHS tapes of the early UFC events and studied the grappling in the tournaments. Mainly the Jiu Jitsu skills of Royce Gracie.
Heath and his brother would train on their parent’s lawn and recruit their friends to help them. Even resorting to paying off other kids to let them practice moves on them.
Pedigo trains under Rodrigo Vaghi
Heath discovered that the closest BJJ school near him was an hour away in St. Louis, Missouri. In St. Louis, a BJJ black belt named Rodrigo Vaghi started one of the first academies in the city.
Pedigo would begin making nearly weekly visits to go train with Vaghi in St. Louis. Since Heath lived far away and couldn’t be a regular student, Rodrigo worked out a deal with him.
Vaghi would allow Pedigo to train under him part-time and do belt testing through him. This is how Heath was able to get ranked and work his way through the BJJ belts.
He would train at Vaghi’s school part-time, while also doing his own training in Mt. Vernon. Pedigo would eventually earn his black from Rodrigo Vaghi over a decade later.
Daisy Fresh Laundromat
When Pedigo earned his blue belt, he worked out a deal with Vaghi. Rodrigo gave Heath his blessing that he could go back to his hometown and open a BJJ school.
This was how the Pedigo Submission Fighting Team started in the late 1990s. Heath and his brother found a building that used to be a local laundromat called Daisy Fresh.
They wanted to keep the hometown feel, so they never took down the laundromat sign. Since the sign is still up, the gym will routinely get people that come by, who think the gym’s a laundromat.
The gym slowly grows
It took years of sweat and hard work for the Pedigo Submission Fighting Team to start getting attention. For many years, the school struggled to stay open and only had a small number of dedicated students.
But Heath would build around these dedicated students. A lot of them had no money, so he allowed them to sleep in the gym.
All they would do is eat, sleep, and train everyday. This dedication would soon pay off for Daisy Fresh BJJ.
Daisy Fresh BJJ students find success
In the early 2010s, Pedigo Fighting Team students started to find success at big tournaments. They started winning at big tournaments in the white and blue belt divisions.
Nobody knew who these guys were, but they were starting to beat students from more recognized schools. These wins helped the team gain confidence and lit a fire under them to win at the higher levels.
Daisy Fresh: An American Jiu-Jitsu Story
The team’s success got the attention of the team from Flograppling. The website that streams all of the major Jiu Jitsu and wrestling events.
They wanted to know more about the Pedigo Submission Fighting Team and made Heath Pedigo an offer. Flograppling wanted to know more about this team and wanted to make a documentary series about them.
Following around members of the team and hearing their stories and how they got into Jiu Jitsu. The series follows the team around and shows how they train and live in their gym.
It is one of the most popular series that Flograppling has made and given Daisy BJJ a lot of attention. There are currently two seasons of the series with season one available on Youtube.
There are two members of the Daisy Fresh BJJ team that have gotten the most attention out of the crew. Here are short bios on Andrew Wiltse and Jacob Couch.
Andrew Wiltse had a strange upbringing before discovering Jiu Jitsu. His mother lives in California selling holistic medicine, while his father lives in a small Michigan town.
During a summer trip to stay with his mom in California, Andrew began taking Judo classes. He became really passionate about learning Judo and wanted to continue when he returned to Michigan.
Unfortunately, he lived in an area with only a couple thousand people, so it was hard finding a teacher. But Andrew did find a local Judo practitioner named Mike Ogden, who agreed to teach him Judo.
One day, Wiltse was training with Ogden in a boxing gym when Heath Pedigo came in. He was promoting an MMA fight and was looking at fighters, when he saw the two training.
Heath rolled a little bit with them before he left and gave Andrew an invitation to train with him in Illinois. A short time later, Andrew contacted Heath and offered him a scholarship to train with him for a year.
Andrew has trained under Pedigo ever since and is the most decorated athlete at Pedigo Submission Fighting Team. He won the No-Gi World championship at brown belt during the taping of the docu series.
Making Andrew the very first world champion that Pedigo Submission Fighting Team had produced. At the podium Heath would promote Andrew Wiltse to black belt, which made him Pedigo’s first black belt student.
Andrew is active on the pro grappling scene and makes instructionals for the website BJJ Fanatics.
Jacob “The Hillbilly Hammer” Couch
One of the most popular members of Daisy Fresh BJJ is Jacob “the hillbilly hammer” Couch. He is one of the biggest characters on the team that has made a splash on the pro grappling scene.
Jacob grew up in Hazard, Kentucky and had a bit of a hard upbringing. Hazard is a very poor southern town that unfortunately many within the town have no way of bettering themselves.
Couch saw these hardships at a young age and didn’t want to get caught in the trap. He discovered Jiu Jitsu and fate would lead him to start training under Heath Pedigo.
They dubbed Jacob “the hillbilly hammer” and the nickname stuck with him. He has a very upbeat personality and is known for his dynamic leg lock game and sweeps.
Also his love of Mountain Dew Code Red and crush on world champion Gabi Garcia.
Couch has pulled off some huge wins on the big stages within the pro grappling circuit. Upsetting world champion Roberto Jimenez and faced Gordon Ryan at a WNO event.
The hillbilly hammer is currently a brown belt and has a bright future ahead of him.
The Legacy of Daisy Fresh BJJ
Pedigo Submission Fighting Team or Daisy BJJ as they are known are a true American Jiu-Jitsu story. They have no affiliation with any Brazilian instructor and made a name for themselves through hardwork and determination.
The team is very tight knit and has one of the most special bonds of any team in Jiu Jitsu. Through years of hardships, the team has persevered and are now making a name for themselves.
Daisy Fresh BJJ are now on a mission to bring home their first world championship at the black belt level.