Team Gacho: Alliance Powerhouse Competitors of Texas
“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” - Jack London
The last two years for Team Gacho has been outstanding. Gold at Master's Worlds, Gold at Pans, Gold at Worlds, Gold at Kid's Pans, the list goes on and on. This family of competitors is an absolute POWERHOUSE. It takes hard work to achieve this level of succes as an individual. It is amazing that this family is able to achieve such success as a team. They are truly an inspiration to us all. Husband and wife, black belt Raul Jimenez and brown Gabriela Muller talk with BJJ Legends about the biggest loves in their lives their family and BJJ. Team Alliance Gacho is located in Spring Texas, about an hours drive outside of Houston.
BJJL: Why MMA? Is it big in your Country?
Raul: MMA is big in Ecuador but Jiu-Jitsu is bigger, more people do Jiu-Jitsu. I wanted to do MMA for the adrenaline and to challenge myself and see what I can do. Also, I got to travel with MMA, I fight in Brazil, Korea, Ecuador and Mexico.
BJJL: Husband/Wife how did you meet?
Raul: We met in school in Ecuador.
Gaby: In school in Ecuador. I moved there when I was 12. We went to the same private school and hung out with the same people.
BJJL: You’re a family that does this as a cohesive unit, are your children interested in anything other than BJJ?
Raul: My son Roberto does wrestling in school, he also likes to ride his skateboard and Matias wants to do wrestle.
Gaby: Roberto wrestles, cruises on his skateboard, unicycles and his dream to to learn how to surf. Matias wants to wrestle as well and his seems interested in soccer and gymnastics.
BJJL: As a support system for each other how has this helped you all these years as you achieved your goals?
Raul: My wife and son help with the academy when I travel to compete or seminars.
Gaby: Before Roberto got so big he was my best training partner. We were about the same weight and he pushed me, now he smashes or plays with me (ughhhh)
BJJL: Talk to me about your BJJ lineage?
Raul: I am a black belt under Mestre Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti and he is a black belt under Master Rolls Gracie.
Gaby: I am under Alliance, Mestre Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti gave me my purple belt and my husband is my main instructor.
BJJL: What equals a well-rounded fighter? How does one train to become the equivalent of a Kenan Cornelius?
Raul: Train hard, there is no other way.
Gaby: There is no easy way to be a well-rounded fighter. I see my son’s evolution and how much he has worked to get to the level he is at. You need to be dedicated, train hard and love it.
BJJL: Is there anything you would like to tell a person that is starting out in MMA/BJJ/Boxing…etc? Some pearls of wisdom you wish you had known that would have prevented injury, aggravation, etc?
Raul: Don’t hurt your partners. Leave your ego when you go train. If you hurt your teammates you won’t have anyone to train with. Also, don’t say “let’s roll light,” then try to rip off their foot.
Gaby: I would tell them not to spaz out and work on technique and not on ripping your teammates head off.
BJJL: The right gym, the right black belt, what advice do you have for people searching for the right environment to train in?
Raul: It is both. You need to find an academy that is serious about the sport. Find out the credentials of the instructor. If you're interested in competing, find a school with an instructor that competes and will push you to train hard.
Gaby: You need to train where you feel comfortable. Research the instructor, see what their Bjj lineage is.
BJJL: If there is one thing (across the board) that you would like to be standardized when it comes to BJJ rules, what would it be?
Raul: I don’t like advantages, you should get point on what you actually did, not almost do.
Gaby: Let purple belts do toeholds and knee bars.
BJJL: There are so many BJJ competitions out there, a person could compete on weekly basis, how does one distinguish a good tournament from a bad one?
Raul: Find tournaments that are organized and don’t mix weights and belt ranks just to fill a bracket.
Gaby: I like to refer our students to the well-organized tournaments.
BJJL: What is a solid piece of advice you think all competitors would benefit from when picking a tournament to compete in?
Raul: There are so many options, just look at the rules and see what tournament fits you.
Gaby: Compete when you are ready and feel comfortable.
BJJL: Do you have any women only classes?
Raul: Not at the moment, Gaby wants to do one in the summer.
Gaby: No, we don’t have enough girls for that.
BJJL: Do you have any thoughts about women only classes? Any thoughts on, “The Blue Belt Curse” in relation to women that train?
Raul: I support all women's class but it’s hard to find women that train and love it. The blue belt curse is for men and women, they think they black belts when they get the blue belt. Blue belt is you finishing kindergarten, I don’t understand why people quit.
Gaby: I think there are great, even all women’s open mats are extremely beneficial to women that train. Personally, I am not one to start something and not finish. I recently just graduated college at 37 years old. When I started jiu-jitsu I never had a doubt in my mind that I would continue until I got my black belt. I don’t understand women that start training for 1 or 2 years and quit. I think in the first weeks on training you know if it's right for you. If you accomplish getting your blue belt why quit?
BJJL: Your Team finished strong in 2014 and has started 2015 with a bang, what do you attribute your success thus far to?
Raul: Alliance is a successful team because everyone helps each other, all the top level guys share their knowledge to everyone on the team and the team is always evolving. We don’t just stay on the basics. My school is still small and I would like to continue to see it grow, I want to form champions, not just my kids, I want to see my students up on the podiums at high level tournaments.
Gaby: Alliance it the only team to win 10 world titles. There are many high quality, top notch athletes.
BJJL: Your oldest son (Roberto, 15) has been competing since he was very young, he is a force in the BJJ world. He is a dynamic competitor to watch, why do you think he is so driven in this sport?
Raul: He loves the sport. If it was up to him, he would only train, eat and sleep. He is driven because he wants to be a world champion at every belt.
Gaby: It took him a while to warm up to the sport but now he only thinks about training. I think his passion is seen on the mats when he is competing.
BJJL: Do you have any regrets thus far? Training miss steps/setbacks, not following advice, etc.
Raul: Rest when my body needs it, if you have an injury listen to your body and rest. Also, I thought that bodybuilding and lifting heavy would help me when being big guy doesn’t help and it's important to eat right all the time.
Gaby: I wish I started training when I was younger. If I would have started when Raul started training I would be a black belt. Not cutting too much weight.
BJJL: What has been your proudest moment since you began the practice of BJJ?
Raul: Winning Pan-Ams as a black belt, brown belt and purple belt and getting my black belt.
Gaby: Winning my first IBJJF gold last year at Dallas Open
BJJL: What are your plans for the future? What goals do you still have left?
Raul:Keep training as long as my body allows me to. I would like to be ranked number one in my division. Make my boys, my daughter that will be born in December, and my students World Champions.
Gaby: I want to get my black belt and continue to compete. I compete masters so I would like to win Masters Worlds or Pan Ams.
BJJL: Is there anyone you would like to thank that you have never had the opportunity to thank for helping you get to where you are today?
Raul: My wife, I don’t thank her enough for everything she does and all her support.
Gaby: My husband and sons, they motivate me every day.
BJJL: If you could go back and change anything about your journey, would you?
Raul: I am happy with everything I have accomplished. I wish I started younger and focused more on my training when I was younger. I am glad I pushed my kids to train and not quit because they will be champions.
Gaby: Just wish I started younger and valued the importance of drilling earlier in my journey. I feel my game got better the more I drilled.
Team Gacho started off 2015 with an unbelievable winning streak and has been on a roll ever since. 2016 is right around the corner and I see no signs of them slowing down. This family trains together, competes together, and wins together. That is something we all can respect and admire. Team Gacho is reaping the benefits of all their years of hard work and deserve each and every blessing that has come their way.
“I ask not for any crown But that which all may win Nor try to conquer any world Except the one within.”