Monday, April 26, 2010

Arena1 interviews Fabio Gurgel: "I would really like to be able to help Tererê"

Thanks to Julia Forrester for the translation!

Four time world champion and leader of the Alliance team, Fabio Gurgel, who is a black belt under Romero Jacaré, is working hard for Alliance to win the much sought after "Grand Slam" of Jiu-Jitsu, with victories at the European, Pan, Brazilian and World Championships. In an interview conducted by ARENA1, the General discusses the successes of the team so far in 2010, the possible return of Fernando Tererê, and much more.

What did Romero Jacaré teach you as you were growing up, becoming a man?

Jacaré has always been an important role model for me. It's hard to isolate one thing in particular from the many that he has taught me throughout my life. He showed me a path in Jiu-Jitsu on which, in one way or another, I learned everything I know in life.

In 1990, you founded the Alliance school, and though you always wanted the best for your team, you passed through some difficult times, becoming acquainted with both sides of the coin. In light of this, do you think those learning experiences were critical to making Alliance what it is today, a reference point for all other Jiu-Jitsu teams in the world?

I don't know if Alliance is a reference point for all the other schools in the world -- If it is, I'm flattered -- but I think we always do serious work with a lot of love for our art. Our team is not only concerned with competition results and the care of our students and athletes, but also deeply committed to the development of the sport. Going through difficult times teaches you a lot, of course - primarily not to continue making the same mistakes - but apart from that we always work toward the truth, which in the end will always win.

How do you see Alliance now, after the split?

I see stronger and more unified team, but that doesn't guarantee anything, so we keep working to improve every day and we still have much evolution ahead of us.

Will we see Tererê reintegrated into Alliance?

Tererê is a very difficult and complicated subject. I hope that we can help him, but this doesn't have much to do with Alliance itself. The whole Jiu-Jitsu community is doing its part to help a hero of our sport. In my case, I have a special soft spot for him after all the years that we lived and fought together, and I would really like to be able to help him, but it's a process that requires time. If all goes well, it will be a huge victory for everyone, and especially for Jiu-Jitsu.

Would you, like Rickson, like to have a final fight in MMA?

No, I think my involvement in MMA had a time and purpose. I don't see myself fighting again.

Alliance today is considered one of the best teams in the world, which must mean a considerable increase in the number of athletes looking to join the team. How do you respond to this demand? Is Alliance a closed group?

Alliance is in no way a closed group. We remain an open school that tries to bring Jiu-Jitsu to everyone in the best way possible. Of course, already developed, professional athletes need to come and speak with us first. The spirit and unity of the team must be preserved, and sometimes when the character of the athlete doesn't fit he or she is not accepted. But this is the exception rather than the rule.

Of the Jiu-Jitsu fighters of your generation, you're the only one who continues to compete at the highest level, including the adult division. Comparing the old days of the championships to today's, what changes do you see in Jiu-Jitsu competition?

The biggest difference is in the pace of competition. Before, we had fewer competitors and the tournaments went more slowly. The rest periods between matches were quite long, but today everything has sped up. This means the level of physical preparation required is much greater, but those who train hard have no problem accompanying this evolution.

What do you expect from the rest of the 2010 season? You all have already conquered the European and the Pan, and to sweep the CBJJF calendar of competitions the Brazilian and World championships still remain. Is the team ready for this unprecedented feat?

Our plan as sketched out last year is to win what we call the "Grand Slam" of Jiu-Jitsu: the European, the Pan, the Brazilian and the World championships. We're already halfway there, but there is still much to be done, and we know it won't be easy. Our headquarters here, as in Atlanta, is firing on all cylinders to complete our objective. We will arrive as strong as is possible, and we will be in the fight - that's for sure. As for the results, that will depend on a number of factors. We'll see.

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