Owner & Creator of GTA
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt
Professional MMA Fighter
When you meet Rob Gooch, Owner and Head Instructor of Gooch Training Academy it is impossible to fathom that the young man in front of you has had a difficult, often dark path through life, one filled with obstacles, setbacks and many hardships; it is impossible to know this because Rob radiates joy, love, determination and light.
Rob Gooch was born and raised right here in West Hills, California. Despite coming from a very loving home, Rob gravitated towards trouble. In an effort to help discipline him, Rob’s father pushed him into Martial Arts. Rob’s first introduction to Martial Arts was at age 7. He started Karate with Billy Blanks before moving on to traditional Boxing and Kickboxing. This introduction to martial arts planted a seed, which was not to bloom until many years later.
In the interim Rob continued to surround himself with a crowd that brought out the negative in him. Defining his teen years as being a difficult, problem kid, Rob was ousted from traditional learning and landed himself trouble again and again. In 2008, after another run-in, Rob’s thinking shifted and he committed to taking the actions to change his life. Rob knew he had something to offer the world, something positive, but wasn’t sure where to start. Sitting in a coffee shop in Encino Rob revealed this thought to a trusted friend, as they spoke he looked across the road and spotted a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Studio. Rob decided to start there.
Rob’s entire life changed.
Alberto Crane and Brian Avelar introduced Rob to the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai but they also introduced him to tradition, respect, hard work and community. Rob devoted himself entirely to training over the next few years, even working in the studio as the janitor so that he could train full time. He was introduced to Jiu Jitsu fundamentals by Ed Keller (RIP) and has had the privilege of training with legends such as Alberto Crane, Romulo Barral, Jean JaqueZ Machado, Amal Easton and many more.
“I was humbled by the never ending growth in Jiu Jitsu. This martial art defines itself as a science--that is, as a practical, methodical, and systematic discipline or set of techniques that have the lofty goal of helping human beings to become aware of their deepest strength.”
Rob’s combined love for Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai propelled him Mixed Martial Arts. Early in his Jiu Jitsu career, with just a white belt he participated in his first amateur MMA fight. Over the next two years he continued to train and fight. After thirteen fights in just 20 months he made the decision to become a professional MMA fighter. To pursue this career Rob moved to Colorado for a year to train with the legendary Trevor Whitman, Duane Ludwick and Amal Easton and continued to incorporate various martial arts, including wrestling into his arsenal.
In late 2011, while in Colorado, Rob was offered the position to run Gracie Barra Woodland Hills for his professor Alberto Crane, a position he could not turn down. Within a year of managing and teaching he decided to purchase the school. It continued to grow in its success and size, Rob continued to teach in his own unique style, and people loved it! The school began to form its own identity and community. Incorporating all the best of what he has learned, finding the best instructors in Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling and Muay Thai he could find, Rob decided it was time for more change, it was time to start his own legacy. Gooch Training Academy was established in early 2014.
“I knew that I had a lot of positive in me that could enhance the world. I started surrounding myself with people who made me feel good and in turn I started doing good. That is a pattern I want to repeat for my entire life. Everyday I wake up thinking: “How I can impact or change someone's life for the better?” Big or little, change is change. Gooch Training Academy is the place where I get to put this into practice. It is a positive place filled with amazing people. We all have a story, different backgrounds and life stresses, but, when we come together to train, we become family. A family of warriors. Watching this, being part of this is amazing. It's what fuels me on a daily basis. “