Saturday, 26 May 2012

Martial Arts Illustrated Interview With Gabriel Rainho

Gabriel Rainho (Kimono by Battle Gear)

One of the up and coming coaches and competitors on in Brazilian Jujitsu scene, Brazilian born and rasied Gabriel Rainho (Chief Grappling coach at Combat Company Richmond and Head of GFT UK ) talks to us about his experience so far and where he has his sights set:

 MAI: Good afternoon Gabriel thank you for taking the time out to talk to me today.

 GR: good afternoon. It's my pleasure to talk to you.

 MAI: Can we start by telling us about you, where is Gabriel Rainho from, how did you get into Jujitsu and how you ended up in London ?

 GR: I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and I started practicing Jiu Jitsu when I was 6 years old with Master Laerte Barcelos in Marechal Hermes, in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro, together with my cousins (today accomplished BJJers themselves) Vinicius Marinho, Joao Alfredo and Felipe Tavares. All of us were encouraged by our parents who believed in the benefits of a sports in a child's education. In 2003, as a blue belt I joined the Gama Filho Team, currently GF Team. And it was thanks to BJJ that I had many opportunities, for example I studied at a private school and at a private university, representing Judo and BJJ in Competitions, I built many good friendships, and BJJ played a big part in developing me as a human, my personality, my character, etc. I came to London last year in July to stay for 6 weeks only, mainly to visit my girlfriend. At that time, I wasn't planning to stay longer or work with BJJ over here. I had arranged some BJJ seminars in that period in London, Manchester, Ireland, Switzerland and Paris. But my heart had told me to stay here and now I'm going to marry and I'm very happy to develop my job with BJJ and Judo, and to setup GFTeam in Europe. I’m very proud to represent this team.

 MAI: What would you say the main difference is between the Brazilian Jujitsu scene in Rio and the smaller developing scene in Brazil ?

 GR: I believe it's because long ago, when the sport was in its first steps, the main BJJ Black Belts were from Rio and they have developed in this city in their BJJ schools. Once the sport started to grow, many teacher went out of Rio and started to teach and others cities in Brazil, or even outside the country. In the past, it was easy to see mainly fighters from Rio on the podium in the main BJJ Competitions. Nowadays it's not the same anymore, as we have people from everywhere. I would say the main fighters in Brazil come from Rio, Sao Paulo , Manaus ( North Brazil ) and some cities in the South.

 MAI: I understand you hold a 1st dan black belt in BJJ (under BJJ Legend Julio cesar) and a black belt in Judo, do you feel one helps the other?

 GR: Actually I don't have stripe in my Bjj Black Belt yet. I'm a BJJ Black Belt since December 2009 and I got my Judo Black Belt in 2005. Surely, both helps each other. If you have knowledge on throws it will help in your BJJ game, with your base and in your top game, and also you have more confidence to use throws and get more advantages.

 MAI: Many BJJ Blackbelts have moved into MMA at one point or another in their careers, is this something you are looking to do or are you still looking to develop your jujitsu?

 GR: Personally, I can't see myself in a cage fight. I like to watch, to prepare and help my students with ground game, but I don't feel the urge to be a cage fighter. I love BJJ training and competitions. And also, I have others priorities in my career.

 MAI: Could you tell us about your team GFT?

 GR: It all began at the Universidade Gama Filho, a University in Rio de Janeiro famous for its Physical Education course and its sporting teams. In 1996 the academy was up and running at the Taquara Campus in the Northern area of Rio de Janeiro. Pedro Gama Filho and Paulo Jardim coached at the University for a short time before handing the job over to the capable hands of Master Júlio César, Marcus Bello and Alexandre Baraúna who took the project from there on. Gama Filho and Jardim stayed behind the team giving financial support.
 When the team lost the sponsorship from the University we had to move the Head Quarters from the famous Campus Piedade to Bairro do Méier, though keeping the Gama Filho name. In 2007, however, due to some of their competitors having transitioned to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), UGF had to change their name since the University did not want to be in any way connected with the sport of MMA, thus giving birth to the name Grappling Fight Team (GF Team).
 It’s in this team where I find my second family. We are not only training partners, but also good friends off the mat, always supporting each other in everything. Our master and leader Julio Cesar represents a lot for us, not only as a teacher but he is an amazing person, very kind, helpful, humble and he teaches how you should be as a person, more than just a fighter. As he likes to say: "To reach the top level in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it’s necessary to have absolute dedication. To remain at the top it’s necessary to work even harder, you must be passionate about the art".

 MAI: Your team mate Rodolfo Vieira has been so dominant on Jujitsu of late, what do you feel gives him that edge?

 GR: First of all, Rodolfo is a great person, very humble and kind, and he therefore deserves all the success he had achieved. Those following him in his daily training know exactly how he prepares himself to reach the best performance. He’s never comfortable and satisfied with his performance, he wants to get even better every day. His dedication, determination and will to win are admirable. It's an honour to be his team mate, and especially to be his friend. He came to London last year for the ADCC, and we definitely will plan to him come back and give more opportunity to the BJJ community in London and the UK to learn from him.

 MAI: Where do you see yourself going with you Jujitsu, what is your long term goal?

 GR: Nowadays I'm focusing on teaching and managing GFTeam in Europe. But I can't give up the training and competitions. I will continue pushing myself to helps out my team to grow and spend my time with training and competitions, at the same time motivating my students to compete and getting better every day. I want to make them feel how bjj is enjoyable and important for their lives, as it is for mine.

 MAI: What are your feelings on the Gi vs No Gi debate?

 GR: I believe is important to train both. I would say it is easier to adapt yourself when you do a transition from gi training to no gi training, than the other way round. When you train with Gi, you have to think more, use more techinique options, and, you automatically see your improvement. On the other hand, when you train without gi you get more speed and explosion, which also helps you out in bjj gi. In conclusion, I would recommend to train both, starting with gi and then no gi, even if you want to be a cage fighter.

 MAI: Who do you model yourself on? Do you have any heroes in martial arts or sport?

 GR: My big references are in my own team. I have a privilege to have many different game styles in GFTeam. If you want to improve your top game you will find a good guard player, if you want to improve your bottom game you will find a good guard pass player, and if you want to improve your throws you can find a good judo player. So, you get a complete bjj game. I can mention Rodolfo Vieira, Denilson Pimenta, Theodoro Canal, Vinicius Marinho, Igor Silva, Ricardo Evangelista, Italo Lins, Marcus Morcego, Joao Alfredo, Felipe Tavares, Vitor Henrique and many others.

 MAI: What does a day in the life of Gabriel Rainho look like?

 GR: I give my bjj and judo classes in Richmond at Combat Company, as well as in Leyton at Legions Fitness Centre. I also give private classes and I try to make time to train. Sometimes I give seminars out of London, so I travel across Europe relatively frequently. Also, I work for GFTeam updating the team’s websites, blogs, doing networking etc.

 MAI: Would you like to thank anyone in particular ?

 GR: I want to thank everyone who has supported me on my way. My family in Brazil, who even though they’re far away, always give me motivation. All of GF Team who are responsible for always helping and supporting me. Wherever I go to represent Bjj I never forget my background, my Master Julio and my team mates, and I'm always grateful for everything they have given to me. My new "family" here in London who have received me very well, in Combat Company, Wezley Lucas and Helena Martin, Amir and Moss from Legions Fitness Centre, all my all students and Benny Sootho who has helped me to start teaching here and still helps me a lot. Mainly, I’d like to thank my fiancee who represent everything for me and who’s the main motivation for me to live here and work with Bjj. Finally, thank you for the opportunity to share a bit about myself. See you.