HOUSTON, TX, November 2, 2012 – The 2012 IBJJF No-Gi World Championships take place this weekend at the CSU Pyramid in Long Beach, California.
Amidst all the stars of the sport, a solid team of Texas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu representatives are making the trek out to California with the goal of establishing themselves as world champions in the sport. Included among them is Houston’s own Gabriela Muller. Known simply as “Gaby” to her friends in the sport, she has been an integral part of the local scene as wife to perennial competitor Raul Jimenez and as a competitor herself.
We recently caught up to her prior to her flight out to LAX to talk about her start in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, what she loves about the sport, and what her goals are in competing this weekend.
Interview – Gabriela Muller
First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Everyone calls me Gaby, I’m 34 years old, I was born in Ecuador but grew up in Florida. I have two boys, one 12 the youngest 6 and I’ve been married to Raul “Gacho” Jimenez for 13 years.
How did you get into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
I’ve been around it for years, ever since Raul started. When he started training we lived in Ecuador and I wanted to start training but back then it was still a “guy sport.” He didn’t feel comfortable with me grappling with other guys. It wasn’t until about a year after we opened the gym that I started training. In February it will be 3 years on the mats for me.
Was it something you instantly enjoyed or something you grew into?
I loved watching it, but I grew into it. The first time I was grappling a guy’s sweat fell into my mouth and I thought I was going to vomit! You get used to it though.
So tell us a little bit about what it’s like having your whole family involved in the sport.
It’s awesome! Tournaments are our family outings. Roberto, my oldest, has gotten so good in the last year and Matias finally enjoys it too. Roberto still gets competition jitters but Matias is a natural and he loves to win. For the whole family it’s definitely a lifestyle. We talk about Jiu-Jitsu and watch videos together. We try techniques on each other at home. It’s just a big part of our lives.
You guys attend a lot of tournament. Is it serious business all the time? How do you prepare?
It’s just fun to compete. I try not to take it so serious. My kids also enjoy competing and if Raul could he would compete every weekend. We just do our regular training with everyone else. Towards a big tournament we try to cross train and grapple with other people that are not in our school normally. I wish Raul would give me privates, but unfortunately since I go to school and work full time I don’t have time.
What’s your motivation for this sport? What goals do you have for yourself?
My kids, I love it when they are proud of me for competing or winning or just training in general. I would like to win a big tournament, like Pan-Ams or Worlds, and of course keep training hard a get a black belt someday.
Are you ready for this weekend? What do you hope to come away with at the 2012 No-Gi Worlds?
Yes, I am ready and excited! Just being in the pyramid is an amazing feeling. I’ve trained hard and even though I prefer gi over no-gi, I am aiming for the gold.
Any last words before you head off to California?
Just excited to be heading back to Cali… I want to say good luck to all the Texas grapplers making the trip. I hope to bring back a Gold to Spring, TX and I know we’ll bring a lot of medals back to Texas too. Oss!
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