Gabi Garcia: “Now I’m the target. I’m preparing myself to handle the pressure”

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Gabi in photo by Luca Atalla

Gabrielle Garcia had a perfect year in 2010, winning – alongside teammate Luanna Alzuguir – her weight and the open weight divisions at the Pan and World Championship. Furthermore, the Alliance black belt stood out at other big events, like the World Pro in Abu Dhabi. On her way to the European Open, Gabi remarks on the work she is doing to continue her evolution and, if possible, to continue being her adversaries’ target.

Check out what she had to tell

When do you start competing in 2011?

I’ll compete at the European Open, that’s pretty much a done deal. Luanna (Alzuguir) and I will be going for another double in the absolute. The goal is to win everything and have a sequel of 2010. It doesn’t even have to be better. If we just repeat last year, that will be really good. We’ll also try for weight and absolute at the Worlds, and I’m really focused on the World Pro. I want to get the title in Abu Dhabi for the second time.

What will it take to keep up the level?

A champion isn’t made over night, there’s a series of factors. These days the level is really high and we always have to look to add something more. After last year, I’ve become a target. I know they’re putting together strategies to beat me. I have a lot of things that need to evolve technically.

What are you looking to improve at?

I’ve trimmed down a lot, I lost 20 kg (44 lbs) to be better at playing guard and to me more agile. I always played the top game, but now I’m looking to play more guard and have a faster game. We have to always look to add new things to keep evolving, and I know that now I’m the target I have to train more every day. I get to the gym in the morning and I don’t stop all day. Things are changing and I’m getting technically and physically prepared to deal with all that pressure.

Gabrielle in photo by Carlos Ozório

At the World Pro – one of your goals – there will also be No-Gi matches. Are you prepared for that? Will you also try to compete at the ADCC this year?

I didn’t qualify for the last ADCC. After that I trained with Marcelinho (Garcia) in New York and we put a lot of emphasis on No-Gi training. Now I’m training a lot in the gi for Europe, but when I get back, I’ll work a lot without the gi for the ADCC trials. I’m missing that title in my career, so I want it a lot. I want to have great matches, as I know there will be a lot of top competitors in my category.

Who are your main opponents?

There are a lot of good girls with good games coming up. The girls’ division has been putting on a show. I really like Lana Stefanac, all our matches are tough. There’s Luzia Fernandes and other girls coming up. I have my eye on all of them, from the lightest to the heaviest.

To participate at the European Open, click here.

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